- REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Most people have a list of things they want to accomplish before they hit their 30s.
Health is hopefully still on your side, and you’ve still got far fewer career or familial commitments than someone who’s just turning 40.
Put simply: Now’s the time to tick off some big-hitters on your bucket list.
And it’s not all gap years and fine dining. It’s worth using this time for some early adult-life breakthroughs, like learning to drive or managing your student debts.
Members of the Business Insider UK office have collaborated to come up with a list of things we are proud to have achieved before hitting the big three-zero, or things we want to do by the time we reach that age. It includes everything from boozy foreign festivals to buying kitchenware that will last.
Scroll on to find out the 30 mind-expanding life experiences you should get done before you turn 30.
Attend a Full Moon Party in Thailand.
“The Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, Thailand, is a jubilant, neon-soaked affair that you will almost certainly not enjoy once you hit maturity.
“It’s a wild beach party for the vest-wearers, body painters and fire dancers – plus you’ll spend the whole night drinking out of a bucket. Not to be missed but probably best not repeated.” – Tom Murray
“Moving abroad is one of the best ways to force yourself out of your comfort zone. You can learn a lot about yourself by learning to navigate a new country and culture.” – Peter Jacobs
Quit the day job you hate, even if you don’t have a backup plan.
“Your 20s are the best time in life to make mistakes with your career. It’s almost expected. Now is the time to try something different. Or, most importantly, to really go for your ideal career goal.
“Walking away from your job without a backup plan is one of the scariest things you can do, but your 20s will likely be the last decade in your life where you have the flexibility to get away with it and the least amount to lose.
“The very worst outcome? You end up back where you started: At another day job you hate.” – Jim Edwards
Learn to rock climb.
- Flickr/Cristian Bortes
“Climbing is amazing exercise – like yoga, it works all the major muscle groups and makes you stronger and more flexible. Start while you’re young and strong and you will find it much easier to progress and recover. The benefits will last you too.” – Shona Ghosh
Host a massive dinner party and cook everything yourself.
“You should know how to roast a chicken by the time you’re 30. Show off your adult skills by organising and hosting a dinner party.” – Dina Spector
Dress up in costume for a midnight film premiere.
- PA Images/Axel Heimken/DPA
“There’s something about the energy of a midnight premiere that makes the experience unforgettable, and dressing up is the best way to be a part of it. Whether it’s simply drawing Harry Potter’s lightning bolt scar on your forehead or wearing a full Batman costume, watching the movie becomes secondary to the spectacle that is the crowd.” – Spencer Lambert
Go to Glastonbury.
“Glastonbury is the UK’s biggest festival and a Mecca for music fans around the world. The atmosphere is unlike anywhere else on the planet and the sacred Pyramid Stage has been graced by everyone from Oasis to David Bowie.” – Sam Shead
Take a sabbatical to travel.
- Getty Images/Sean Gallup
“Your 20s are the best time to take some time off work to travel, because that’s when you’re in the beginning of your career. Seeing the world opens your mind and helps you choose what you want from your life.
“It will help you to build maturity and pro-activeness, help you to let go of fear, and will increase your ability to adapt in different situations. You don’t receive this kind of learning at college.” – Sabrina Cesar
Train for a marathon.
“Training for a half marathon gave me a sense of commitment, dedication, and eventually accomplishment that I’d never experienced before. Whether you do it once and never again, or it becomes a new addiction, it’s a great way to challenge yourself (and get a bit healthier).” – Alison Millington
Go to Venice.
- Alessandro Bianchi/REUTERS
“Venice is unlike any city in the world and truly has to be seen to be believed. The way sunset lights the city is awe-inspiring, and the art and architecture are up there with the best.
“Yes, the swarms of tourists are annoying, but avoid St Marks Square and things are a lot quieter and cheaper.”
“Both Florence and Rome are incredible, but if you only get the chance to go to one Italian city, make it Venice.” – Will Martin
Learn to fight.
- Jared Wickerham / Getty Images
“Learning to fight changed my life. Training camps are harder and more gruelling than fight night. You end up with busted lips and bruised ribs but nothing beats the feeling of kicking ass in front of 500-1,000 people. Since learning to fight, I’m fitter and stronger than I ever have been, and I became more confident and assertive in the work place.” – Alan Dawson
Dine alone at a restaurant (especially without a book or device).
“‘Friends’ has somehow taught us that there must be something wrong with people who dine out alone. Sure, it might feel awkward to eat by yourself in silence, but it can also teach you to be comfortable with yourself.” – Alex Ma
Get a pet.
“Getting a pet early on in your adult life can be challenging but probably one of the best moves if you want to become more responsible and instantly more attractive to the opposite sex.” – Russell Sheldrake
Climb the Inca Trail.
“The Inca Trail is a four-day, mountainous hike in Peru that takes you from the city of Cusco to the ancient site of Machu Picchu. It involves altitude sickness and 26 miles of almost continuous stairs, so it’s best to do it before your knees and lungs give up. And while you can cope with blisters and sleeping in sub-zero temperatures.” – Shona Ghosh
Start up a business.
“A lot of people commit to a corporate career as soon as they start working, but later they realise they would rather be running their own projects.
“Give it a go while you live with your parents, have fewer bills, and more spare time to commit to your own projects. Try it while the opportunity is still there and find out if that’s a life you want for yourself.” – Sabrina Cesar
Buy a Le Creuset.
- Flickr/Steve Snodgrass
“A Le Creuset will probably be the most expensive pan you’ll ever buy. However, I think it’s definitely worth it because you can cook 99% of the things you want to make with it. Also, you can often get them second-hand.
“They last forever because they’re more or less impossible to destroy, and you can make healthy, easy meals in them by basically just chucking everything you have in your fridge into it. You’ll feel like you’ve gotten really good at cooking without putting in that much effort at all.” – Lindsay Dodgson
Travel across Europe with no money.
“Whilst at uni, I took part in a charity hitch hike race from London to Prague and we weren’t allowed to spend any money on travel. Our small group miraculously managed to make it all the way to Prague within the time frame. It took 4 days and in that time we managed to see London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Prague before getting a flight back to the UK.
“I would stress not to attempt this alone – make sure you’re in a good group of people and you have plenty of money between you as a contingency if you get stuck.” – Jasper Pickering
Attend a white-tie event.
“Dress smart, be smart. So it follows that the smartest thing you can do is don white tie, the official most formal dress code there is. For men this means a black tailcoat, white waistcoat, dress shirt, and white bow tie. For women, full-length ball gowns. The outfits are very flattering, and the photos will be incredible forever.
“A lot of white tie events – state banquets, the Nobel Prize ceremony, some Oxford and Cambridge balls – are tough to get invited to. But the Vienna Opera Ball sells tickets to the public, so everybody has a shot.” – Kieran Corcoran
Mentor or volunteer.
- Getty Images/Spencer Platt
“It’s easy to focus solely on yourself in your 20s. Consciously taking some time to improve someone else’s life can help to ground you when you find yourself getting too caught up in work or materialism.
“If you can mentor, volunteer, or give back on your own (rather than with friends) then even better, as you have no choice but to fully remove yourself from the comfort of your usual social bubble.” – Bobbie Edsor
Visit the Grand Canyon.
- Getty Images/Sean Gallup
“There are not many places with such geological, cultural and environmental importance as the Grand Canyon. Being in the presence of nearly two billion years of the earth’s geological history makes you realise how tiny your part in it is.” – Megan Ingham
Pay off your student debt.
- Getty Images/Dan Kitwood
“It may not be as glamorous as the Inca Trail or as thrilling as live boxing, but paying off your debts – student loans, bank overdrafts, and credit cards – sets you up later. The fees and interest rates on debt are often far higher than any interest you’d get in property and the stock market, so before you save and invest, clear your debts.” – Alan Dawson
Visit all of the world’s most prestigious art galleries.
“Some of the best art is clustered in some of the best cities in the world. You can see them on the internet or in books, but nothing beats seeing these works in the flesh.
“I have nine years left to go to the best in the world before I hit 30, some of which are in London, such as the Tate, the Wallace Collection and the National Gallery.” – Adam Becket
Learn a second language.
“There are so many benefits to learning another language. Discovering new cultures, forming deep connections with people from other countries, and boosting your job and living abroad prospects are just a few.
“They say that aspects of language learning become harder with age so the sooner you start the better, and the longer you’ll have to reap the rewards.” – Rosie Fitzmaurice
Quit smoking — including marijuana.
“People who smoke tend to start when they are teenagers or in university. And while you may have started as a ‘social smoker,’ or someone who just likes the odd cigarette with a drink, if you are still smoking when you hit 30 you have probably now been smoking for a decade. This is bad. You’re in serious health risk territory. It’s time to stop.
“As for the weed – it was fun while it lasted. But seriously: Marijuana is making you lazy and robbing you of your ambition. Leave it behind.” – Jim Edwards
Experience Rio Carnival.
- Getty Images/Buda Mendes
“Rio Carnival is five days of debauchery that needs to be seen to be believed. When people think of Carnival it’s usually the feathers and floats of the official samba parade but it’s the free street parties called ‘blocos’ where it’s really at.7 a.m. starts are a thing and the party will already be in full swing: Band, beer, and sweltering sun. Fancy dress is a must, the more bizarre the better – they have a great sense of humour.” – Rosie Fitzmaurice
Learn to drive.
- Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images
“There’s nothing like learning to drive to make you realise how dependent you are on other people’s sensibilities. Yes, you will definitely be terrified the first couple of times you pull out onto a main road, but it’s a skill best learnt whilst you’re young and less fearful.” – Bobbie Edsor
Read one book every week.
- Flickr/Brittany Stevens
“Start reading one book every week. Make time, there’s always time. I read during my commute. Putting your face in a book is far better than trying to avoid a stranger’s morning breath. Plus, you know, you learn things.” – Alan Dawson
Eat a Michelin starred meal.
“Your tastes change over time. I used to hate olives and mushrooms when I was younger, for example. So dining out at places you wouldn’t normally try is a great way to experience new flavours.
“In your 20s, a great way to do this is to save up and go somewhere critically acclaimed with a Michelin star or two. If you’re going to experiment, you may as well feel fancy while you do it.” – Lindsay Dodgson
Live with a family in another country.
- Vadim Petrakov/Shutterstock
“Hands down the best way to get under the skin of another culture. I did two German exchange programmes at school and learnt more about the country in those two weeks than in years of education. I also spent time with a family in a tiny mining town in Zambia.
“What was scary at first, gave way to a supremely special experience. By the end of the week, the children of the family referred to me as “Uncle Jake” and I had eaten deep-fried caterpillars. Beats an air-conditioned box in a faceless hotel.” – Jake Kanter
Own a bespoke outfit.
“Owning a bespoke suit adds something completely unique to your wardrobe that can be topped by very little. It will be the best fitting item of clothing you will ever own and just putting it on will make you suddenly feel like ‘Suits” Harvey Specter.” – Russell Sheldrake