30 places to visit before 30

Published July 9th, 2015

You are young. You are free. So there’s no better time to travel, right? For your inspiration, Student Flights’ best travellers (aka a bunch of staff @HQ) got together to create their ultimate 30 places to visit before you reach the big 3-0. Here they are in no particular order, we’d love a postcard btw …

1. Tokyo

Laser robot cabaret. Karaoke Lost in Translation-style. Pachinko parlours. Sushi, sashimi and sake. Owl/bunny/tinned food/maid/dungeon/#whatwilltheythinkofnext bars and cafes. Freaky fashion. Never predictable Tokyo never disappoints.

2. Paris

“Paris is always a good idea” said Audrey Hepburn and who are we to disagree? Paris is the ultimate romance city with culture, cafés and croissants at every corner.

3. London

In between the obvious carousing and sightseeing, save time for the quirky like kayaking the Thames, naked poetry readings, graffiti art classes and early morning health raves (#vegansmoothiedubstep).

4. Rome

Good-looking people on Vespas, Italian food and loads of classics by way of art, architecture (hello Colosseum!) and the, um, Pope. The Eternal City and "La Dolce Vita" await!

5. Barcelona

Walk on the arty side and tuck into pintxos and vermouth before heading to beautiful artificial beaches or bustling Las Ramblas. Save some steam to survive the nightlife. Create your own Almodovar film!

6. NYC

Inner-city pressure, inner-city life... An urban jungle like no other and famous for so many reasons including what this city can offer 24/7. Five Boroughs of wonderfully diverse characters await.

7. LA

Forgotten in favour of East Coast destinations bar budding actors, this city (of Angels) has diverse offerings be it food, galleries, beaches or nightlife. Downtown LA is preserved so well it’s filmed for shots of downtown NYC!

8. San Francisco

California... Food, hipsters, dot-coms, wine, bridges, coffee, queer capital... believe the hype. Enjoy great seafood, explore the biggest Chinatown in the West, party on The Castro... Sunshine, lollipops, rainbows...

9. Hong Kong

A major financial centre full of history and flavour. Eat yourself silly on dim sum, chilli crab and custard tarts, popover to Macau, shop like crazy, relive the romance of a major port city a la Wong Kar Wai.

10. Ho Chi Minh

Formerly Saigon and renamed named after Vietnam’s historic former leader, venture into a sweet culture and population full of bustling haunts, motorcycles, former colonial upheaval and Pho. Mmm, Pho.

11. Austin

Indie music and cool have a capital here, quite unlike the rest of Texas. The major festival of the year is South By Southwest, showcasing awesome musos old and new.

12. Vancouver

A chilled country with plenty of rain, launch into amazing natural beauty, cool sights, Mounties and all the rest from this "most-liveable city".

13. Montreal

Welcome to French Canada in all its glory. Montreal is a beautiful take on a city that, while extremely cold in winter, is cultured, musical and stunning.

14. Gili Islands

Only a short hop from the bustle of Bali, if you want extreme relaxation, islands, beaches, marine life and beautiful people, these islands provide a welcome break from the somewhat overrun destination nearby.

15. Las Vegas

You can go all night... A city of excess (and fun) if ever there was one.

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16. Egypt

Explore the iconic, travel the Nile, get the sand in your shoes... an epic destination that resonates just like Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra!

17. Lagos

Epic beaches by day, wild parties by night. Portugal's Lagos is is the perfect place for fun in the sun, with plenty of time to relax by the beach.

18. Greek Islands

Adonis, beaches, parties, seafood and sailing... ‘nuff said.

19. Croatia

Sometimes forgotten in favour of other Mediterranean destinations, Croatia offers stunning beaches, lovely people, old cities and super food with less hustle and more chill than its neighbours.

20. Berlin

Post-reunification, Berlin emerged as an easily accessible centre of cool. The history can involve you for days as can the arts, affordability, parties and sausages (of the wurst kind). Beware donuts and bears...

21. Reykjavik

The country of Bjork, Sigur Ros and "emotional landscapes," this city provides an entry into a natural beauty of Arctic proportions. Auroras, snow, hot springs... plus a major music festival!

22. Morocco

Tagines, couscous, tea and spices... Beautiful beaches, a famed historical thoroughfare and a rich culture make this an extremely popular destination. Get on that plane and don't look back...

23. Mexico City

One of the largest cities in the world and a handy stopover to the Americas. You can get high here; literally the altitude can make you feel unwell as it did for many Olympians in 1968!

24. Amsterdam

Reputations for "other activities" aside, this city is a beautifully preserved canal destination and bicycle riders heaven. Well-served by transport and close to other big Euro centres, day-trips 20 minutes out of town (and all-night disco parties) also await.

25. Prague

Never, tear us apart... this beautifully preserved historical capital of Bohemia is a beauty. A Communist past, castles and The Velvet Revolution can fill your days like the pulsating nightlife and hearty cuisine will in the evenings.

26. New Orleans

Southern fried food anyone? Famed for parties, former French heritage, alligators, paddle steamers and the mouth of North America's largest river, The Mississippi. Let’s not forget jazz and blues …

27. Portland

Lush parks and giant arboretums are just the start. Hipsters and community-minded folk tend to love this city, often renowned as one of the "greenest" cities in the world. And a karaoke mecca!

28. Manila

The Philippines’ capital features a bustling metropolis with sweet people, yum food and an excellent gateway to the many natural beauties of this part of South-East Asia.

29. Honolulu

Flight 22 is off to Honolulu … Recreate your own Elvis moment, explore great beaches and catch a wave or two, enter the volcano and enjoy the sun.

30. Queenstown

Queenstown rocks! And not just in terms of natural beauty. A favourite for many international travellers, this city is a stunner from the circle-flight in and all the way down the slopes.

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Jolee Wakefield

A seasoned backpacker and travel writer, Jolee has spent the past decade wandering the globe in pursuit of good vibes, unusual conversations and unforgettable adventures like cave diving in Mexico, mountain climbing in Borneo and learning (failing at) local dances in the Pacific nation of Kiribati.