Written by Rachel James
In the midst of one of the most religious times in a calendar year, where Easter is fast approaching and Lent is underway, it’s a great time to reflect on modern day spiritual rites of passage bringing our youths into adulthood. In recent years, the trend for the ultimate life experience for Millennials is jumping on a plane and flying far away to experience different cultures and explore the unknown.
If you know someone who is looking for an adventure to spice up their lives, Bestjet’s Managing Director and travel expert Rachel James has compiled 10 of the best travel rites to experience in 2017:
- Admire the Empire State Building from the comfort of your own igloo in NYC
There’s no better place to experience the fast pace of the world than the infamous concrete jungle. The city that never sleeps offers a never-ending list of attractions for the restless millennial, from cycling in Central Park to ice-skating at the Rockefeller Centre. To fully experience the energy New York has to offer, I recommend catching a subway on 28th Street to admire the Empire State Building from the top of 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar. On colder nights they provide robes and plastic igloos so you can spend all night admiring the skyline and taking in the animated atmosphere New York provides.
- Enjoy a cocktail (or two) on a private yacht in Dubrovnik
You haven’t experienced luxury until you climb aboard your own private yacht that leisurely sails around the stunning islands of Croatia. These private yachts are one of the world’s worst kept travel secrets Millennials must experience while they’re young. There are many organised yacht tours available that will allow you to do everything from party in a cave in Markaska to exploring Old Town in Dubrovnik. Most tours provide lunch onboard at an additional cost, but try to save some cash and experience the local cuisine by jumping ship and exploring the local Croatian cities when anchored.
- Test your stamina on the Inca Trail in Machu Picchu
It’s easy to forget how beautiful the world in which we live is, and I’ve found the most scenic places on Earth often can only be reached on foot. The Inca Trail in Peru is one of the most famous treks on the planet, combining mountain scenery with subtropical jungle and ancient Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels. The four-day trek is physically demanding but spiritually enlightening and is a must for the travelling Millennial looking to step out of their comfort zone. Trekking for almost 10 hours a day is incredibly tough, so remember to take the time to look around and admire the view – it’s absolutely breathtaking.
- Kiss a Leprechaun on St Patty’s Day in Dublin
The only day of the year you’ll believe in leprechauns and find green and orange velcro outfits lining the streets, St Patrick’s Day is the perfect celebration for millennials. Dublin is a small capital with a huge reputation for its festivities, but the country’s appeal lasts longer than just one day, so make sure you spend time sightseeing to fully appreciate the Irish charm. Challenge yourself and make an effort to learn Gaelic during the week of St Patrick’s Day – Sláinte!
- Avoid eye contact with strangers in an Onsen in Tokyo
Standing stark naked in a room full of strangers is an experience most nightmares are made of. Onsens are an important part of Japanese culture but are a foreign concept most Westerners go out of their way to avoid. Culture shock is an important part of travelling and exposing yourself to new ways of seeing the world is vital for personal growth. Although it may seem strange, visiting a Japanese Onsen is an enlightening and empowering experience. Make sure you bring a small and big towel with you, one to wash yourself with in the public bathing area, and the other to dry and cover yourself with after – you don’t want to stay naked longer than necessary!
- Ride the Krinoline merry-go-round at Oktoberfest in Munich
Experiencing Oktoberfest in Munich is a cultural rite of passage for any travelling millennial who has a love for beer. However, this 16-day long festival is much more than just beer and sausages, with most tents offering traditional Bavarian music, folk dancing, fairground attractions and live music. Of course, your experience wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the historic Krinoline merry-go-round, the festival’s oldest carnival ride, dating from circa 1900. Make sure you dress the part and wear the traditional German Lederhosen or Dirndl.
- Pitch a tent for Tomorrowland in Belgium
If you’re lucky enough to score one of the 180,000 tickets that rapidly sell out within an hour each year ensure you make the most of it! As one of the world’s most anticipated events this is top of the bucket list for many wander-lusting Millennials. The festival is known for being one of the happiest places on Earth and each year promises an incredible lineup of talented musicians and out-of-this-world special effects, guaranteed to exceed all expectations. Make sure you bring your country flag and wave it around as the waving sea of flags on the main stage is a sight to behold.
- Dance at a Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan
The Full Moon Party is spectacular for bonding with other travellers over matching florescent t-shirts while dancing under the full moon. The Full Moon Party attracts party-goers from all over the globe and hotels fill up fast, so save your wallet the stress by booking your accommodation well in advance and arriving on the island at least three days early to avoid the price hike.
- Bungee jump off a clifftop over the Waikato River in NZ
Thousands of brave travellers head to New Zealand every year to take the heart-stopping plunge and free fall 47 metres towards the Waikato River. This rite of passage isn’t for the light-hearted but bungee jumping while surrounded by stunning scenery delivers a thrilling and exhilarating experience that will make you want to try it again. Take a leap of faith and challenge yourself – I found closing your eyes helps too!
- Spend a night on-board a junk boat in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
Take some time out to relax and spend a night admiring one of the great natural wonders of the world from the luxury of a junk cruise. Spend the night admiring lights of nearby floating fishing villages and then wake up early in the bay to catch the Vietnamese morning sun – brilliant for those who prefer to relax and see the world from the slow lane.
How many Travel Rites of Passages have you experienced?