Travel Blog

  1. Travel in your 20s vs. travel in your 30s

    posted by Andrew Tipp | 37 Comments


    20s Travel

    Andrew Tipp is a writer and editor working in digital publishing. He’s spent more than a year backpacking and volunteering around the world, and has previously worked as a content producer for a travel website. He writes on behalf of Original Volunteers, the UK’s leading independent volunteering organisation.

    When you’re a 22, it feels like you’ll be young forever. Sadly, you won’t. You’ll get old. It sucks. But being older doesn’t mean you have to give in to Sandals holidays; you can still be about the cool hostels, local buses, street food and the whole independent backpacker thing. But things will be different. Here’s how...

    1. Your travelling windows are way, way shorter

    In your 20s, work fits in around travelling. But in your 30s things change. You probably have a career. Commitments. All that boring stuff you said you’d never care about. And you’re probably restricted to a few weeks to travel each year. True story. But there’s no point getting down about it. You’ve just got to make it count.

    2. You finally figure out how to pack properly

    Most first-time twentysomething backpackers take tons of unnecessary stuff. You see them bulking out their bag with 18 kilos of towels, toiletries and t-shirts; emptying an entire aisle of Boots over their dorm bed.

    Good packing

    Over time, you learn how to pack smart. It probably helps that your mum isn’t around to insist you fit an entire A&E department in your First Aid Kit.

    3. Boutique hostels suddenly seem preferable to 18-bed dorms

    ‘Party’ hostels can feel like a great idea in your 20s. Sleeping’s for losers, right? Well, it turns out that when you’re older, sleep is actually pretty damn awesome. Hostels still rock at 30, but all-nighters have all but lost their appeal. Do we really need Avicii blasting out at 4am? Can’t we all just have a chilled beer and get an early night?!

    4. You can’t hit the backpacker bar scene as hard as you used to

    Exchange rates can be a wonderful thing. Especially when you’re a westerner bar-hopping in some exotic destination. But when you get older, hangovers get worse. Way worse.

    Retox Party Hostel Budapest

    Responsible drinking at Retox Party Hostel Budapest

    So remember: just because a pint is 20p it doesn’t mean you have to drink the bar dry. Because waking up feeling nauseous in a tropical climate is not fun. At all.

    5. You develop a surprisingly hardcore interest in museums

    And galleries. And Cathedrals. And basically any other place where really interesting old stuff is kept. Why? Maybe it’s because you’re getting older and more interesting.

    Or maybe there’s just a gene that kicks in at 30 that makes you appreciate this stuff - similar to the one that kicks in at 50 that makes you care about theatre and the National Trust.

    6. A full-on day completely wipes you out

    It might feel like your body will never wear out, but by 30 it’s already happening; the wheels haven’t fallen off yet, but the nuts and bolts are definitely coming loose. This means that an intense day of cramming in must-sees takes its toll. In your 20s you can do this stuff and then stay out all night.

    Relaxing as you travel

    In your 30s, you start thinking of days as either going-for-it-and-writing-off-the-evening days or chilling-out-and-saving-yourself-for-the-evening days. Which is kind of sad. But practical.

    7. You’re less tolerant of backpacking bores

    When you’re younger, you’re more open-minded when it comes to other travellers. You’ll probably talk to everyone. Make friends with anyone. But as you get older you can spot the annoying, bragging and competitive travel types from across the room.

    This skill will help you avoid literally hours of being bored by someone who wants you to vicariously experience their amazing journey.

    8. You feel more comfortable travelling solo

    Most travellers are pretty terrified about going it alone when they’re young. Travel buddies. Travel mates. Whatever you want to call them, you usually feel a lot happier planning a trip if a friend’s coming along for the ride.

    Solo travel

    But once you’ve been around the globe a few times over a decade you realise that no matter how introverted you are, you’ve got what it takes to make it on your own.

    9. You have to fight the urge not to compare stuff

    There’s nothing like experiencing something mind-blowing for the first time. But once you starting experiencing your second wonder of the world, your third safari, your fourth continent, your fifth must-see monument, it’s hard to not compare them to something you saw 10 years ago.

    But you know what? Don’t. Try to approach everything with fresh eyes. Don’t compare. And definitely don’t start comparing out loud. People will not like you.

    10. You don’t freak out about not seeing everything

    Most backpackers start their travelling careers with lists of all the things they want to see. Whether it’s a tick-box mentality or a genuine desire to experience everything, people can get obsessive over this stuff.

    Seeing everything

    I have, at times. But when you get older, you realise you can’t see everything. You can’t go everywhere. So relax. Appreciate the stuff you do experience. Enjoy the ride.

    11. Your wife/husband insists on travelling with you

    Oh, yeah. You got married. Remember?

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  2. 37 Comments so far.

    Chris said on 24/10/2014 at 1:59pm

    None of this applies to me and occasionally it is the opposite. I travel more now that I am older than I did before since I learnt to tell rather than ask about upcoming trips, I go to less museums and I still enjoy full on days of drinking.

    Anna said on 24/03/2014 at 10:19am

    Brilliant! And true...

    Tom said on 24/03/2014 at 9:13am

    Good article :-)

    Tonya said on 24/03/2014 at 3:30am

    I went backpacking for the third time at 34 a couple years ago, and I'm hoping to go again next year, or maybe the year after. My husband refuses to backpack, he's high maintenance lol. The idea of sharing rooms or bathrooms freaks him out. My sister has come with me a few times but last time I went by myself, and had a pretty good time, went from Rome to Paris. I'd like to go to Scotland next. I think that traveling with someone has it's good things, but also it's drawbacks. When you're alone, there's no one to rush you out of the museum ;) On the last trip, I saw an old man staying at the hostel in Rome, and I figured that would be an awesome way to spend your retirement, backpacking around to different places. Not to mention it would be fun to make the news because you're backpacking across Europe when you're eighty :D

    Fiona said on 24/03/2014 at 1:28am

    Andrew, well done on reinforcing ageist stereotypes and injecting zero creativity or useful observations into this article.

    None said on 23/03/2014 at 9:50pm

    I'm 31 I don't have a career or any commitment. So #1 is out the window. The more you party the less hangover exist. That is bullshit that the older you get the harder they hit you. Not always the case. Museums suck, they always will. "...who wants you to vicariously experience their amazing journey." Who doesn't want to talk about themselves. EVERYONE DOES. You're guilty too. Just because you've been around the world for over a decade DOESN'T MEAN, "you’ve got what it takes to make it on your own." False. Don't compare? Yea do, because you saw something once. You will never get that naivety or 'fresh eyes' back.

    Paul said on 23/03/2014 at 7:55pm

    I don't agree with half of these! ok, I do have a little less time to travel, but now I can actually afford to go for four or five weeks EVERY year! rather than not being able to afford to go or as some people do spending most my time away looking for a job or way to earn money. I know this works for some people but it wouldn't work for me. Ok I can pack a little better than I used to, but this is experience rather than age! :p and either way I still end up taking too much sometimes! I've never liked the full on Party hostels, but I find the quiet ones boring so I always go for something in between. and my drinking habits haven't really changed at all in the last 10 or more years. I'm generally less interested in museums ect these days and I have at least as much energy as I did in my twenties if not more these days! I have no idea about number 7 but I guess I'll have to agree with the next 2 but then I'd never traveled solo before I was 30. And I do compare things a lot now! As for missing something, after a trip or two you realise if you've missed something its not a once in a life time trip,! you can always go back at some point in the future!

    PaulTheYogaMonkey said on 23/03/2014 at 5:09pm

    Haha nice:) Paul - 32 - Currently in a Plus Berlin hostel avoiding 20 year olds who are just so excited to get drunk and tell me about it!

    helen said on 23/03/2014 at 4:48pm

    Agree. Funny , but true

    rakethetable said on 23/03/2014 at 3:57pm

    Don't forget us forty something's. We still love to travel solo when necessary. Or in a group when we can convince others to join us.

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