Title photo: Is there anything more fun than a bucket list? Here are our top 30 things to do before you turn 30!

Do you have a list of things to do before you turn 30? This is what we call the bucket list! 

Think back to your 10-year-old self’s daydreams about your 21st birthday. Maybe you were convinced you would be living it up at your dream school, learning by day and partying by night. Perhaps you fancied yourself a world traveler, backpacking across Europe and spending your days sipping wine with the world’s most fascinating people. 

If your dreams didn’t quite turn out as planned, it’s OK! You should still be cracking open that wine-in-a-box and celebrating your twenties. Being in your twenties is a time for adventure and whimsy. Many of us will settle down someday, create beautiful little families and become permanent fixtures in our neighborhoods of choice.  But for me, that day is not today.

To fill my time between now and thirtydom, I’ll be attempting to be a little bit reckless and a little bit responsible, to fix my undeniably bad and self-destructive habits, to make goals and surpass them and finally, to make memories I will never forget.

Here is your 30 Before 30 Bucket List: 30 Things to Do Before You Turn 30:

1. Travel somewhere you don’t know the language or have never been before.

Going somewhere you can’t easily communicate with other people is only slightly terrifying! I’m only kind of kidding. Usually wherever you are in the world, you can communicate in some way, whether it’s with spoken language or with your body language.

Being somewhere you’re not familiar with the local language means you’ll need to pay more attention to what’s going on around you. You’ll be more thoughtful about what you’re experiencing and pay deeper attention — something most of us could do more of!

2. Befriend a variety of different people.

Having friends who are different than you means you will learn and grow from them. When you have people like this in your circle, you can expand your knowledge and your mind. You’ll learn from other perspectives and how to take them into account. Your worldview will expand. And you can learn how to speak to your own beliefs more deeply.

3. Start your 401(k).

Retirement might be a blip on the map but it will be here before you know it. Do yourself a favor and start saving now. Especially if your company offers matching. Grow money, grow!

(P.S. Here’s our guide to saving for retirement in your 20s!)

The earlier you can start saving for retirement, the better. So whether it’s ten dollars a month or a thousand, get in the habit of putting that money away. A savings habit will ultimately benefit future you more than anything else!

4. Take a risk!

Consider what a “risk” is to you and put yourself up to the challenge. For some people, a risk might be skydiving. For others it might be committing to a grad school program. You’ll know it’s a risk for you if you feel afraid and apprehensive of it for potentially unknown reasons. 

Taking a risk can be scary but also exhilarating. Sometimes the greatest things we will do in our lives are just on the other side of fear. If there’s one thing you can take away from this 30 before 30 list, this one just might be it.

5. Start investing.

Again, the sooner you start investing, the more your money will grow! Investing is a long-term game and starting in your 20s is the a great time to get started. We have an entire series on getting started with investing:

TIP: If you’re struggling to find money in your budget to put towards investments, I highly recommend using Rakuten! After you sign up and make an account, you can use the extension on your web browser to alert you when there is cash back available. You make your purchase as usual and percent of cash back is deposited into your account and then paid out to you quarterly!

I earn around $300-400/year in cash back just for using Rakuten. Don’t leave money on the table!

Here’s $10 for signing up and making your first purchase.

picture of a marble background, red wallet, some cash and some change

6. Form your political opinion.

 It’s up to us to educate ourselves and advocate for what we believe in.

Many people shy away from political discussions but by having them, you’ll come out with new, more well-rounded knowledge and, hopefully, will get to know your own opinions better.

7. Stop holding grudges.

Past grievances are overrated. You don’t need negativity in your life and you definitely don’t need it over something that happened years ago.

If you need to, unfollow of block the involved parties on social media. Don’t “hate follow” someone just for the heck of it. A grudge only affects the person holding it.

8. Start a collection.

Something fun, quirky and totally you! It’s fun to collect things. Whether it’s shells from your beach trips, magnets from your travels, matchbooks from restaurants — there are plenty of unique things to collect that will keep you nostalgic over some of your best memories. 

9. Take a cross-country road trip.

Particularly if you are in the United States. You’ll get to experience many different nuances of the country and you can support local mom-and-pop businesses.

Pro-tip: avoid the highways for the best scenery.

10. Pay off your credit card debt.

No one wants this to begin with, but you have a chance to start off your thirties with a clean financial slate if you play your cards right (or in this case, not at all).

Debt can not only be financially devastating for building the future you dream of, but it can also be tough on your confidence.

11. Go see live music you love.

There’s something so special about seeing your favorite artists live. They aren’t going to be on tour forever, so buy the tickets and make the drive. You won’t regret seeing them live.

12. Set an annual reading goal.

I could bore you with the list of benefits of reading, but I won’t (but if you’re curious, we’ve got some right here). Go make yourself a Goodreads account and set yourself a reading goal to accomplish each year.

girl sitting on a couch in front of bookshelves reading "Water for Elephants"

13. Overcome a fear.

Sometimes your fears hold you back, but don’t let them. Take steps to overcome your fear of public speaking or heights. Once you know you what you are capable of, anything is possible.

14. Get a tattoo.

Permanence is scary, so make sure it’s something that really represents who you are at this point in your life, particularly if you’re prone to regret. Make up your mind, do your research and go for it.

If tattoos aren’t your thing, there’s always fake tattoos you can wear for a few days or a piercing you’ve always liked that you can eventually remove.

Check out our tattoo guides: Guide to Surviving Your First Tattoo7 Things To Think About Before Starting a Tattoo Sleeve,  and Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Tattoo (and Never Thought to Ask).

15. Join a club or sign up for classes.

Your twenties are a great time to explore your interests and to figure out what you’re really passionate about! 

Clubs and classes are a great way to meet new people are are also interested in similar things you are. For example, I’ve been apart of book clubs in the past that were a great way to discuss similar interests. I’ve also taken cooking classes and learned how to make an excellent risotto.

Some of my friends are part of similar groups, moms groups, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, take dance classes, art classes, and more. There are so many opportunities to keep learning even when you’re not in school any more. Let this 30 before 30 list inspire you to try something new! 

16. Treat yourself to something nice and pay for it in cash.

Saving up for and paying for something nice that you really want is such a powerful feeling! Knowing that you could afford that computer in full or are able to just pay for the trip of your dreams is not something you’ll soon forget. Plus, it probably means you’re on your journey to financial freedom — which is an excellent goal to set before you turn 30! 

If you don’t have the cash now, start saving! Make yourself a savings account called “Treat Myself” and transfer $20 a paycheck until you have enough.

two glasses of champagne in Greece

17. Be the first person to apologize.

It’s hard to admit when you are wrong. But it’s usually for the greater good.

Saying “I’m sorry” is something we learn as children but don’t often implement as adults. Apologize when you’re in the wrong.

18. Run a marathon and start taking care of your health.

Or a triathlon or a 5k. Pushing yourself physically is not only good for your body but good for your mind. And plus, you’ll feel really awesome with your medal.

We’re capable of far more than we think we are — and this is your chance to prove it to yourself!

And even if these extreme physical fitness activities aren’t your thing, consider improving your life in other areas of wellness. For example, getting a good night’s sleep every night makes a world of difference. 

19. Forgive yourself for mistakes.

Realizing you made a huge mistake by passing over an amazing job offer might seem like the end of the world, but it’s not.

Forgive yourself and move on. This goes along with letting go of grudges–don’t hold them against yourself.

20. Learn how to cook.

I’m not saying you should aspire to be Ina Garten; just learn how to make a few fancy dishes for one of those special occasions. They might come in handy sooner than you think.

Knowing how to make risotto is a great recipe to always have in your back pocket. It’s easy one you know the steps and can be made in any variation based on the ingredients you have on hand.

21. Eat really expensive food.

Treat yourself (and maybe your significant other) to a meal at one of the world’s top restaurants. Find out what all of the fuss is about and indulge in food made by someone who invented the cooking method.

22. Pay it forward.

Ever had someone help you out when you didn’t ask for it? Even if you haven’t, you can still start a chain of positive events by paying for someone’s coffee or helping them change a flat tire.

Positive momentum is a powerful thing, people!

23. Attempt to break a world record.

In the Guinness Book of World Records, of course. There are records for everything, so round up your friends and give it your best shot. Even if you don’t quite break a record, it’s still a pretty cool memory to have.

24. Attend the Olympic Games.

Whether it’s Winter or Summer, you’ll never regret being in the presence of the world’s elite athletes and having the opportunity to watch history in the making.

25. Pick a cause and be passionate about it.

Whether it’s cancer research or clean water, donate and make efforts to help others and advance your cause.

Don’t just say you’re interested in a cause, go live it and be it — volunteer your time, fundraise or donate. Change doesn’t happen by sitting at home on your couch.

26. Make your family tree.

There is no history more interesting than your own–figure out who your ancestors were and how they impacted the world and your own life. What you find out might surprise you.

Take it a step further and record your family’s complete medical history. This will not only come in handy for you, but for future generations are well.

27. See a Broadway play.

Or a Cirque show or Blue Man Group.  Put on your best dress or your tux and live it up.

28. Work a menial job.

A job where you know you won’t advance but also requires tipping. You’ll gain a better appreciation for people you come across in your future who count tips as the largest part of their salary.

If this doesn’t fit into your career plan, try picking up a second job around the holidays — you’ll appreciate the extra income and you’ll gain some eye-opening experience for those who work for minimum wage full time.

picture of a tip jar

29. Become a connoisseur in something.

Whether it’s cheese, wine, tea or coffee, your garnered knowledge will always help you make small talk but also enrich your life in ways you haven’t even imagined.

30. And finally, make a list of 40 Things to do Before You Turn 40.

If only because it’s fun!

What’s on your list of 30 things to do before you turn 30? Let us know in the comments!