Travel for 20-somethings is more accessible and exciting than ever before. Thanks to cheap flights and the proliferation of sites like Couchsurfing and Airbnb, it's never been easier to explore the world. But where are the best places to travel in your 20s? We asked our readers, and here are the results.
Steeped in tradition and laden with mystery, Japan draws young travellers from around the globe. Whether you choose to embrace the future in hyper-modern Tokyo or head to an ancient city such as Kyoto to take in a traditional kabuki performance, the country will have you hooked.
Mayan ruins, cactus-strewn deserts and swaying palms on sandy beaches are a few of the landscapes that attract visitors to Mexico. The country is big on adventure, too, with opportunities to hit the ocean in a kayak to spot whales, learn to surf on the Pacific coast or simply get lost in the hectic yet enthralling capital, Mexico City.
Croatia is fast becoming one of Europe’s top summer destinations, the perfect place for foodies and party-goers alike. Along the coast you'll find the country's biggest attractions: picturesque towns, great nightlife and a sprinkling of exciting islands. Inland, you can explore the cool capital, Zagreb, or hike to the picture-perfect Plitvice Lakes.
7. Ibiza, Spain
Ibiza might be of the world’s top clubbing locations, but there’s more to this island than parties, bars and boutiques. As one of the four Balearic Islands, Ibiza also has plenty of dreamy scenery, from the hidden coves dotted along its coastline to the extensive forests further inland. Hire a car or bike to explore or, of course, you could just party all night long…
6. The USA
Few countries can match the sheer diversity of the USA, so there's little surprise that the 50 states welcome millions of travellers in their 20s each year. Some flock to the big cities, others seek adventure in the national parks, and some search out quietude in the country's epic wildernesses. Not sure where to start? Lose yourself in New York City, go horseback riding in Wyoming, take a road trip through scenic New Hampshire, or hike the Grand Canyon.
The top European destination on this list, Poland has year-round attractions. Cosy up with a hot chocolate (or vodka shot, if you prefer) in Warsaw’s main square in winter, stroll through the winding graffiti-covered alleyways of Kraków in spring, or head for the tranquil Mazurian Lakes for a summer escape.
4. Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia’s well-trodden backpacker trail, affordable transport and delectable cuisines make it one of the world's most popular budget travel destinations. The region holds a host of natural and manmade wonders, such as the world’s largest Buddhist temple in Indonesia and an underwater river in the Philippines, but it’s the locals that make a trip here. Southeast Asian nations are often voted among the friendliest in the world.
India's landscapes, climates and cultures are so varied that sometimes it can feel like you're travelling across a continent rather than a country. Spend a month or so here and you can scale the frozen summits of the Himalaya, explore the former colonial trading port of Alleppey, and let your jaw drop at the sight of Rajasthan's fairy-tale palaces.
2. South America
South America is home to an almost overwhelming mix of flamboyant festivals, intricate ruins and tongue-tingling cuisines – but it’s an easy continent to explore. An abundance of cheap but quality accommodation lets you recharge your post-night-bus batteries, and regional flights make covering vast distances a breeze. Start by visiting the colonial cities of Colombia, exploring the jungle in Brazil or hiking your way to ancient ruins in Peru.
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The double-whammy of an energetic backpacking scene coupled with some of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth led our readers to pick Australia as the top place to travel in your 20s. Whether you want to explore the desolate Outback, drive along the Great Ocean Road, dive head first into coastal adventures, or simply make some new friends, a trip here will be unforgettable.
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