Do you find yourself wincing at the thought of staying in a hostel? Eyeing red-eye flights with dread? You, my friend, have hit your traveling thirties.
Thirties: I would rather bathe my eyes in lemon juice than cope with a stopover. Therefore, I’ll semi-reluctantly hand over extra for a direct flight that doesn’t leave at the crack of dawn from an airport 100 miles away from home. (…ah go on then, I’ll upgrade to an exit row seat while I’m at it.)Search for flights to Bangkok
Twenties: I’m totally capable of making like a snail and Tetris-ing a year’s worth of stuff into a rucksack. I’ll just sacrifice my toiletries and wear my pants inside-out every other week. Easy.
Thirties: It’s a spinner wheel suitcase or bust, baby. And I’m way past caring about looking trendy – give me a neon monstrosity that I can spot on the baggage carousel from fifty feet away.
Twenties: Dolby surround sound snoring. The phantom itch of bedbugs. Showering in flip flops. Sleeping with a phone under the pillow. But who cares? This sucker’s $10 a night!
Thirties: Quirky hotels and Airbnb – the thirty-something traveler’s dream. I’ll have a room in a glass tree house shaped like a melting icicle, please.
Twenties: The Contiki bus is coming! And everybody’s jumping! Until the third day, anyway, when the hangovers, colds and lack of sleep combine to form a truly unique aura of despair. What country am I in? Is it Slovenia or Croatia?
Thirties: It’s all about the cultural tours, my friend. I want to dance my way around the flamenco clubs in Spain. And tour the best food trucks in Berlin. And sail up the Ganges in a traditional riverboat. And then I want eight hours’ sleep before getting up to sample the sunrise in Istanbul.
Twenties: All of my friends are with me, so I’m going to obsessively tag our pictures on Facebook so that everyone left behind is painfully aware of how much fun we’re having. It’ll be a veritable selfie-splosion.
Thirties: As long as I Instagram a #hotdogorlegs shot, I’m happy. Alternatively, a dreamy shot of me and my plaid shirt receding into the sunset, walking the surf on beaches of Hawaii or perched on a mountaintop in Switzerland will do nicely.
Twenties: I’m packed into a Greyhound alongside the Marlboro Man, a woman with DIE NOW tattooed across her knuckles, a couple of Amish families straight out of the nineteenth century and someone who may or may not have expired between Jacksonville and Tallahassee – and I’m loving it. Jack Kerouac, eat your heart out.
Thirties: Give me a car, a Springsteen album and the open road. And if the vehicle of choice happens to be a campervan? All the better. I’m going to make random overnight stops at the bottom of waterfalls and in abandoned ghost towns just because I can.
Twenties: Thursday: ice-breaker games by the pool. Friday: full moon party. Saturday: treasure hunt at the hostel. Sunday: Bloody Mary brunch. Monday…
Thirties: Happiness is: a bottle of the second-cheapest Pinot gris, a balcony with a view and me tucked up in bed before midnight.
Twenties: This carry-on-only queen is all about the post-security duty free. Coconut M&Ms for the office, an improbably large Toblerone for the family and a bottle of faux Irish cream for the mothership. Done.
Thirties: Thank you all that is holy that I left extra room in the suitcase for that large yet reasonably priced box of local liqueurs for my mom. And a hand-woven basket for my grandma. And a framed vintage travel poster for me.
Returning to work
Twenties: Landing at 7 a.m. and breezing straight into the office is totally doable.
Thirties: I need to take a week off to recover from my week off.