Your 40s are a great time of your life to travel, but they’re an even better time to travel with Backroads. We take care of the logistics so that in your busy life, you can be sure that every precious day you spend on vacation will count to the fullest. Besides, group travel is a built-in way to meet new friends. You may have outgrown those hostel dorms long ago, but you’ll never outgrow the need to share experiences with a group of peers. Ready to give us a try, but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re just looking for inspiration for your next trip of a lifetime? Here are ten of our favorite destinations – each one a perfect fit for travelers in their 40s.
1. Alaska's Kenai Multi-Adventure Tour
Picture yourself: Arriving at the top of a steep hike up green heath-covered slopes only to suddenly behold the Harding Icefield, a plain of glacial ice stretching 700 square miles from one mountain range to the next.
Why Backroads: Alaska is big. Very, very big. You could do it solo, but why not let us connect the dots between highlights, from a sea-level ski town near Anchorage to the 6,000-foot mountains of the Kenai Peninsula? Besides, we know the best places to cycle, hike and kayak along the way. If you were to plan this trip yourself, you’d have thousands and thousands of miles of beautiful backcountry to choose from. With us, it’s just miles and miles to enjoy.
Why now: Even if you’re a consummate traveler, the Last Frontier is so far from the rest of the United States that you might not have knocked it off your bucket list in your thirties. And that’s okay. But we’re giving you a reminder poke to make sure you get here while in your most active years. Alaska’s views make jaws drop at any age, but the demanding trails of this big landscape bring big rewards.
2. Croatia Multi-Adventure Tour
Picture yourself: Taking to the streets of Hvar, the “Ibiza of the East,” clad in a wide-brimmed hat and potentially something made out of linen like you just walked out of a Wes Anderson movie.
Why Backroads: We’ve been in on the secret of Croatia since tourism was scarcely a glint in the post-war nation’s eye. As such, our laundry list of Croatian secrets is endless. Island-hopping on a 100-plus-year-old boat, dining in a country garden and biking through vertical fields of lavender are just the beginning.
Why now: Croatia has a vibrant young energy. And social life here doesn’t end when you graduate college. There’s room for people at all stages of adulthood at the beach, where locals high-dive from the sea cliffs, or at the kitchen table, where homemade lemon grappa is passed around after a spectacular meal. If you feel young, Croatia’s infectious energy will suck you in and prove you right.
3. Argentina's Patagonia Walking & Hiking Tour
Picture yourself: Watching the evening fall from the porch of our frontier lodgings at Estancia Cristina (a guest favorite), where it’ll soon be lights out (as in, the electricity will be turned off for the night!). After the boat ride past the groaning glaciers of Lake Argentino that brought us here, you watch the sun alight on ice-rimmed mountaintops and suddenly feel tiny compared to the vastness of nature.
Why Backroads: Patagonia demands a high level of logistics and guide support with its massive distances and remote trails. It also offers up a world-class collection of not-so-rustic comforts, such as Argentina’s truly gourmet food and wine. We’re experts at weaving together both.
Why now: The dynamism of Patagonia’s favorite activities – horseback riding with gauchos, sharing a steaming gourd full of yerba maté, uncorking a stellar local red around the roaring fire – make this the perfect trip on which to enjoy the company of traveling companions… or soon-to-be new friends.
4. Iceland's Glaciers & Coast Multi-Adventure Tour
Picture yourself: Soaking in geothermal waters at our hotel’s outdoor hot pool after a bracing day in the elements, breathing in steam while you watch evening clouds gather over the moody Icelandic moors.
Why Backroads: In Iceland’s saturated tourism market, we go beneath the volcanic crust. Some of our signature Backroads activities are playful cultural experiences – how about riding a vintage sheep cart across the black-sand marshes? Others take us to wild locations way off the beaten path, such as the isolated islet of Heimaey.
Why now: We know your 40s are busy, which is why it’ll be a pleasant surprise how easy it is to fly to Iceland from the United States. Besides, Iceland is trending. With recent blockbusters shot here such as the Game of Thrones series and several Marvel movies, there’s an excitement to getting up close with landscapes that, though otherworldly, may also seem strangely familiar.
5. Peru Walking & Hiking Tour
Picture yourself: Hiking a jungle trail through the pass of the Sun Gate and suddenly beholding the citadel of Machu Picchu surrounded by clouds and precipices far below you.
Why Backroads: Our connections in Peru are unparalleled. Be invited into a remote Inca weaving village, sit down for lunch at the home of farm-to-table pioneers and take every step accompanied by our local guide – a legal requirement to visit certain sites such as the Inca Trail, but in our case, after many years working together, just another part of the Backroads family. Bonus? It’s one less thing you’d need to try to organize on your own.
Why now: Peru is a blast of zany culture shock. You’ll be approached by friendly but insistent vendors. You will have to haggle. And from Cusco’s bohemian bars to Sacred Valley microbreweries, there’s a hopping backpacker scene. At this age, your social battery is still fully charged... or at least fully rechargeable!
6. Tuscany by the Sea Bike Tour
Picture yourself: Sitting beneath striped awnings on a Mediterranean village promenade, in your hand a crisp glass of white wine vinted in vineyards through which you pedaled earlier today, your cycling muscles embraced by a warm salty breeze. Ahh, il dolce far niente – the sweetness of doing nothing.
Why Backroads: With a 45-year history leading trips in the area and a wealth of Italian employees, we’re Tuscany experts. This is one of the world’s most iconic cycling destinations, and we can show you why. Plus, we’re one of the few outfitters to pair Tuscany’s greatest hits with the unspoiled coast of the Maremma region.
Why now: If you’ve got the travel bug, you may have visited Italy in your 20s or 30s, snapping pics by the Trevi Fountain and hitting a beach day on the Venetian Lido. We invite you to dive deeper. Your youthful backpacking years were for knocking Italy off your bucket list; these years are for savoring the flavor notes of its rural heart.
7. Costa Rica Highlands to Coast Multi-Adventure Tour
Picture yourself: Sitting on the edge of a loaded river raft, paddle in hand, howling with adrenaline and laughter as you and a boatful of new friends zoom down a chute of white water only to land with a satisfying splash!
Why Backroads: Costa Rica is an embarrassment of natural riches. We can help you choose how to spend the ideal six days. Hint: the docket includes hot springs, coffee plantations, tortilla- and mojito-making classes and, of course, beach time.
Why now: Because you deserve a vacation that engrosses you completely. One that lights you up with a thrill a minute, but leaves you feeling completely recharged. You’d be surprised just how relaxing a day of adventures can be when they take place in the silky air of the tropics and end on the teakwood deck of a languid eco-resort.
8. Portugal's Algarve & Alentejo Bike Tour
Picture yourself: In the saddle of a bike, surrounded by dusky-green olive and cork trees. The road slips between the dazzling white-and-blue houses of a tiny village; at the dusty crossroads you hop off your bike and duck into the bead-curtained door of a café for a quick cimbalinho (espresso).
Why Backroads: We’ll be your guide to Portugal’s up-and-coming luxury scene, from gourmet restaurant projects to sumptuous resorts retrofitted into ancient buildings. We also offer an ideal Portuguese combo: explore the backwaters of the uber-authentic Alentejo wine region, then hit the discovered (but absolutely worthwhile!) beach paradise of the Algarve.
Why now: This small and quirky Atlantic nation, practically its own sub-region of Europe, is having a moment. Artsy and gourmet small businesses are thriving and the proud Portuguese are charmingly unflappable amid all the attention.
9. New Zealand South Island Walking & Hiking Tour
Picture yourself: Stepping onto the creaking wood of a swinging bridge across the foaming white gorge of the Matukituki River. On either side, the steep slope is a shaggy canopy of southern beech trees strung with moss and pulsing with green shadows. Up ahead, the stony shoulders of the Southern Alps loom.
Why Backroads: We’ve created a balanced confection that makes the most of this hiker’s paradise, which you likely flew a long way to reach. Connect the towns of Wanaka and Queenstown, the Franz Josef and Rob Roy Glaciers, rain forest, beaches, wine country and an optional excursion to Milford Sound.
Why now: You were probably still a teen or in college when the Lord of the Rings movies came out. If those flabbergasting landscapes are still indelibly stamped in your mind, we promise you: the reality is even better. What’s Backroadses, my precious?
10. California Wine Country Bike Tour
Picture yourself: Biking on Sonoma County’s Bohemian Highway in the mossy shade of towering redwood trees, when suddenly the forest opens up to a bright patchwork of vineyards. The Backroads leaders signal you to turn off the road through old oak gates, where an ivy-covered building waits on a hill. Tasting, anyone?
Why Backroads: We’re based in Berkeley, so this is our backyard. There are many ways to see this world-famous region; we’re here to show you why cycling is the best one. Along the way we’ll give you a taste of the mighty rivers, oak woodlands, sea cliffs, blossoming orchards and yes, redwoods – which have us convinced that the West Coast is the best coast.
Why now: Your 40s are a time to go from appreciating wine to developing a taste for it. Going to the mecca of the craft is a fascinating master class. And if you haven’t done Napa and Sonoma yet, you’ll soon see that it’s a cliché for a reason. Even with all the money and hype, the friendly rural undertones of this region make a visit here just a whole lot of fun.