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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.

That old saying, “Youth is wasted on the young”? Don’t take offense. Instead, live loud, take chances and seize the day. One way to make the most of your 20s is to plan out some really fantastic, memorable trips, and we’ve got just the list to get your plans going. Whether that means a debaucherous spring break at the beach with friends in college or finally hitting a bucket list festival in your mid-20s, or even taking a romantic journey along Italy’s rugged coast in your late-20s, there’s a trip for you at every stage of your third decade.

Sound like a lot to plan? And pay for? Don’t worry: We’re also giving away up to a decade’s worth of free trips, only from CheapTickets! To get you travel dreaming again, we’re giving one lucky 20-something a free trip each year until they turn 30. Just go to www.cheaptickets.com/20sTravel for Official Rules and instructions on how to enter.

EARLY 20s

Mexico

Our neighbor to the South offers plenty of places for later in life trips like wine tasting in Valle de Guadalupe or aligning your chakras in Tulum. But when midterms are in the can and it’s beach and booze you’re craving, ditch winter and get your sweet self to Cancun or Cabo for a spring break with 10 of your besties (or however many you can squeeze into adjoining hotel rooms). Whether you’re bound for Cabo’s Playa El Médano or Cancun’s hotel zone, there’s clubs, cheap eats and beaches aplenty, and it’s always margarita ‘o clock. Plus, with plenty of great flight + hotel package deals, there’s a Mexico vacation to fit even most student budgets.

Find Mexico package deals here.

London

If it’s your first trip to Europe, London is about the best gateway you could ask for. There’s no language to learn, you can ride the Tube cheaply, and it’s packed with iconic sights like Big Ben, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye. It’s also a dream come true for culture vultures: Pack your days by museum hopping world-class institutions like the British Museum, National Gallery and Tate Modern for starters, and by night, catch a play or concert, or discover the next big trend at a club. You’ll never run out of things to do in London, but if you need a short break from the bustle, you’ll find easy day trips to Oxford, Bath, Avon, Brighton and Stonehenge.

Find your perfect London hotel here.

Spain

It probably seems like everybody you know visited Barcelona in the past couple of years, right? And with good reason. Spain is still one of the better bargains in Europe, the food is amazing (hello, tapas!) and the wine is incredible (you don’t even have to be 21 to imbibe). On top of that, Barcelona—wedged between mountains and the sea—is home to some of the coolest, quirkiest art and architecture in the world, from the Picasso and Miro museums to impressive structures like Familia Sagrada and Parque Güell. All that adds up to making it a great pick for anyone in their early 20s to start discovering Europe.

For fantastic prices on Barcelona hotels, look here.

South Florida

Craving a tropical beach escape where you and your friends can have a little fun in the sun, no passport required? There’s no better place than South Florida. In Miami, your beach escape comes with clubby, heart-thumping nightlife and hip, city-centered fun like the arty Wynwood mural complex, plus Cuban culinary delights in Little Havana. About a half hour north, you’ll find slightly more laid-back Fort Lauderdale, which boasts its own cultural charms like the hip FAT Village arts district and water taxi tours past the mansions of the rich and famous. If you’re looking for a warm-weather bargain, head 3 1/2 hours north to Daytona Beach, a spring break classic, where you’ll find lively beachfront bars, a bustling boardwalk and affordable accommodations to fit almost any budget.

Find a great place to stay in Florida right here.

MID-20s

New York City

If you’re not the cool friend who moved to NYC right after college, chances are you know one who did. That person is probably living in Bushwick with three roommates, but they have a couch you can crash on, right? Brooklyn highlights include Smorgasburg, Roberta’s Pizza, Prospect Park and hipster hangout Freehold. Head into Manhattan for bar nights in the East Village and Lower East Side, and do indulge in a few tourist attractions like the High Line, Vessel, Central Park, Katz’s Deli and window shopping in the leafy West Village. Broadway bound? Snag show tickets for less at CheapTickets.com.

Your perfect NYC hotel awaits—find it here.

Coachella

For many music fans, this is the hugest event of the year. Since 1999, the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, has brought together all the best indie, hip hop and electronic bands of the moment, not to mention future favorites you haven’t even discovered yet. While lots of younger attendees opt to camp on-site, now that you’re in your mid-20s, why not aim for a more comfortable and luxurious stay in one of nearby Palm Springs’ many fantastic hotels? For a relaxing stay with a mid-century vibe, for example, try the adults-only Del Marcos Hotel (21 and over), or for a bustling pool-side social scene, opt for the Ace Hotel. If you’re looking for great Coachella after-parties, try the colorful and quirky Saguaro Palm Springs, which also includes hammocks, yoga on the lawn and music around its large pool. But book early—all the best places fill up fast!

Find other incredible Coachella-area hotels here.

Las Vegas

Wet Republic, Encore Beach Club, Temptation Sundays, Drai’s and countless others. The Vegas pool party scene is the stuff of legend and something your crew needs to do at least once in life, but a Vegas vacation rarely comes cheap. (You won’t make up your flight and hotel costs on the casino floor, trust us.) Other Vegas highlights include happy hour on the High Roller, the Neon Museum at night, selfies in front of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, thrifting and gallery hopping in the Arts District, barhopping downtown, and so much more. A Vegas vacation is amazing once you’re old enough to afford it, and it’s one to remember—if you can.

Book a great Las Vegas hotel here. 

Italy’s Amalfi Coast

We’ve all seen the gorgeous photos of pastel-hued homes carved into the cliff side overlooking azure waters dotted with small fishing boats. Rest assured, it’s not just an Instagrammer’s dream. Italy’s Amalfi Coast delivers on that oh-so-romantic postcard-perfect vision of rugged cliffs interrupted by small, secluded beaches, not to mention charming historic villas, terraced vineyards and fragrant lemon groves at every turn. The area has all the makings of a romantic escape, an especially great pick for mid-20s couples who are secure enough in their relationship to plan a big trip together. If you only have a week or so to explore, make sure you don’t miss highlights like the towns of Amalfi, Ravello, Positano and Praiano.

Find a gorgeous Amalfi Coast hotel right here. 

LATE-20s

Bali

Popular with Aussies and Europeans for several decades now, we North Americans discovered this Indonesian island paradise a bit late. But oh boy, is Bali worth the daunting 18 hour flight from the West Coast. Bali rolls ancient temples, beachfront raves and Hindu hospitality into one unforgettable getaway. Don’t miss the sunset beach scene in clubby Seminyak, aligning your chakras in Ubud, or hanging with primates at the Sacred Forest Monkey Sanctuary. Plus, now that you’re experiencing the daily grind of working life, you sure could use some rejuvenating yoga, meditation, waterfalls and temples—which you’ll find at every turn.

Oh golly, we’ve got Bali vacation deals right here!

Hawaii

Paradise doesn’t come cheap and our 50th state isn’t exactly a party mecca. That’s why the perfect time to say aloha to Hawaii is when you’re ready to bid adieu to your 20s. Whether trekking the islands solo or having a bae-cation with your sig other, Hawaii highlights include posh resorts and volcano sunrises on Maui, black sand beaches and manta ray night swims on the Big Island, Napali Coast hikes and double waterfalls in Kauai, and killer waves and a killer food scene on Oahu. The beaches come cheap, flights and hotels not so much. But trust us, it’s so worth it.

Book a Hawaii vacation right here.

 

New Orleans

By now, you’ve outgrown the dizzying debauchery of Bourbon Street, but as most Crescent City fans know, that famed cup-strewn thoroughfare doesn’t define New Orleans—not even close. Now that you’re a bit older, enjoy the city’ finer side: Think fine dining at century-old restaurants like Antoine’s or Galatoire’s, or pick from newer faves like Bacchanal, Elizabeth’s or Bayona. Splurge at one of the city’s more interesting hotels like Peter & Paul, which sits in a repurposed church in the Marigny or Magazine Street’s The Eliza Jane, named after the female publisher of the Picayune newspaper, whose offices were once housed there. That said, just because you’re over guzzling booze out of a DayGlo plastic grenade, doesn’t mean the party’s ended. Beyond Mardi Gras, you’ll find the just-as-fun but better behaved Jazz Fest and Voodoo Music Fest, plus Frenchman Street jazz clubs like local fave the Spotted Cat.

Find more great places to stay in New Orleans. 

Utah

One of the many ways the pandemic has changed travel is that it’s made outdoorsmen and women out of almost all of us. And it looks like the trend is here to stay. If this sounds like you, consider a Utah vacation, where you’ll find some of the best skiing in the country just outside of Salt Lake City or further afield in Park City. If slopes aren’t really your thing, or a summer trip’s in the works, plan it around the Mighty Five National Parks instead—that’s Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. You’ll discover stunning red rock canyons, mesas and sandstone hoodoos, and marvel at famed Mesa Arch, or the biblically named Court of the Patriarchs sandstone cliffs. Hip base camp towns like Moab and Kenab offer plenty to do long after the sun has gone down.

Find plenty of fantastic Utah hotels to choose from here.

Tagged: Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, Destinations, Florida, L.A., Las Vegas, Mexico, New Orleans, New York City, Top 10 list

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

CheapTickets Blog Editors

CheapTickets Blog Editors

CheapTickets editors are a diverse group of writers and bloggers who live and work all over the world and who have a passion for student-friendly budget travel coursing through their veins. Whether it's finding the most Instagrammable yurt in the Coachella Valley or uncovering dirt cheap eats in expensive cities like Tokyo and Paris, our writers take the road less traveled to uncover the world's best deals and destinations.