How Traveling in Your 30s Different from Traveling in Your 20s


As I cannot travel much these days, I often recall my odysseys over the past 15 years. Then I realized that the difference between traveling in your 20s and in your 30s is apparent and pretty interesting.

The experience of traveling did not change suddenly as soon as I turned 30. It was a slow, gradual process. It was only in hindsight that I realized my physical health, energy, and travel style had changed significantly. Other travelers have gone through similar changes. Therefore, I believe it would be interesting to reveal how our travelling habits has changed over the past decade.

Partying and drinking overnight is ancient history

Most of us can remember the intoxicated nights and feel the lingering hangover effects when waking up late the following day. Such experiences were part of my travel life in my 20s, filled with nights of new friendships, bar-hopping, and partying until the wee hours.

As we grow older, I no longer find it necessary to stay late and spend a large part of my paycheck on the booze. I no longer want to swap a week of my vacation budget for one night of drinking.  In contrast, there is no better feeling than going to bed early and waking up sober. It allows me to create more memories for my trip and to stay observant.

traveling in your 30s

In my mid-30s, partying until wee hours is no longer a priority.

There are alternatives to hostel life

When I was in my 20s, I always looked for the most affordable hostel I could find. I was excited to walk into a shared room, knowing I was bound to make new friends.

While most of my hostel experiences were excellent, staying in a shared room with others mean a lack of privacy and not having my own space, and it did not always meet my expectations. In Ireland, I once walked into my room and saw dirty clothes all over the floor under my bunk bed, so I climbed up to the top bunk in silence and pretended that everything was fine.

In my 30s, my ability to put up with messy hostel rooms and disruptive sleep is vastly reduced. My choice of accommodation is more flexible. Instead of focusing solely on hostels, I now search for hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and short-term apartment rentals. These private accommodations offer me my own private space and fantastic customer service.

travel in my 20s

This is the place I always excited to stay in my 20s, but the thrill waned in my 30s

A packed full-day itinerary completely wears you out

In my 20s, my friend and I  went on a ten-day trip to England to sightseeing at different cities every day. We would wake up in the early morning to get breakfast, check out the city’s interesting sites, and take the train at dinner time to get to the next destination. We had a tight schedule, so we felt the pressure to check off everything we wanted to see. In hindsight, we moved way too quickly to have ample time to explore each place deeply.

These days, I would rather spend a few days in one place instead of switching cities and areas frequently. Each day, I will make sure I get enough sleep and only do one activity. Then walk around and chill out. I spend most evenings relaxing. It may seem sad, but this fits my current travel style.

Traveling in Your 30s

I made it to Edinburgh, Scotland after spent a week in the UK. I was exhausted after constant movement.

Technology has changed how we travel

In my 20s, when I was confused with directions, I asked the locals for information. They went out of their way to make sure I could find my way. When I was in Alaska in 2008, a couple took me to McDonald’s and drew a map for me for a road trip from Anchorage to Valdez in case I got lost.

Nowadays, Wi-Fi is everywhere, and it is easy to get a data plan in a foreign country, so it is less likely that I will get lost. I also find it sad that the human touch of communication is lost as we constantly rely on our phones instead of asking people for directions.

Traveling in Your 30s

Everywhere you go, you will see individuals on their phones

You have a different concept of time and money

In your 20s, you would not mind spending days on land transportation to get somewhere even if it would only take two hours by plane. You would not mind spending your night at the train station and sleeping at the airport to save a night of accommodation costs.

In your 30s, you would rather hop on a flight because you want to make the most out of your trip. You would prefer to spend a night in the hotel instead of at a train station and the airport. After all, you have to spend the next day in a new place, and you need to rest well to travel better.

Overall differences

While we all have been through these stages in travelling lives and have seen these changes, I realize that traveling actually becomes more accessible and comfortable in your 30s. I am also more experienced and can navigate to new places better. However, I find I no longer possess the same energy that I used to during my 20s. Travelling in your 20s involves lots of fresh experiences and excitement, and I certainly remember the classic Bakermat song and many fun party nights in a hostel in Cancun.

Have you noticed any differences between traveling in Your 30s and traveling in Your 20s? Comment below.

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Traveling in Your 30s vs. Traveling in Your 20s

Julie Cao

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and now resides in London (Ontario, Canada). In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people, and the place.

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