12 Trips Every Traveler Should Take Before Turning 50

Black couple looking at sunset at Cape Town waterfront
Alistair Berg / Getty Images

Someone once said that 50 is the new 40 and we couldn't agree more. Milestone birthdays—you know, the ones that end in zero—come along only once every decade and as such should be embraced and relished. One of the best ways to do that is through travel, which never fails to broaden our minds, lighten our hearts, and deliver a much-needed dose of adventure.

If you happen to be approaching the half-century mark and are looking to add a few more of those experiences to your travel resume, we have some suggestions that you might want to consider. These are our picks for the best destinations, trips, and adventures that you should experience before you turn 50, setting yourself up for your next decade of travel.

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Cruise the Nile

Small ships sail along a narrow stretch of the Nile river with ruins in the background.

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Egypt has been a top destination for travelers since the days of Alexander the Great. Even today, the pyramids and sphinx—along with numerous other ancient ruins—remain as alluring as ever, but one of the best travel experiences can be found on a slow, leisurely cruise down the Nile. Typically such a journey only lasts for three or four days, but during that time you'll visit lost temples, Egyptian villages, and take in life in this starkly beautiful part of the world. It is an enchanting way to experience a river that has played an important part in human history for millennia.

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Take a Cycling Trip Through Tuscany

Biker on coastal road in Elba Island, Tuscany against the sun, aerial view with drone
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Italians have always had a passion for cycling—both the pro sport and the leisure activity. So what better way to explore one of the country's most scenic and accommodating regions than from the seat of a bike? Whether you're a serious rider looking for a challenge or a complete beginner looking to immerse yourself in the Italian countryside, a cycling trip through Tuscany will keep you enthralled. Throughout your journey you'll pedal through picturesque villages, along tranquil country roads, and past stunning vistas. You'll also have the opportunity to visit more than a few wineries and eat some of the best food imaginable. What more could you ask for?

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Spend a Week in Paris

The lights of Paris—including the Eiffel Tower—stretch into the distance

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Often when we travel we're in such a hurry to get to the next destination that we barely have time to enjoy the one we're currently visiting. So why not pick a single location and spend an entire week there, soaking up the sights and sounds and truly getting to know the place. There are few better cities to do this than in Paris, where visitors will find a unique blend of history, culture, active pursuits, and nightlife. Oh, and the food isn't bad either. With more than 130 art museums to visit alone, there is certainly plenty to keep you busy. But don't forget to take a stroll down the Champs Élysées, go people-watching at a French cafe, and go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It may be one of the most touristy things in the world to do, but it is still worth it.

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Visit South Africa's Wine Country

Vineyards, Delaire Graff Estate, Helshoogte Pass, Cape Winelands near Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Blaine Harrington III / Getty Images

There are many reasons to go to South Africa, including visiting historic and lovely Cape Town, hiking the Drakensberg Mountains, and going on a safari. But the country also happens to be home to an incredible wine country, with numerous award-winning vineyards. Located a short drive outside of Cape Town, the Winelands—as they are known locally—make a great day trip for those looking to escape the city. But to truly enjoy the region book accommodations in a local inn or hotel and plan on staying for two or three days. The tranquil and relaxing countryside will quickly put you at ease and creating a relaxing experience on another otherwise busy holiday.

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Sail the Mediterranean

A white sailboat on the blue waters of the Mediterranean with a coastline in the background

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Sailors have been taking to the waters of the Mediterranean for centuries and it's easy to understand why. The beautiful coastline, warm waters, and sunny weather make it an ideal destination for anyone looking for an aquatic adventure. Whether you explore the Greek Isles, sail past Italian beaches, or wander along the Croatian coast, the Med never fails to enchant or delight. Such a journey can be as active or relaxing as you want, mixing in kayaking, snorkeling, and diving, with days ashore wandering through seaside cities or just leisurely enjoying your day onboard your ship. You can even charter your own yacht if you like.

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Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Hot air balloons rise above a rocky landscape at dawn

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Taking a ride in a hot air balloon is always a wonderful experience, but there are a few places where it is especially great. One of those is Cappadocia, Turkey which is well known for its unique, almost otherworldly, landscape. Carved by ancient volcanic activity and thousands of years of erosion, Cappadocia is unlike any other place on the planet, and that unusual terrain is best experienced from the air. On calm mornings there dozens of hot air balloons take flight, which only adds to the enchanting experience. Particularly as the flames from the jets light up the pre-dawn sky, further enhancing this already unique experience.

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Learn to Tango in Buenos Aires

People dancing tango in Buenos Aires

TripSavvy / Maria Ligaya

There are many reasons to visit Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina. Not only is it home to outstanding museums, historical centers, and ecological preserves, it also happens to have one of the best steak houses in the entire world. You'll also find plenty of establishments that cater to the country's other passion—the tango. This sensual and energetic dance is a favorite amongst Argentines, many of which are more than willing to demonstrate it to foreign visitors. But to truly experience the tango you should learn the dance for yourself. Fortunately, there are plenty of local instructors who are willing to help you out while you are there.

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Soak in the Hot Springs of Iceland

The blue waters of a hot spring stretching into the distance along a rocky shore.


Iceland's legendary volcanic activity has created an unbelievably beautiful landscape filled with geysers, fumaroles, and other geothermal activity. The most prominent and enticing of those features are the country's numerous hot springs, which provide warmth and soothing comfort, even on very cold days. These warm rivers and pools can be found throughout the countryside and make for a great pitstop after a long day of hiking. They are also a wonderful spot to take in the northern lights or just enjoy a long soak. Many of the hot springs are found in breathtaking landscapes too, which only serves to make them more enticing.

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Hike the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim

A hiker walks along a trail in the Grand Canyon


The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited national parks in the entire U.S., but the vast majority of visitors only take in the magnificent sights from above. Few actually lace up their hiking boots and venture down into the canyon itself, where an entirely different perspective awaits. Active travelers looking for a unique experience can spend several days hiking from the South Rim to the North Rim or vice versa. The truly ambitious can even reverse direction and head back again, finishing where they first started. The hike is not an easy one, but it is incredibly rewarding, especially for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind for a little while.

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Spot Polar Bears in Canada

Three polar bears walk in a line across the snow and ice

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Spotting wild animals in their natural habitat always makes for an amazing travel experience. One destination that caters to that experience is the town of Churchill, Manitoba in Canada. Billed as "the polar bear capital of the world," Churchill is one of the best places on the planet to see these creatures in the wild. Between July and November each year, dozens of bears gather in and around the town as they wait for colder weather to arrive to begin their journey back north. This makes it one of the most predictable places to see polar bears, which can be extremely elusive otherwise.

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Wander the Souks of Marrakesh

A colorful marketplace lines a narrow alleyway in Morocco

Andrea Pistolesi / Getty Images

Morocco is another destination that offers a wide variety of activities for active and enthusiastic travelers. From hiking in the Atlas Mountains to camping in the desert to surfing along the Mediterranean, there is plenty to keep you busy for sure. But one activity that should not be overlooked is wandering through the colorful, chaotic, and fascinating souks of Marrakech. The shops and marketplaces found there spread out through the city like a maze, offering up a bewildering amount of goods to sort through. As one of the largest souks in the entire world, you can literally spend days walking its alleys and still only see a fraction of everything that is there.

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Take an Epic Journey to Antarctica

A penguin watches over its young hatchling in the Antarctic

Kraig Becker

If visiting all seven continents is a bucket list item for you, then reaching Antarctica is a must. But even if you're not looking to cross that milestone off your list, it is still worth visiting the frozen continent. There, you'll discover massive penguin colonies, towering glaciers, and a pristine wilderness that remains largely untouched by man. Cruises depart Ushuiais in southern Argentina on a regular basis between November and March, shuttling passengers to the far off region of the world. You can go directly there if you choose, but we recommend taking a longer journey that visits the Falkland Islands and a place called South Georgia while you're at it too.