You might be single, you might be married; you may have kids, you may not. Regardless of your family dynamic, in your 40s, it’s fair to assume that you’ve traversed a fair portion of the world and will be more discerning as a result. Maturity means you know what you like, and what you don’t, so the tastes cultivated over the last two decades equates to a travel wishlist that is likely much more targeted than the one you had in your 20s. You understand what you’re looking for, and you know which places you long to see, which gives you the power to have a trip that really moves you.
From far-flung places and family-friend holidays, to homegrown must-dos and once-in-a-lifetime experiences — turn your wistful wishlist into a reality by ticking off these 20 travel experiences.
FLY BUSINESS CLASS
If you’ve made it to your fourth decade without ever experiencing the joys of an aeroplane flat-bed then the time is most definitely now to rectify this. Plush amenity kits, pyjamas, real cutlery, champagne, linen serviettes and three-course gourmet feasts — a jump in cabin class transforms flying from a pain to a pleasure. Rather than arriving dishevelled and sleep-deprived — like your economy class counterparts — you’ll turn up at your destination refreshed, relaxed and ready to go.
PARTY AT VENICE CARNIVAL
One of the most famous carnivals in the world, Carnival in Venice, a hundred-years-old event (its roots stretch back to the 11th Century) held ahead of Lent.
Masks have been part of the fun since the 13th century — a device used to allow those of different social classes to intermingle without revealing their identity — and today three-million plus partygoers are still embracing this ancient tradition.
Each year the city puts on a dazzling array of parades, masked balls and concerts, culminating in the ‘La maschera più bella’ (most beautiful mask) contest.
LEARN TO SALSA IN CUBA
Picture the scene: it’s a balmy evening, you’re on an open air terrace overlooking the rooftops of Havana and a lithe, Cuban dancer is in your arms imparting lessons on how to master the sexiest of dances: salsa.
If you want to learn about this Latin American dance staple, then Baila Habana in the Cuban capital city is one of the best venues in Havana. Employing professional dancers, lessons are tailored to your level of experience and the setting for their classes — from the aforementioned terraces, to historic saloons — is all part of the appeal.
BARE ALL IN A SCANDINAVIAN OPEN AIR SAUNA
Take the plunge (literally) into Scandinavian culture by shedding your inhibitions — and your clothes at the same time — and indulging in a lengthy session at an outdoor sauna. One of the most beautiful is Ribersborg in Sweden’s Malmo.
Built in 1892 and is located at the end of a pier in the sea, separate sections for men and women contain several saunas and offer direct access to the surrounding ocean.
CHECK INTO A CLASSIC LONDON HOTEL
While London has plenty of slick, contemporary 5-star hotels to choose from, for those looking for something quintessentially British then a stay at one of its classic, history-soaked properties is a must.
With its suited bell boys, enviable location on the Strand and checkered lobby floors, the Savoy is a great choice. Regardless of whether you’re residing at the hotel or not, a cocktail at its prestigious American Bar is an essential. It is the former drinking den for British royalty, artists (Claude Monet was a resident) and Hollywood greats such as Charlie Chaplin, Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich and Frank Sinatra.
HAVE A HOLIDAY FLING
Single and overseas? Make like a modern-day Bridget Jones or Shirley Valentine (or their male equivalent) and have a holiday fling.
Sun, sand and sundowners are a sure-fire combo for romance. And whether it’s with a waiter at the local restaurant, or a fellow holiday-maker, don’t get too attached. Yes, we’ve all heard the romantic stories about flings abroad turning into a 10-year marriage, but for the vast percentage of us these brief affairs should stay where they started: on holiday.
· NAVIGATE MOROCCO’S OLDEST CITY
Morocco’s capital for more than 400 years, Fes, is still considered its religious and cultural centre. It’s also home to the mother of all medinas — the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this labyrinth of 10,000-plus laneways are “Arabian Nights” made real.
LIVE LUXE ON ORPHEUS ISLAND
Located amid the magical waters of the Great Barrier Reef and surrounded by National Park and World Heritage-listed Marine Park, Orpheus Island stretches across 11-kilometres of immaculate turquoise coastline.
For wildlife lovers the marine life here includes turtles, rays, reef sharks and fish — lots of fish. Guests can take in the aquatic display via one of the free-to-use kayaks, paddle boards, dinghies or by donning snorkelling gear. For luxury-lovers there’s equal appeal with helicopter transfers to and from the island, a beautiful infinity pool, on site spa, and decadent tailored food menu.
SWIM WITH WILD DOLPHINS
With more than 140 resident bottlenose dolphins, Port Stephens’ reputation as the dolphin capital of Australia is well-deserved. And while you can sightsee with any number of vessels, for something truly unique why not swim with these mammals in their natural habitat.
Dolphin Swim Australia has the first — and only — permit of its kind issued in NSW, which sees the tables turned on the usual dolphin-human encounter. Here, rather than humans choosing to swim with the playful mammals it’s the other way around.
WALK THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
True bucket-list material, China’s Great Wall remains one of mankind’s engineering marvels.
At over 21,000-kilometres in length, there’s plenty of wall to walk, but wherever you go try and avoid the tourist saturated sections and opt for a quiet hike instead. The Gubeikou to Jinshanling route follows stretches of restored and unrestored wall, alongside pretty farmland and villages.
TAKE A FAMILY-FRIENDLY CRUISE
If you’re a cruise hound with kids, then making sure the little ones are sufficiently entertained will make your own holiday considerably more enjoyable (no parent wants to hear the persistent cry of, “I’m bored,” when in the middle of the ocean).
Carnival Cruise Lines have three supervised programs for children aged two-11 and 12-17, featuring hundreds of activities alongside live entertainment and the Green Thunder slide, which is billed as the steepest and fastest waterslide at sea.
TAKE THE KIDS TO DISNEYLAND
The tag line “where dreams come true” is pretty appropriate. For kids the world over, a trip to Disneyland is at the pinnacle of travel experiences. Head to Walt Disney’s original theme park in California where you can hang with Mickey, Goofy and the rest of the gang — your kids (and your inner child) will thank you for it.
SEE A MUSICAL ON BROADWAY
Bright lights, big city — taking in a Broadway musical is one of the Big Apple’s signature attractions.
From stalwarts such as “The Lion King”, “Wicked” and “The Book of Mormon”, through to lesser known off-Broadway productions, there’s easily a production that’ll take your fancy for every night of the week. But with 13 million people flocking to the theatre capital last year, make sure to book tickets in advance.