Trip ideas for 13 of life's milestones

You don't need an important reason to take that big trip - but there's a special place in your memories for those trips taken during an important milestone of your time on this planet.

Life, however, is pretty unpredictable, but certain milestones are universal - some happier than others - and you can plan some epic trips well in advance to make them extra-special.

Just never forget to leave those you hold dear too far behind on your travels.

READ: The rise of multi-generational holidays: Where to take your parents for a trip

Your baby's first big holiday

They may not remember much about the actual trip, but the bonding with their parents while discovering how wonderfully weird the world is will be something that sticks with them as they grow up.

Trip idea: You ever see a baby react to an animal? It's just too adorable, and it keeps the parents entertained as well. Take the young one on a bush escape to one of South Africa's many national parks - you don't have to carry all the baby paraphernalia with you on the self-drive expeditions, the baby can sleep whenever they want in the car and you don't have to apologise to anyone when they get a little too fussy.

READ: SANParks announces 2019 dates for Free Access Week - and it includes weekend access

The freedom of a driver's license

They finally managed to pass on the third try and while it means they can legally drive up to their friend's family's beach house in Balito, it might be a good idea to show them the ropes of long-distance driving first.

Trip idea: Go on a not-too-long road trip to celebrate their newfound freedom, like a trip up the West Coast, down the KwaZulu-Natal Coast or on Mpumalanga's Panorama Route - they'll also quickly learn how much petrol costs!

READ: 12 Of our favourite road trips to add to your 2019 sho't left list

Celebrating a 21st birthday

This birthday signals a step into adulthood and instead of spending money on a boozy party, rather go on a holiday either with friends or family to signify your independence.

Trip idea: Plan a trip into one of South Africa's cities - or if you've got the cash an international city - where you can start nurturing your foodie palate and take in some culture at museums and galleries. And there's normally no end to bars give you a proper 21st party!

CITY GUIDE: Theatre and bikes in Bratislava

First trip without your parents

Normally you just rock up to holidays - your parents will already have sorted out all the details - but on your first trip without them you might just feel a pang of anxiety about missing flights and losing your passport. 

Trip idea: To make your money stretch further and hang out with people your age, a backpacking trip in Asia is a must. You can opt to follow the crowds to Thailand, try the food in Vietnam or live that island life in Indonesia.

CHECK OUT: #MillennialTravel: 35 things to do in Asia before turning 35

Before your sibling gets married

You may not be entirely sure how your sibling suddenly became mature enough to take the plunge, but if you manage not to destroy each other it's a great idea to bond on a trip before they join a new family. 

Trip idea: While it may depend on your interests, an adventure holiday is a great way to vent any pent-up frustration through adrenaline activities and keep the peace while sharing accommodation. You could road trip SA's adventure province - the Eastern Cape - or spend a weekend on the Orange River in the Northern Cape.

MAPPED: The ultimate adrenaline-soaked itinerary for South African thrill seekers

Mend a broken heart somewhere new

Life's milestones aren't always pretty - a broken heart can leave you feeling like the world has just ended. But just Eat Pray Love your way out of the slump and leave a trail of Instagram stories that will show your ex what they're missing.

Trip idea: If you're looking for a place that will keep you too busy to dwell on the past, book a ticket to Spain. Gorgeous men and women, beautiful architecture and enigmatic cities and beaches will have you thinking Jamie who?

WATCH: Sun, sea land and people - the best of a road trip in Andalusia, Spain

Going abroad when there are no more kids in the house

While you may initially enjoy the golden silence that now envelopes your house, the empty-nest-syndrome can creep up on you pretty quickly. But now's the time for you and your co-parent to see the world without having to listen to the whine of a bored teenager.

Trip idea: Without the extra costs for kids, why not go on a cruise? With every need catered to, it's a well-deserved break from all the parenting where someone else takes care of you for a change. You can do a local cruise with MSC to Mozambique or Namibia, or if you have some cash saved up do a fly-cruise to a Mediterranean holiday in Europe.

WATCH: Cruising from Durban to Pomene - and the craziness in-between

Honour a 20/30 year friendship

Family is important, but friends are the ones always there to listen to you complain about your family - and when they've been by your side for decades that is something that should be celebrated with a friend breakaway.

Trip idea: At this point in your friendship you'd be able to have a good time just about anywhere in the world, but for a good laugh and deep bonding go on an experience trip where together you can learn to make Italian pasta, how to blend wine, create art with interesting materials or get your diving certification together.

READ: #FindYourEscape: Run away from the city to Rawsonville

Romance for a special wedding anniversary

That second (or third?) honeymoon can be as special as the first, and when you're celebrating your 25 or 30 years together, a little romance on a trip can help spice things up.

Trip idea: Locally, South Africa has a plethora of romantic destinations, like the Garden Route's amorous beach and forest combo or a luxury bush escape in Limpopo. But if you want to save up for an overseas experience, some of the top romantic destinations include Zanzibar, Croatia or the ultimate romance capital - Paris in France.

READ: 48-hours away: Small town breaks that promise lots of romance

A reunion with your university friends

You haven't seen each other since the beer kegs and the lumo parties, but there's nothing like reliving the good ol' days with the people that have probably seen you at your worst in life.

Trip idea: You could hit up one of the university towns and cities like Stellenbosch, Potchefstroom, Cape Town or Johannesburg, or be slightly more adult with a wine trip to Robertson, Tulbagh, Agulhas or Cape Winelands (in this case Stellenbosch ticks all the boxes).

WATCH: A weekend in postcard-pretty Stellenbosch

Meeting up with an expat friend

Sometimes your friends have spread out a bit further afield beyond the borders, and while technology has kept you in touch, few things can replace a real-life hangout session.

Trip idea: When you're in different countries, the best is to see what's the easiest middle point for you both to meet up, like an airport hub with direct flights like Dubai, Istanbul, Addis Ababa or London.

SEE: Choosing the perfect travel partner(s) - why your best friend might not be the ideal candidate

Doing something epic for your 50th

Another massive birthday milestone, your 50th can be a chance to prove you're still young at heart - or a way to embrace the relaxed lifestyle awaiting you in your more mature years. 

Trip idea: One South African climbed Kilimanjaro for his 50th - but if that seems a little too extreme for you, there are a lot of bucket-list trips to try out - trekking to Machu Picchu, seeing the Taj Mahal, taking a camel ride to the Pyramids of Giza, finding the Northern Lights in Norway - or do a massive road trip from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean in your home country.

READ: Live differently: Your alternative bucket list for 2019

Taking a trip to remember a loved one

Death is as much a part of life as life itself, but we will always have the memories that we shared with those we've lost to keep us going. 

Trip idea: When you want to feel closer to someone or make a tribute to their life, the best trip idea is to visit either one of their favourite holiday spots, or travel to their dream destination they never had a chance to visit in life - but by carrying them in your heart you will achieve their dream for them.

DISCOVER: DNA Tourism: When your genes lead you to your next travel destination

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