As we venture along life’s journey, our travel needs change. What’s going to satisfy us when we’re a bright-eyed and perhaps naïve twenty-something isn’t likely to be the same as a trip we plan in our eighties when health and mobility requirements weigh more heavily on our minds. With that in mind, here are our picks for the best trip to take in every decade of your life.
Before mortgage, career promotions and kids potentially make extended trips tricky, our twenties are a time for gap years and lengthy periods spent living out of a backpack. This is the time to go on a journey of self-discovery. The combination of South East Asia and Australia is justifiably popular, featuring spectacular landscapes and welcoming locals. From Bangkok’s famous Khao San Road to the hostels of Queenstown, pare back life to the bare essentials and travel from Thailand to New Zealand on a trip that will shape and perhaps even define you.
The big 3-0 is when many of us suddenly feel grown up for the first time. There’s something about this milestone birthday that translates into the need to prove to yourself that you’re still young. Thus, travels in this decade should feature a physical challenge. Maybe you’ll test how your body copes at high altitude with a trek to Everest base camp or a hike along the Inca trail. A long-distance cycle ride or seeing the world’s greatest scenery on horseback might also hit the spot.
Life begins at forty is the well-known adage, but if you’ve waited until then to enjoy yourself, something’s gone badly wrong. Your forties can often signal a change in life stage as the kids grow up and leave home. Gather up a group of friends and plan the biggest party to celebrate – or mourn! – this new chapter. The best place to hold it? Vegas, baby! It’s more than just casinos, with luxury resorts, quirky museums and breathtaking desert landscapes that almost seem to begin at the end of the Strip. If the bright lights don't appeal to you as much, gather up the game and hit the wineries of Napa Valley, for a trip equally decadent.
By our fifties, for most of us, our traveling life is more than halfway over. Many of us are supporting our parents as they age and coming to a realization that life is precious. Without being maudlin, it’s now that thoughts turn to bucket list adventures – “while we still can”. That trip in a hot air balloon, Broadway show in New York City or Big Five African safari becomes a reality. Which would you book first?
With retirement comes the most sought after commodity of all—time. The pressure eases and the feeling we once had of “too much world, too little time” evaporates. It’s time to tick off a few of Europe’s most enchanting cities at a leisurely pace. Eat Sachertorte in Vienna, stroll the banks of the Danube in Budapest, explore Venice’s tranquil back canals and admire Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona. Diverse Europe offers a wealth of possibilities.
Touring can be tiring, so make the journey as relaxing as it can be with a luxury cruise. Criss-cross the Caribbean, transit the Panama Canal, hug the picturesque fjords of Norway, pootle from tropical paradise to tropical paradise across the South Pacific or tick off the historic sites of the Med. See the sights without the exhausting work of travel. You've earned some rest. Beware, though: such adventures are addictive.
As we reach the twilight years of our 80s and beyond, it’s less attractive to face the reality of travel. If the thought of long, tiring journeys becomes too much to face, now’s the time to explore your own backyard. Revisit places you spent happy years as a child or seek out those places you always thought you’d see but never got round to visiting. Take the bus into town to stroll around that museum, castle or garden you always promised yourself you’d get to, or book a coach trip to explore a bit further afield.