Though Seth and I approach this blog and this challenge with a heavy focus on budgeting, saving, and proceeding in the most affordable way possible, we also recognize that the 30 Before 30 challenge is simply not possible for everyone. For the single parents, the student-debt payers, or the doctoral residents who either don’t have the time or the resources to pause their life and spend a decent amount of money to fly around the world, a goal like this may feel daunting. Through this blog, we truly hope to make this adventure as accessible for everyone as possible, but we acknowledge the privileges that allow us to do this.
All that being said, we don’t want there to ever be any obstacle for anyone to pursue their dream of travelling. For that reason, I want to explore today ways to scale the 30 Before 30 challenge in ways that make it a more accessible goal. There are so many options and ways to tailor this challenge to your lifestyle and each one can be customized to what you care about and are capable of doing.
Read below for some options for other travel-related challenges for every lifestyle and budget:
Go Lower and Longer
Okay, so the first obvious option would simply to be decrease the number of countries you’d like to go to. 30 may be unattainable but could you do 15? 10? 5? If you live in America, you could road trip to Canada and Mexico and knock 2 off your list without ever having to fly. Then, you can take a WOW Airlines flight to Iceland for $99, Berlin for $149, or London for $129 (as of this writing on 10/1/17). And once you’re over in Europe, you can take short flights or train rides between the countries for $40-$70. If you’re able to budget a few thousand dollars over a couple of years (a couple hundred at a time), you could make it to 5 or 10 countries over the lifetime of your goal.
Conversely, maybe you want to keep a higher number but are in a job field where you need to grind for the first 5 years or won’t have your student debt paid off until you’re 35. In those cases, there’s no reason that your travels have to be checked off before you’ve finished those things. Give yourself until you’re 50 or even your full lifetime to accomplish it. In today’s world, it often feels like everything has to be NOW NOW NOW and if you aren’t jet-setting around the world by the time we’re 25, you’re somehow lesser-than. I fall under that spell too and I’m constantly reminding myself that the journey is to be enjoyed just as much as the destination. SO, give yourself a little more time. There’s no rush. Paris will still be there when you’re 50 (lord, let’s hope so).
All 50 states
If you’re a resident of the good ole’ US of A, then you have the opportunity to set your scopes on hitting all 50 states. If you have a car, you can hit a good portion of states just by driving and cross-country flights could cost you less than $100. Flights to Hawaii and Alaska could be a bit more pricey, but this is a good option to reduce the time and financial commitments and still see a wide variety of places. Also consider vying for the 48 Continental United States to make it even more achievable.
All National Parks
Are you a nature and hiking buff? Similar to the 50 states, this challenge will take you all across the US to see all the natural wonders of America. Hike your way through the 59 national parks that span 27 states and a few American territories. If you feel more comfortable with your belongings strapped to your back and don’t mind a few leaves in your hair, maybe this is an option for you!
Towns in Your State
Chances are, a quick internet search will give you lists on lists of towns worth visiting in your state. Check out this list and this one to get started. From there, formulate your own list and start checking them off! If you can only get off a day or two at a time or if you have little ones who would need to come with, this is a great option.
Top Breweries/Coffee Shops/Donut Shops/etc.
Are you a beer geek or a coffee nut? Or maybe you’re a donut connoisseur. Whatever your obsession is, what about visiting the top 10/20/50 spots? This can either be nationwide or worldwide, but this is an awesome option if you have a topic you’re truly passionate about and you could both travel AND experience the best versions of that thing.
Neighborhoods in Your City
Do you live in a city but just really don’t have the resources to even leave the state? Then you have the opportunity to explore every corner of your city and become your own local expert. Is your city divided into neighborhoods? Or is it laid out in a neat grid system? Whatever it is, find a way to divide up your city or town, and explore each area individually. You could also do this with your county or school district, however you want to divide it. This is maybe the most accessible version, but it certainly isn’t any lesser. Challenge yourself to find a new place in each area – a new place to eat, a new book store or clothing shop- and before you know it, you will have your city down and know it better than any one else. I actually have this goal for my new home- Washington, DC- but I haven’t gotten too far yet.
These are some of the takes on the 30 Before 30 challenge that we came up with, but we’d love to hear more! Do you have a travel bucket list? A list of places you want to see? Share it in the comments!