This is my story of how I traveled to 30 countries before I turned 30. And how you can work towards achieving you dreams however big or small!

 

Goal setting

At the age of 29 I decided that I wanted to do something big for my 30th birthday.

I had heard about “30 before 30” and was excited for the challenge. I knew that this would be particularly difficult for me as I had only a year left until I turned 30 and at that time my country count was at about 16.

Map of countries visited - 30 before 30

Planning

I put a plan into place in order to achieve my goal before the deadline of 4 August 2015.

I decided to take two month-long trips to South East Asia and Europe. These are great places to travel as you can cover a lot of ground in a shorter amount of time.

However, not all international trips need to be long. I also took quick trips that were a week or less to New Zealand and Bali (from Brisbane), Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Caribbean (from Dallas).

Budgeting

In addition to cutting back on initial transit time, another benefit of taking longer trips is that it can be more cost-effective. Especially, if you are living far away from the destinations you want to visit. This can cut down the cost of taking multiple flights to multiple destinations.

Next to flights, accommodation is one of the biggest costs associated with travelling. Central America, South East Asia and eastern European countries are all great places to travel in if you are traveling on a budget.

For more budgeting resources check out:

Overview

In the end, I managed to visit my 30th country just four days before my 30th birthday!

Celebrating my 30th birthday in New York City - Chantell Collins

Celebrating my 30th birthday in New York City – Chantell Collins

The majority of the 30 countries I visited were within 4 months and on 5 separate trips, one of which I had taken previously:

  • 32 day camping tour of western Europe (June – July 2009)
  • 1 month backpacking around South East Asia (January 2015)
  • 1 week Caribbean cruise (May 2015)
  • 5 weeks solo backpacking around Europe (June – July 2015)
  • 1 week solo backpacking in Central America (July 2015)

30 countries before 30

Here is the list of the countries I visited, including the cities I stopped in. Some of these countries I have visited on more than one occasion, however I have included only the most recent or relevant visits.

June to July 2009 – Group tour of Europe

1. France: Paris, St Emillion, Arles and Nice.

2. Monaco: Monte Carlo casino.

3. Austria: Austria.

4. Liechtenstein

5. Switzerland: Jungfraujoch mountain and Lucerne.

6. Netherlands: Amsterdam.

Paris, Jungfraujoch Mountain and Monte Carlo Casino

Paris, Jungfraujoch Mountain and Monte Carlo Casino

7. Indonesia: One week vacation with friends in May 2010 to Bali and Gili Trawangan.

8. United States of America: Lived in New York City, NY from September 2011 to September 2012, Wilmington, DE from October to December 2013 and Dallas, TX from May to September 2015.

9. Brazil: Lived in Sao Paulo from September 2012 to March 2013.

Rio de Janeiro - Chantell Collins

Rio de Janeiro – Chantell Collins

January 2015 – Backpacking South East Asia

10. Thailand: Bangkok, Chang Mai and Krabi.

11. Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur.

12. Cambodia: Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

13. Laos: Vientiane.

14. Singapore: Singapore.

15. New Zealand: Four day road trip to Auckland, Rotorua and Waitomo in March 2015.

Siem Reap, Chang Mai and Singapore

Siem Reap, Chang Mai and Singapore

May 2015 – Cruise of the Caribbean

16.  Jamaica: Montego Bay.

17. Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman.

18. Mexico: Cozumel.

June to July 2015 – Backpacking in Europe

19. Scotland: Edinburgh and Glen Coe.

20. England: London, Salisbury and Bath.

21. Belgium: Antwerp.

22. Germany: Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin.

23. Poland: Warsaw.

24. Czech Republic: Prague.

25. Hungary: Budapest.

26. Slovenia: Ljubljana.

27. Italy: Udine and Venice.

28. Spain: Madrid.

Glen Coe, London, Hamburg and Prague

Glen Coe, London, Hamburg and Prague

July 2015 – Backpacking in Central America

29. Nicaragua: July 2015 – Granada and Managua.

30. Costa Rica: July 2015 – Liberia.

Granada, Nicaragua - Chantell Collins

Granada, Nicaragua


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This is my story of how I traveled to 30 countries before I turned 30. And how you can work towards achieving you dreams however big or small!

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