Lady and the 90 under 30 Travel Project

There is something spectacular about achieving a goal. The sense of accomplishment that comes with meeting a long-sought target is one of life’s great endorphin rushes. Since I started this travel blog, I have set several travel goals for myself, and today I have a new one: the 90 under 30 Travel Project.

The 90 under 30 Travel Project is my goal to visit 90 countries in my lifetime before my 30th birthday.

I am currently at 72 countries. I have eight months to visit 18 more.

Clock tower in Belfast Ireland

I will travel from London to seven new counties in September on my upcoming trip to the Balkans. I will pick off two more in October and November with trips to Liechtenstein and Andorra. That leaves nine more to plan and book before April, when I will wave good-bye to my 20′s and celebrate the dawn of a new decade of travel adventures.

Temple in Yangon Myanmar

My current plan is to visit Brazil in October, Laos and Cambodia in January, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras in February, Israel in early April, and Lebanon over the week of my 30th birthday.

IM Pei building in Hong Kong

I am open to suggestions and itinerary changes, so if you have recommendations for unmissable countries, please let me know!

Koutoubia in Marrakech Morocco

Over the next eight months I will offer regular updates on the 90 under 30 Travel Project. I hope to achieve the goal, I invite you to follow the journey and share in the adventures!

61 Comments on Lady and the 90 under 30 Travel Project

  1. Andrew
    August 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm (3 years ago)

    Be very, very careful about traveling to Israel with stamps in your passport from Syria, UAE, and other “hostile” countries. Likewise, be extremely careful about traveling to Lebanon with a stamp from Israel.

    From personal experience – huge, huge nightmares. Nothing I would ever wish upon anyone.

    Good luck!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the tip, Andrew! I have heard similar things from other travelers!

      Reply
  2. Krista
    August 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm (3 years ago)

    It’s great to finally see a 29 year old female not in any kind of denial over turning the big THREE-0! Bravo for both admitting and embracing it!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Krista!

      Reply
  3. Bruce @ Lonely Planet
    August 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm (3 years ago)

    Ethiopia. A very ancient and Biblical land. Home of the world’s second-most spoken Semitic language, Amharic. Only African country never to have been colonized and as a result has a cuisine that is unique without influences from any other culture. Truly stunning scenery. BMI flies direct from Heathrow to Addis Ababa.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Bruce! Ethiopia has been on my list of places to go for quite a long time.

      Reply
  4. tristan
    August 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm (3 years ago)

    Good Luck with the Goal, look forward to reading about it.

    Tristan

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Tristan! I’m excited about all of the upcoming travels!

      Reply
  5. Emily in Chile
    August 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm (3 years ago)

    Sounds like a great adventure! I’m looking forward to reading all about it.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 10:04 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Emily!

      Reply
  6. Dean
    August 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm (3 years ago)

    You might want to consider putting off traveling to Israel for the foreseeable future. It has always been a very volatile part if the world, but the situation may be getting far more serious come September.
    I also echo the above sentiments regarding passport stamps. An Israeli stamp will not only get you possibly denied entry (and sometimes a trip to the police station) and a permanent ban to the Arab League countries, but also to many other countries in Asia such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 10:09 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Dean – Thanks for the feedback. I have lots of friends that have done the Israel trip without getting a passport stamp (apparently Israel will stamp a piece of paper if you ask them to). I will monitor the regional security situation before traveling.

      I have already been to Indonesia and Malaysia, but those are both good suggestions, thanks!

      I also looked into your previous suggestion about getting UK citizenship. It appears that my mother can get citizenship by descent, but that doesn’t necessarily allow her to pass it on to me. If you know of a way around that, I would be thankful for any advice!

      Reply
  7. Anne Taite
    August 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm (3 years ago)

    You must have some mean packing skills!
    I haven’t been, but have Romania on my short list.
    Be safe and bon voyage!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 10:10 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Anne! I spent parts of two summers in Romania when I was in high school, and loved it! If you get a chance to go, don’t miss Lacul Rosu and Sovata!

      Reply
  8. TravelNomad
    August 22, 2011 at 6:53 pm (3 years ago)

    Northern Ireland is a country. You can fly to Belfast in the morning and return in the evening.
    San Marino is another easy and quick trip.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 10:16 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks TravelNomad. I have been to Northern Ireland before, but since it’s part of the UK and not a sovereign state, I’m not including it in my count. I haven’t been to San Marino, though. Thanks for the suggestion! That also made me realize that I have been to Vatican City a couple of times, so I’m actually at 73 countries already :).

      Reply
  9. Andrea
    August 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm (3 years ago)

    This is awesome! I am at 64 countries (and 5 years older than you!) but would love to hit 90 countries. Definitely visit Luang Prabang in Laos, it is an amazing place!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 10:17 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Andrea! I was just reading about Luang Prabang the other day, and it sounds amazing. I can’t wait to visit!

      Reply
  10. Oneika the Traveller
    August 22, 2011 at 11:38 pm (3 years ago)

    WOW! 90! I am in awe of you, Lady.. :-) I’m just hoping to make it to 50 before 30, and, being a 1982 baby like you, I’d love to make it happen before my 30th birthday next August. Great goal!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 10:18 am (3 years ago)

      That would be great to do 50 by next August, Oneika! I’m sure you’ll be able to pick off a lot of places in Europe when you get to London!

      Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 10:18 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the encouragement, Andi!

      Reply
  11. bluepop
    August 23, 2011 at 3:38 am (3 years ago)

    90 under 30…I love the way it sounds! That’s a very creative way of stating a goal and great goal, by the way! I am sure you’ll be bringing in wonderful, insightful travel memories which would be quite useful for the 30s…Go go go!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 10:19 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks bluepop! I’m looking forward to seeing some new places around the world!

      Reply
  12. Karen
    August 23, 2011 at 10:29 am (3 years ago)

    Israel will no longer stamp a separate piece of paper, even if you ask. They have become very strict about stamping your passport and the border agents get very angry if you you suggest they do not.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 11:04 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Karen. I had heard about the paper stamping a year or so ago, so thanks for letting me know that things have changed.

      Reply
  13. Dean
    August 23, 2011 at 10:57 am (3 years ago)

    Hello. Citizenship through a British mother is not automatic, but it can be done. First, your mother has to become a British citizen by showing evidence she had a British mother. Once she receives the necessary certificate from the British Embassy, you can then apply as the child of a British mother.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 11:08 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the information, Dean. I was looking the other day at link you just sent, and I read the guidance. It seemed to suggest that my mother would have had to be a UK citizen at the time of my birth for me to be eligible, but I hope I’m wrong about that!

      Reply
  14. Dean
    August 23, 2011 at 11:33 am (3 years ago)

    The law is that you would have been eligible at the time of birth. Hence, when your mother was born to a British mother, she would have been eligible to be a British citizen at the time of birth (regardless of whether she had registered as a British citizen at the time). Since she would have been a British citizen through a British mother, that means you would have been eligible to also be a British citizen through a British mother at the time of your birth.
    This would not be an option for you if your mother were to become a British citizen through naturalisation; only through showing evidence of citizenship through a British mother.
    Regards.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 11:58 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the clarification, Dean. Would my mother still be eligible if her mother gave up her UK citizenship to become a US citizen before my mother was born? I know my grandmother became a US citizen at some point, but I’m not sure when.

      Reply
  15. Dean
    August 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm (3 years ago)

    Unless you grandmother renounced her British citizenship at a British consular office, she never lost her citizenship. Britain allows dual citizenship and acquiring another citizenship does not result in loss of British citizenship. The only way to lose British citizenship is to renounce it in person and obtain a certificate of renunciation.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm (3 years ago)

      Great, thanks for that information, Dean. I really appreciate all of your help!

      Reply
  16. Lily
    August 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow! What a great goal! I’d be happy to be at 45 by my 30th next March! Happy travels!

    We went to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel (in that order) last December and it was a nightmare crossing into Israel due to all our Arab stamps. Be prepared to wait…at best maybe 2.5-3hrs and at worst 6 hours like us! Do plan on going to Lebanon first, then to Israel (via Jordan or Egypt). We asked not to get our passport stamped but the agent was not so kind to my friend and gave her the middle finger with a big fat Israeli stamp. Jerusalem is amazing though…

    http://londoncosmopolitan.blogspot.com/2011/01/in-holy-land-jerusalem.html

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the info Lily. That’s too bad you had to wait so long. It always amazes me how arbitrarily the rules are enforced on things like that. When I went to Oman last year, they had a strict policy of not allowing anyone in that had been to Israel. The couple in front of me in line for visas told the visa agent that they had just come from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and the guy gave them a visa anyway without any questions!

      Reply
  17. Cailin
    August 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm (3 years ago)

    WoW you have been to 72 already!?!?
    When did you start traveling?
    good luck on getting your goal :)

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 24, 2011 at 7:51 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Cailin – I started traveling when I was 5, so it has taken quite awhile to get to 72! Thanks for wishing me luck!

      Reply
  18. Pam
    August 24, 2011 at 1:04 am (3 years ago)

    I LOVED Belize! One of my favorite trips anywhere in the world! You must go to Placencia for the beach (The Inn at Robert’s Grove is a perfect location), Punta Gorda for the jungle(Machaca Hill Lodge–stay in a bungalow and have howler monkeys beat on your roof in the morning–actually fun if not a little annoying)…and you HAVE to go to Guatemala to see Tikal. It’s the highest spot in the Mayan world they have found and it will seriously amaze you with what they built in the middle of a jungle!). Oh and don’t miss a cave tubing trip too.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 24, 2011 at 7:52 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the tips, Pam! I’m really looking forward to visiting!

      Reply
  19. Lauren K
    August 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm (3 years ago)

    Georgia (the country, not the American state!) is a cradle of civilization, the birthplace of wine, the people are very friendly, and there is nonstop service from London to Tbilisi.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 25, 2011 at 8:17 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the suggestion, Lauren! I have always been intrigued by Georgia. It is definitely a place I want to visit someday, although I’m not sure if the October – April period is the best weather-wise. Do you think it would be better for me to wait until summer?

      Reply
  20. Jacob
    August 25, 2011 at 9:26 am (3 years ago)

    Georgian is wonderful. It is unlike any other wine. If you have never had it, you should definitely try it out. Kind of a challenge to find it in London, but Vinopolis next to Borough Market carries some whites and reds.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 25, 2011 at 11:17 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Jacob. I had Georgian wine in St Petersburg a few years ago, but I haven’t had it in London yet!

      Reply
  21. Oscar Albertson
    August 25, 2011 at 11:38 am (3 years ago)

    Let me also chime in and say the Georgian people are very kind and hospitable. If you do go Georgia, do not limit yourself only to Tbilisi, but also make sure you visit the Caspian Sea. Beautiful. If you want to try out Georgian food, there is a Georgian restaurant called Mimino just off High Street Kensington. Sublime.
    Best of luck in your travels!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 25, 2011 at 11:49 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the tips, Oscar! I will have to try out the restaurant sometime soon to get my fix before planning a trip!

      Reply
  22. Natascha
    August 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm (3 years ago)

    I love this idea! Can’t wait to hear about the upcoming trips.

    Re British citizenship: Your mother could get citizenship as a British Citizen by Descent, but the only way a British Citizen by Descent can pass on their citizenship is if the children are born in the UK. You probably can get a British Ancestry Visa if you don’t have one, which creates an easier track to citizenship.

    Re Israeli stamps: I understand that the US government will actually now issue certain business travelers a second passport in recognition of the stamp issue. It is approved on a case-by-case basis, but one of the grounds is that you are travelling to politically sensitive countries. See link below:

    http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/passports/second.html

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 26, 2011 at 2:32 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Natascha! I have a friend that got a second US passport to travel to Israel, so I think that’s probably what I will do as well.

      Reply
  23. Cillian
    August 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm (3 years ago)

    Saying that “the only way a British Citizen by Descent can pass on their citizenship is if the children are born in the UK” is completely moot. If you’re born in the UK, you would be a British citizen regardless of your parent’s citizenship status!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 29, 2011 at 4:36 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the comment, Cillian. I think the rules around children born in the UK are a bit more complicated. I have many expat friends that have had children in the UK and their children do not have the right to become citizens just by virtue of being born here.

      Reply
  24. Chrissy
    November 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi – you’re an inspiration! How do you get so much time off for this travelling!?! Unfortunately I will never be able to complete 100 countries by the age of 30…maybe 50, so that’s something to work on! I really like your photos of Senegal – reminds me of my time there.

    Natasha is right about the UK citizenship – if your mother was born outside the UK, she is a British citizen by descent, meaning she cannot pass on the citizenship to children born outside the UK or territories. Unfortunately, you cannot apply for the ancestry visa unless you’re a citizen of a Commonwealth country…are you Canadian perchance? :) For Cillian’s comment: no EU/EEA country gives citizenship merely by birth in the country (unlike the US), unless you are born stateless. However, in some countries, children born to permanent residents are/can be citizens even if their parents aren’t. Hope this helps!

    I think the best option is to try to get a second US passport if you can.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      November 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Chrissy! I write my blog for a living, so have lots of time to travel! Your goal of 50 countries before 30 is still quite impressive, especially if you don’t travel for a living!

      I’m glad you liked the Senegal photos! Where in the country did you go?

      Thanks for the other advice, too!

      Reply
  25. Chrissy
    January 7, 2012 at 7:53 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi again Lady!! Sorry for the delay in writing back. In Senegal, I went to Dakar (twice) and St. Louis once…had a funny adventure there with my friend (we left Dakar in a bus at 6pm…rush hour, during Ramadan, no less! and got there at 2am! And left the very next day at 2pm!..but it was suhc an adventure all the same).

    I think 50 is certainly doable, yes :) I’ve already got five definites on my list! (error on my first post – should read 90 rather than 100)…happy new year!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      January 7, 2012 at 10:04 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Chrissy! Wow, that sounds like quite an adventure in Senegal! I’m glad you had a good time, though. Good luck with the five new countries!

      Reply
  26. pnoy
    March 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm (2 years ago)

    Go to the Philippines! There are so many islands that you can explore there. The beaches are…simply paradise! Try the islands of Palawan, Cebu and Boracay!

    Here’s to more happy travels!:)

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      March 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks for the suggestion, pnoy! I would love to go to the Philippines. I have heard really good things, and the photos I’ve seen of the beaches are beautiful!

      Reply
  27. ESC
    April 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm (2 years ago)

    Really recommand to add Myanmar on your list before it gets as touristic as Thailand.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      April 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks ESC! I actually went to Myanmar in 2006. I loved it, and I agree that it’s great that there are so few tourists there.

      Reply
  28. Isabelle
    January 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm (1 year ago)

    You should go to Iran. See Ispahan , Shiraz. The land of Omar khayam

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      January 19, 2013 at 7:57 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks for the tip, Isabelle! I would love to see Iran, but my only passport is an American one, so sadly it’s not possible at the moment. Maybe someday, though!

      Reply
  29. Isabelle
    January 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm (1 year ago)

    You can take a train from Istanbul to Teheran.

    Reply
  30. Omar
    October 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm (7 months ago)

    I see that Morocco is missing on your list, a great destination to see while staying in London. Easy access to exotic Marrakech or worldwide famous ‘Casablanca’ :)

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      October 8, 2013 at 7:16 am (7 months ago)

      Thanks Omar! I actually spent a week in Marrakech right before I started this blog. I loved it! I really need to go back again so I can write about it. Casablanca sounds great, too. I will have to add that to the list as well!

      Reply

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