Top Travel Ideas to Celebrate a Special Event

Have the time of your life – and celebrate a special occasion – when you book a birthday trip to Mexico
Have the time of your life – and celebrate a special occasion – when you book a birthday trip to Mexico | © iStock
Photo of Nick Dauk
12 January 2022

From significant birthdays and university reunions to proposals and even honeymoons – there’s a trip of a lifetime waiting for you with TRIPS by Culture Trip.

Who doesn’t want to celebrate a milestone in their lives with an unforgettable getaway? TRIPS by Culture Trip offers bookable, small-group adventures around the globe that will fill the Instagram feed – and your memory bank. So whether it’s seeing the Northern Lights in Finland, travelling across the desert in Morocco or snowmobiling across a glacier in Iceland, click on the links below to get inspired by exciting – or relaxing – travel adventures, led by a Local Insider.

The 30th-birthday city break

Watching lucha libre wrestling in Mexico City is an epic way to celebrate a big birthday | © James Moy / Alamy Stock Photo

Doing 30 correctly means more than celebrating with a fancy cocktail – everything from an electric city setting to a lively crowd is just as vital to the memory (or, perhaps, lack thereof). In true Cajun-dance fashion, fais do-do your way into your dirty 30s in Nawlins, the Big Easy – here you can mix up your own drinks with a classic cocktail class at the New Orleans Drink Lab. If Crescent City’s jazz clubs, refined crawfish boils and utterly irresistible beignets are too buttoned up for your taste, grab your passport and get stuck into the wild spirit of Mexico City – we love the idea of being drenched in beers and jeers with some Mexican freestyle wrestling at a lucha libre match.

The reunion backpacking getaway with old university friends

Get together with old friends for an adventure across the desert

A decade older, wiser and still just as close: you’re mates for life with your uni crew and you wouldn’t have it any other way. A long-overdue backpacking trip is the perfect way to make up for lost time and relive the glory days. Get the old youthful adrenaline running through your veins as you trek across the Moroccan desert on camel-back. Destination: a serene meditation session among Erg Chebbi’s tangerine dunes. Or make a journey farther east – to swim with tropical fish in southern Thailand’s secluded turquoise lagoons. Sitting on the beach with your buddies and beers is the best way to toast the good times had, and those still to come. Either way, you’re sure to return home with sand in your luggage and memories to treasure a lifetime.

The first solo trip

Intrepid travellers should head up Crib Goch, in North Wales, for unbelievable views | © jethro kiernan / Alamy Stock Photo

There’s nothing like going it alone to feel the transformative power of travel. Unleash your wild side on a journey through the adventurous north of Wales. Explore pine forests, craggy coastlines and mountain trails while you cultivate your own rugged soul. Ascend Snowdon, gaze west to the Emerald Isle in the distance and plan your next adventure on the rocky descent. Trade a Welsh excursion for an unforgettable trek through Turkey. You’ll start in the old Ottoman capital, Istanbul: clustered on either side of the Bosphorus Strait, it’s the cultural bridge connecting Europe and Asia, full of extraordinary architecture, cuisine and history to expand your outlook, palate and understanding of our world. Head on to explore more of this diverse land, with highlights including a ride in one of the hot-air balloons that fill the skies in Cappadocia, the volcanic region.

The activity-packed extravaganza for fidgety travellers

A glacier tour by snowmobile awaits in Iceland | © Cavan Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Maximise your time and your memories with an activity-packed holiday that’s short on downtime. You’ll feel like a kid in a candy store exploring Iceland’s frozen wilderness, racing across glaciers on snowmobiles and hiking to waterfalls. A shot of brennivín spirit and a soak in the dreamy Blue Lagoon are worthy compensation for sampling Reykjavik’s infamous dish of fermented shark. Further afield, elevate things with a flight over to the Himalayas – all part of the adventure in Nepal. From rickshaw riding through Kathmandu to Bengal tiger tracking in Chitwan National Park, you won’t have a moment to catch your breath until lunch at a Tibetan refugee camp. By that time, you’ll be so hungry that you’ll inhale those steamed momo dumplings before you’ve finished learning how to make them.

The office-burnout recovery

Find your inner peace at a wellness retreat | © M. Okimoto & G. Kaye / Getty Images

Wellness is as much a state of mind as it is an act. Thankfully, you won’t need to wander far to find serenity; there are calming experiences and meditative retreats on both sides of the pond if you know where to look. Straddling Nevada and California, Lake Tahoe and its blue waves beckon you to experience sand, sun and mountain snow. Perhaps the most coveted lakeshore in the West, Tahoe knows how to take you through guided meditation, stargazing and hiking, to help you revive mind, body and soul. Try a peaceful getaway in the west of England, featuring SUP yoga and wild swimming in the River Thames just beyond Reading, not far from Windsor. It’s guaranteed to nourish your spirit.

The 40th birthday food-and-wine treat

Sip local wine when you visit Sighnaghi, in the Kakheti region of Georgia | © Anton Ivanov / Alamy Stock Photo

Figuratively, you’re “over the hill” on your 40th, right? So why not spend your birthday going over a literal hill – in search of some of the finest foods and wines around the world. Tick off the Portuguese cities of Porto and Lisbon – the capital’s well-known canary-yellow trams will get you up the near-vertical cobblestone inclines, vital after you’ve filled your belly with birthday pastéis de nata and celebrated with local wines. If you’d like to go off-piste, head east to the Republic of Georgia, where Eastern Europe merges into western Asia. Ancient wine-making techniques are the main reason to visit the Kakheti region, where roads weave through vineyards and wind up golden hills – the true journey begins with that first glass of famous wine, matured in casks buried in the ground.

The blow-the-bonus jaunt

Tick one off the bucket list and see the Northern Lights in Finland | © Oxana Gracheva / Alamy Stock Photo

If money is no object then the world is your oyster. And you’ve just been given a thank-you reward by the company – right there in your bank account. Forget home improvements and personal trainers – after all your hard work you deserve to blow your budget on the biggest hardcore trip you can dream up: Japan. Knock the Land of Rising Sun off your bucket list in style with the glittery skyscrapers of Toyko and the backstreet geishas of old Kyoto; sushi making classes and sumo wrestling contests are also on the cards. Done Japan already? Send your savings north instead and beeline into the Arctic wilderness of Finnish Lapland. Spot the Northern Lights on a husky-sled ride and maybe even catch a glimpse of the big man himself at Santa Claus Village.

The pop-the-question getaway

Lake Como is an ideal spot for romantic proposals in northern Italy | © iStock

Your partner deserves a jaw-dropping proposal, one that encapsulates your love in a place that will capture their hearts. You want it to be perfect; thankfully, Italy and Greece have no shortage of romantic sites for one-of-a-kind proposals. A smooching selfie above the blue domes of Santorini is the highlight of a Greek island odyssey – or sail to a quiet hidden cove in Milos, tucked away from the world, for a special moment between you and your betrothed. Meanwhile, in Italy, cuddle up on a sleek Riva motor boat to tour the cold clear waters of the Italian Lakes. Once you’ve explored northern Italy and Lake Como, the lake itself will no doubt replace your previous profile picture. And how best to pop the question? Perhaps on bended knee in Siena, while the sunset over the Tuscan hillside sets the requisite stage.

The honeymoon

Gaze down at the Maasai Mara from a hot-air balloon ride | © Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

Your honeymoon is the first chapter in your lifelong adventure together, so begin with a bang: an African safari. Love is in the air as you cruise through the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya by car, then rise higher to get the bigger picture on a hot-air-balloon ride over empty expanses. You might prefer to swap your safari hat for a snorkel and take the plunge on the ultimate Indonesian-island holiday: pin-up island Bali and its neighbour Lombok. Transfixing marine life will lead you to the underwater statues along the west coast of Gili Meno. You may only have eyes for your other half when you arrive, but by the end of either trip you’ll be smitten by the majestic wildlife: leopards, rhinos and giraffes, or turtles, manta rays and sharks.

The ‘We’ve just started retirement’ adventure

Sit back and relax on board a cruise down the Nile | © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

You didn’t work a lifetime just to spend retirement sitting on your butt, so kickstart your freedom from the 9-to-5 with a novel-worthy adventure. Dust off your high-crowned sable fedora and head off into the Egyptian desert. Cruise the Nile to explore the intricately carved and frescoed ancient temples of Luxor and Dendera at your leisure – with only the spirits of the pharaohs to answer to. A tastier option awaits in the east: Vietnam’s street-food tours in Hoi An and Hanoi will make you forget all about the corporate cafeteria food back home. Make sure you snap a picture of you draining a big bowl of pho; it’ll act as the perfect out-of-office message to incite envy in your cubicle farm back home.

Take the plunge and book a specially curated small-group adventure with TRIPS by Culture Trip.

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