Our family has long tried to celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries with a major trip.
I won’t specify which birthdays or anniversaries, but these celebratory trips have taken us to Paris, Alaska, Norway, Greece, and Antarctica, among other far-flung destinations.
Sometimes you just need a good excuse to travel. (Other times, not — whatever works.)
So I was intrigued to come across this list of suggested milestone birthday celebratory trips from the folks at Wilderness Travel, which has been taking adventurous travelers to remote regions of the globe since 1978. (It was named AFAR Magazine’s World’s Best Tour Operator for 2017.)
Baby boomers have moved on from their 40th and now even their 50th birthdays, to be sure, but, for younger readers, I’m including their suggestions for those milestones as well. And I can’t say I disagree with any of the four recommendations.
So here is the list from Wilderness Travel — with age-appropriate trips, all of them adventurous:
Wilderness Travel helps guests climb East Africa’s famed Mt. Kilimanjaro by taking a less traveled route that also allows for better acclimatization over seven days.
“This is a technical climb and getting to 19,000 feet is a fantastic 40th birthday milestone!” says Barbara Banks, director of marketing and new trip development for Wilderness Travel (who climbed Kili on her honeymoon).
My note: If you wish, follow it up with a wildlife safari to Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. Or wait until…
Happy 50th! See Africa’s Big Game on Foot
Wilderness Travel’s Serengeti Wildlife Safari adds an alluring twist to a standard safari.
Unlike most, Wilderness Travel offers you unfettered access to the Masai tribe, who have allowed the company’s travelers to camp on their land. This gives you the great game experiences — like seeing big prides of lions — yet frees you from many of the restrictions of the national parks.
It allows you to do game walks and night drives and enjoy epic adventures you can’t have within the parks or sitting inside a 4-wheel drive. You can even time your trip with the annual wildebeest migration.
My note: Even if you’ve passed your 50th birthday, an African safari still belongs on any bucket list.
Happy 60th! Follow in the Footsteps of Darwin in the Galapagos
On Wilderness Travel’s Ultimate Galapagos adventure, spend 15 days hiking, snorkeling and sea kayaking through these volcanic islands, all via a romantic tall ship, the Mary Anne.
Walk and swim right up to the amazing array of animals like penguins, iguanas, sea lions and tortoises, which have no fear of humans since they have no natural predators. Shorter cruises are also available.
“This is proving to be one of our most popular trips for the multi-generational wave of travel,” says Banks. “It’s great for grandparents with children and grandchildren to celebrate a milestone 60th birthday. It’s wonderfully active with two naturalist-led hikes a day, up to two snorkeling expeditions a day and kayaking if you’d like, or you can relax on the boat.”
My note: If you love animals in the wild, the Galapagos ranks right up with an African safari or an Antarctic expedition as the premier viewing venues on earth. Which brings us to:
Happy 70th! Pal Around with Penguins in Antarctica
Follow in the footsteps of explorer Ernest Shackleton and discover the world of Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic Isles on Wilderness Travel’s Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands small cruise expedition.
Massive colonies of king penguins await with all of their squawking and no fear of humans, as well as huge elephant seals basking on the beach as drifting icebergs pass by.
You’ll also get to stop at Shackleton’s grave site. It’s an ideal destination for those who have traveled the world and are looking for the ultimate bucket list experience — only about 30,000 travelers visit Antarctica each year.
“This trip is still very active and tends to attract the 70-year-old age group,” says Banks. “It’s a longer trip, so you need to be available for an extended period of time and it allows you to really get out and on your own. You are not constrained.”
My note: Antarctica really is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Stay tuned for recommendations for 80-year-olds in about nine years when boomers start becoming octogenarians!