The Best Age To Take An Adult Gap Year & Where You Should Go

Photographed by Meg O'Donnell
Your twenties are supposedly the decade when you're meant to be travelling the world, making memories and having the life-changing experiences that you'll reminisce about for years to come. Our twenties are supposed to be carefree, before the "real" responsibilities – family commitments, mortgage payments and career kick in, so it seems like a good time to globe-trot.
But if you're in your 20s and thinking of taking a big trip, new research suggests you might be better off waiting another decade.
The best age to travel the world and take an adult gap year is apparently 37, according to a survey of 2,000 British people. Travel agent Florida4Less asked what age people believed they'd get the most benefit out of travelling to certain bucket list destinations and the general consensus was their late 30s.
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It suggests that travelling and seeing the world when you’re a little more established is more valuable and fulfilling, contrary to the popular concept of taking a gap year before university or in your 20s.
The destinations included were: Rome (Italy), Queenstown (New Zealand), Edinburgh (Scotland), Dublin (Ireland), Venice (Italy), New York (USA), London (England), Budapest (Hungary), Tokyo (Japan), Paris (France), Barcelona (Spain), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Berlin (Germany), Mexico City (Mexico), Santorini (Greece), Las Vegas (USA), Sydney (Australia), Bangkok (Thailand), Prague (Czech Republic) and Florida (USA).
The top destinations to visit in your 30s? Amsterdam, Barcelona, New York, Berlin and Florida. According to those surveyed, you're most likely to appreciate Amsterdam's culture and art (the Anne Frank House and galleries such as Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum) when you're in your early thirties.
Barcelona, meanwhile, was perceived to be best suited to those in their mid-thirties because of its mix of culture, stunning architecture (especially La Sagrada Familia) and food.
People thought New York would be best around 36 with its culture and iconic sights (the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park) proving to be the biggest draws. While Berlin is also best at around the same age and is best loved for its culture, history, street food and flea markets.
According to travel industry insiders, many people in their 20s are taking the opposite tack and travelling more than they otherwise would because they think they have no chance of being able to save for a property anyway and YOLO. But if you're not among them and are feeling the pressure to abandon your 9-to-5 and hop on a plane, don't stress, you might enjoy it even more in a decade's time.
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