It’s hard to sell all your possessions, pack your backpack, and travel the world when you’re a married professional with a family. When you’re young, however, risks are second nature and packing up and traveling for a year is a much easier decision to make.
These eight amazing destinations range from natural wonderlands to high-octane party spots. Save your money, pack your backpack with the bare essentials, and set off on the journey of a lifetime while you’re still young and free of responsibilities.
1. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The ultimate Zen destination, Salar de Uyuni is a massive salt flat located close to the wild and stunning Bolivian Andes. The salt flat developed when a gigantic saltwater lake dried up, leaving behind all the salt with none of the leftover water.
Whenever Bolivia’s tropical climate calls in a rainstorm, the salt flat transforms into an incredible reflective mirror. Every color from the sky and scenery is reflected in the salt lake’s surface, right back at you.
The area is so salty and isolated that there’s nothing around to build hotels, except for the salt. After you appreciate the amazing scenery, you can spend the night in a hotel made entirely from bricks of natural salt.
There are no parties or huge crowds, but who needs excitement when you have a natural wonder at your doorstep?
2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is a destination that’s best visited sooner rather than later. It’s not because it’s a destination that’s just for young people – far from it – but because as the Olympics and World Cup draw nearer, the Rio of old is quickly disappearing.
Incredible beaches, world famous street parties, and some of the best food in Brazil all make Rio de Janeiro an amazing destination for young travelers seeking a truly Brazilian experience. Better yet, it’s just a few hours away from North America.
Pack your favorite swimsuit, book into a hostel in Ipanema, and prepare to enjoy a caipirinha on one of Rio’s famous beaches. You can visit Rio any time, but it’s more fun to take in this amazing city while you’re young and adventurous.
3. Tokyo, Japan
Halfway across the world from Rio de Janeiro is an amazing city that couldn’t be any more different if it tried. Tokyoites might be reserved and shy compared to the open and outgoing Cariocas of Rio, but their city is every bit as exciting to visit.
From the mind-blowingly efficient transportation system to the weird, surprisingly comfortable capsule hotels, Tokyo is a city that combines modern living with total sensory overload. No wonder it was the inspiration for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.
Whether you love visiting cultural hotspots and historical monuments or incredible nightclubs and world-class shopping districts, Tokyo will make you wonder why it took you so long to get here.
With the Japan Rail Pass in your backpack, you’ll have no problem traveling to other cities and amazing attractions in Japan.
4. Boryeong, South Korea
Every summer, the small South Korean city of Boryeong is invaded by millions of young tourists taking part in a bizarre ritual: the annual Boryeong Mud Festival.
Originally a marketing gimmick for a Korean cosmetics company, today the festival attracts millions of visitors looking to take part in what must be the world’s biggest mud fight.
Worried about hygiene? Don’t be. The mud at Boryeong is said to be rich in natural minerals and germaniums. While you wrestle in the mud you’re moisturizing your skin and enhancing your health.
If the massive mud wrestling battle is too much for you, take refuge in the mud pool, mud skiing course, or the festival’s famous mud spa.
5. Bali, Indonesia
Unbelievable scenery, world class waves, and some of the best food on the planet all make Bali the perfect place to relax and recover. Whether you’re coming down off a global party trip or just seeking the perfect tropical island to relax on, Bali delivers.
This amazing Indonesian island has something for everyone, from $5,000-per-night private beach villas to $5-per-night hostel beds. When it comes to a combination of natural beauty, affordability, and variety, Bali is very tough to beat.
6. Koh Phangan, Thailand
The setting of Alex Garland’s famous travel novel The Beach, Koh Phangan is one of Asia’s most legendary party destinations. Every month, tens of thousands of young travelers descend on the island’s Had Rin beach for the famous Full Moon Party.
Originally held at a local disco established in 1985, the Full Moon Party has grown into one of the world’s most infamous events. The festivities start as the sun goes down and carry on until the sun rises the next morning.
From fire shows to massive psychedelic trance stages, the Full Moon Party’s lineup of music and activities is pretty mindblowing indeed.
7. Barcelona, Spain
Walk down one of Barcelona’s beautiful historical streets and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Then step out again at night and you’ll enter one of Europe’s most exciting party cities.
From Pablo Picasso to the famous Sagrada Familia church, Barcelona is packed with history and culture. It’s also home to some of Europe’s best beaches for meeting fun new people and making friends.
Warm, welcoming, and full of life, Barcelona is one of the first European cities you should visit once you start traveling.
8. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Paris is beautiful, London is full of incredible history, but Amsterdam offers the best combination of fun, history, and culture in Northern Europe. From its infamous Red Light District to its coffeeshops, Amsterdam has a huge amount of amazing sights.
Add to that an incredible canal system that makes the entire city look like a work of art, some of Europe’s best museums, and fantastic nightlife and you have one of the best cities in Europe to work, relax, and play in before you begin your career.
Question of the day:
Where is the best place you’ve traveled?
Tell us your favorite destination and why you enjoyed it so much in the comments below!