10 things you notice when you travel in your 30s

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What a difference a decade makes. Especially when you’re traveling. Strap on your backpack in your 30s, and you’ve got a whole different list of priorities to those you had in your 20s. Your approach to accommodations, food, shopping, scheduling and even packing changes.

Saying that, the one thing that’ll remain consistent is your booking style. Finding a cheap flight is always a priority, regardless of age. So head on to Cheapflights.com, find that bargain deal and then see if you can relate to these things you notice when you travel in your 30s…

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Air con becomes more of a dealbreaker

When you travel in your 20s you’ll happily sleep in a sauna if it means saving a few pounds on the cost of accommodation. In your 30s you’ll fork out a little extra for a place that has an air conditioner (central air preferable). Along with pencil-thin brows and frosted tips, you learned a long time ago that the Wicked Witch of the West ‘I’m melting, I’m melting’ look is not a good one on you.

Menu choices get a bit more exciting

Your budget tends to be a bit beefier when you travel in your 30s, so your evening meals are no longer limited to PB&J sandwiches, cooked up in the hostel kitchen, or the other half of that $5 foot-long from Subway you had for lunch. Now you can peruse Yelp for ideas on where to eat dinner, and it’s the content rather than the costs on the menu that will ultimately inform your restaurant choices, at least some of the time.

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The sunrise is best seen after a good night’s sleep

In your 20s, sunrises were usually only enjoyed on the way home after a night out. In your 30s, while a memorable night that ends with a sunrise isn’t off the table, it’s left for spontaneous special occasions. Let’s face it, in your 30s, you’re more likely to set an alarm and get up before dawn so you can go out on that sunrise hike, catch that early morning yoga session on the beach, or take that 6 a.m. kayak to see the jungle animals at their most active. That said, sleeping in and heading to brunch is also fair game at any age.

Private rooms are a must

Hit your 30s and the days of sharing a room with 15 strangers are pretty much over. You refuse to sleep like “The Waltons,” especially when the majority of people in dorms are too young to know who the Waltons are in the first place. You’re all about comfortable hotel rooms and nice amenities (or at least hostels that offer a little bit of extra space and en suite bathrooms).


Your souvenirs weigh you down a bit more

Having a bigger budget in your 30s means you’ve got the means to buy more than just a magnet at the local handicraft market. That 3-foot-wide canvas painting of a Cuban Cadillac would look great in your living room, wouldn’t it? Who doesn’t need a didgeridoo? No, they won’t fit in your backpack, but they can be shipped home right? Alternatively, you can just buy another bag.

Your backpack is actually practical

You hate to admit it now, but when you went backpacking in your 20s your bag was full of impractical items like high heels and hair straighteners. Today, you’ve learned to pack like a pro. You have a first aid kit to rival the Red Cross, plus enough wet wipes and anti-bac hand gel to see you through to your 40s.


You’ll learn to think outside the guidebook

In your 20s you got FOMO, so you always felt like you HAD to visit every single attraction mentioned in the guidebook. In your 30s you’re more relaxed about things. You know what you like and you know what you don’t. You’d rather explore a city by foot, stopping for a glass of wine or to grab a beer when you see a local spot that looks inviting, meander through museums at your own pace and, let’s be honest, a mid-day nap never hurt anyone (especially when you want to be on your game to check out the local nightlife later).

Adventure travel will get a bit more lux

Travel in your 30s and you’ve got the budget to add a touch of lux to the activities you do when you’re on the go. Why walk around the Grand Canyon if you can take a helicopter ride over it? Why hire a pedalo when you can rent a jet ski? Sometimes you want to walk, but other times, you don’t mind shelling out a bit extra to get the full once-in-a-lifetime experience.


Early nights will be your friend

You learned the hard way that tequila doesn’t make you happy. At least not long term. We’re not saying you need to pack your housecoat and slippers when you go traveling in your 30s, but you do discover that you don’t have to take advantage of those BOGO shots at the hostel bar every night (keywords being ‘have to’ — let’s be honest, sometimes BOGO shots are just economical).

You don’t have that 20s obsession with selfies

When you traveled in your 20s, selfie sticks were called arms and if yours weren’t long enough you asked someone else to take the picture. Now you can’t go anywhere in the world without spotting a next-generation backpacker wielding their selfie stick like a lightsaber. As soon as they see a special sight they turn their back on it and take a picture of their face in front of it — at least 20 times. Of course, you still take the odd selfie in your 30s, but after 1 or 2 you’re quick to tuck the camera away and take time to look at landmarks and amazing sights with your own eyes, rather than your phone screen.

What did we miss? Share any we missed in the comments, and, when you’re ready for another getaway, search for flights, hotels and rental cars on Cheapflights.com.

10 things you notice when you travel in your 30s was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Sarah Holt
Author: Sarah Holt (2 posts)

Sarah has been a travel writer for the best part of a decade. Her travels have taken her from the peaks of the Swiss Alps to the depths of the Bolivian silver mines. She’s also a published author. She recently left the 9-5 to do life her own way. Follow along her adventures on her blog Backpacks and Yoga Mats.