malcapuya island

Traveling in My 20s Vs. 30s: Has Anything Changed?

There is no better day to celebrate being alive than every day – even if seriously, I felt like death when I was meant to celebrate my actual birthday. After spending almost the entire the day on the bus from Munich, collapsing onto the couch as soon as I reached home was the best thing I ever did and devouring the steak that husband prepared, of course. That birthday weekend trip was absolutely fantastic, but sad to say my aging self couldn’t take partying hard without cursing myself the next day anymore. It’s okay to accept the fact – I’m not getting any younger! Looking back at how I traveled over the years since the travel bug has bitten me, I began to wonder – has anything changed now that I’m traveling in my 30s? Probably a few, but let’s see.

Developing a whole new sense of responsibility

Life was so much easier when depending on your own and only taking responsibility for your own actions were the only things you have to do. Now I’m starting to have this so-called “maternal instinct” which urges you to look after fellow travelers and make a conscious effort to become the most sober among the group to preempt any mishaps that can occur as the night spins into the blackhole. In Budapest, I remember leading a pack of obviously too-wasted-to-make-a-wise-decision travelers I met at my hostel in finding the way back after a night out. I’m sure they would’ve made it back in one piece, but I know how terrible it felt to walk around in circles before ending up at the right place.

Constantly craving for some real good sleep


In my 20s, I would check into my hostel, drop my bags, don’t come back until the wee hours of the morning and still get up to beat the crowds and go sunrise watching at Angkor Wat, for instance. I hardly sleep when I travel then and up to now actually. But when I was a lot younger, it didn’t matter to me that much as it matters to me now. Yeah, you can say sleep is for the weak, but I need my 7-hr deep beauty sleep! So what I do these days are avoiding party hostels, getting a private room or staying at AirBNBs in a quiet neighborhood – the grandma in me has awakened.

Learning to stay away from my kryptonite


No more tequila or vodka especially when traveling alone, because I love it so much that I will just keep drinking if it was offered to me. But now, I’ve learned to walk away from it. And yes, I’m way too responsible now – remember? I’d probably feel bad for whoever is with me at the time if they’d ever need to take care of me afterwards, so I will think more than twice before I take that first shot unless you assure me that whatever I say or do that time will be off the record and will be forgiven at an instant!

Not seeing everything doesn’t bother me anymore

I’ve been guilty of rushing to see everything on my list for quite some time. As I get older, I just like taking my own sweet time as I enjoy the moment and the company – I don’t even take as many photos anymore like I used to! I’m learning to have a deeper appreciation for slow travel. I feel like I can always come back next time and explore more, but do you see the irony in that? It’s like I’ll live forever and we all know I won’t. My point is, don’t rush and allow yourself to completely be engrossed in the moment.

I’d choose traveling with my travel buddy any day

The grass is always greener on the other side…with your other half. ? @flipvisionproductions

A photo posted by Sarj | #WanderAllYouCan (@pixated) on

Although I’ve always loved traveling solo, meeting someone who shares your passion for travel and eventually ending up together is the best thing that ever happened to me – clichés aside. I couldn’t ask for a better travel and life companion. Lots of perks come with it, too! Even after marriage, we’d pose no restrictions on each other if one of us wants to take a trip alone or with our own friends – we are cool like that! I pretty much can still go wherever and however I want, but being without him would make me miss him so much!

If you’d ask me which phase of my life do I like best, I wouldn’t have an answer to that. Because although some of my preferences have definitely changed, I’m still the same mental gal that gets so psyched doing an activity for the first time; meeting new people – young and old; and spreading the joy of travel!

What changes have you noticed comparing how you gallivanted the world the first time and now?  Do you think travel gets better with age? How so?

25 comments

In my twenties, I was 2 week a year traveler. I only started travelling full-time almost at the end of my twenties. But yeah, I think I might have done or not done the things that I do now as a 30-year-old traveller. Slowing down, and getting some sleep are high on my list of priorities, Wanting to see everything never was earlier, but it is not even a factor these days.

In my twenties I lived in London so all I ever wanted to spend my money on was travel. I travelled at every chance I got. Now in my 30s I have more responsibilties and I plan more rather than spontaneous trips. I love travelling locally and do not party as much as I used too.

I started travelling when I was in my 20’s and I am still going at 40years old. I know that I take things in more now and appricate everything on a different level. I still remember goign and staying in a hostel, drinking and then going out all day exploring. Now, I spend my time reading in my hotel about the places I am visiting and exploring. Great post and it was good to look back at my own life while reading your story.

I have been travelling for 2 years now. Started when I was 24. And I can already relate to what you’ve written. I particularly agree with the point “Not seeing everything doesn’t bother me anymore”. I think after travelling for sometime you really start understanding that travelliing is more than kicking off a bucket list.

Life changes you just as travel does…the more summers you see allows you to see the world a little differently. Life long travelers have so many different experiences. We travel with the kids now and that makes our travel different, too. When I was younger I needed less rest. LOL! Now, we have a slower pace – partly because, like you, I need more sleep LOL, and partly for the kids. Slow, fast, and all in between = all good!

Ticker Eats The World

Interesting points and have to agree with more of them. I’m a lot more responsible and since I travel with my kids a lot have to be the “adult” and make sure everything is in order all the time. I guess some of the changes come from maturity while others are from past experiences. Not trying to cram in everything in on trip is something that I greatly appreciate and follow now as well.

Travel preferences do change as you age, just like other aspects of your life. Everything is new when you are in your twenties and as you age, you prefer difference experiences. Not to mention that our bodies change :). Nice, thoughtful post.

Promise Chika Maxwell

Looking back at my 20’s as a traveler, was an amazing experience I had with all the crazy things I did as a juvenile. The beauty of life is when it advances the way you programmed it to be and right now at my 30’s I still love the life I leave without doing all I did back then. Comparing the both I think I’ve changed loads but still same old bro. Thanks for this post because it gat me way back!

I just turned 27 but I can already see my travel preferences shifting a lot like you say. For one, I’ve totally given up on trying to see everything. I actually like leaving a few stones unturned — it gives me all the more reason to come back one day. And YASSSS to a good night’s sleep. Early 20-somethings who give me the stink eye when I just want to call it an early night in bed with some Netflix and not go out to a bar with them….. I just can’t anymore party every night anymore!

Lydia@LifeUntraveled

I’m in my mid-forties so I definitely rather sleep than party…lol! I also appreciate slow travel more and more but I still take loads of pictures. I’m also much more conscious of how my travels impact locals and take that into consideration.

kathy (from walkaboutwanderer.com)

You have hit the nail on the head! No longer can I party all night and see the sights during the day. I need my sleep. I too don’t want to rush around a country and see all the sights. I want to travel slow and see a few places well. Travelling in my 30’s have really changed for the better. Thanks for a great read.

I love how introspective this post was! It’s amazing how our views on travel changes with our age too! I can so agree with the sleep part too. I know there’s much to explore but I need to get my sleep!

I lived abroad in my twenties but the real travelling started in my thirties. I can totally sympathise with that paternal instinct though. I have been on a few nights out, enjoying a few drinks then you realise everyone is wasted and feel it’s your responsibility as the oldest to make sure they all get back safe! What is is to be old(er)! We all still have many years of happy travels yet!

I’m in my late twenties now and I know I’m far more a grumpus who is less about “meeting new people!” and more like “I want my own space!” And I’m happy to spend money when I travel, rather than penny pinch. All part of growing up, I guess!

The “maternal instinct”… I appreciate how you describe the way you added years. You had fun and adventures in your 20’s and as you turn 30, you become more responsible not only as a traveler but as a woman… I love this post- P.s. I am 30:)

Hey there. I was 50 a few weeks ago. In Bangkok, because it’s one of my favourite places. I’ve been travelling all my life and still travel full time, now with husband and 2 kids. What’s changed for me at 20, 30, 40, 50…..not much at all!! I still drink as much as I want, still trek up mountains, still get ridiculous-for-my-age tattoos, still hop on buses with my backpack ( and kids). But I can feel the aches and pains starting, the knee I busted up cycling accross Cuba pains me more and more, the cold of Romanian winters now seeps into my joints and the sun is not allowed anywhere near my much-damaged skin. But otherwise…Meh. Same Same 😉

I’m 22 so I’m quite young but the first time I went overseas I was 5 (doesn’t count) and them 15. The difference that 7 years can make is huge!
When traveling I think I do like you say that a person with 30’s does despite being only 22! Still love to try new things and all but min each travel I take I learn a bit more and I think I get a bit older every time. I feel that way just by looking at my pictures from trips I made 2 years ago! Incredible…

This is really interesting! I’m 23 right now, and even I value my sleep 😉

Obsessed with this article! I’m currently 22, but these things really speak to me! After a few crazy semesters, I’ve quit drinking as much. I think that has made me appreciate travel more. Instead of looking forward to the night out, I look forward to the early morning with plenty of rest the next day! 🙂

I’m only in my 20’s but these all already apply to me! Call me an old soul 🙂 I especially enjoy “slow travel” as you call it – I prefer to immerse myself in a travel experience and that takes time. But for me the biggest change from when I was younger is having a husband and kid. Travel takes a lot more preparation and cooperation now.

Sanna Vegancruiser

I so get this.. I often think of stuff I’d done, like hitchhiking that I wouldn’t do now nor recommend young girls to do either. And I am definitely more ‘demanding’ and enjoy the luxuries of travel. It’s about quality rather than quantity these days. And sleep, yes, please. I’ve totally fallen in love with cruising because that allows me to see several different ports while not having to travel in buses/trains/flights between destinations – meaning now packing/unpacking at each destination either. It means I am tied to the ship’s schedule ( I only have the set amount of port time to explore) but it allows me to sample destinations. From this summer’s cruise I have two more places to visit for a long weekend to take my travels deeper: Cartagena in Murcia, southern Spain and Florence, northern Italy which was a total vegan heaven. Same with previous cruise and dropping into Montenegro and Croatia – really want to explore them further. But no hostels anymore, hotel or AirBnB just for me (or for me and hubby).

I’m 30 next year and already I know I need more sleep and relaxation days. Last year I did 6 European countries in a month and I was exhausted by the halfway point from trying to do everything, I think 30s will be better for me because I no longer feel pressured to try and party with others.

Tanja (the Red phone box travels)

I agree! I definitely can’t dance all night long and then do sightseeing all day!:) things change, life changes, that’s good!:)

Amanda @ LVV Travel

Though I’m still in my twenties, I’ve been travelling for a few years now and definitely appreciate comforts compared to when I was younger. It’ll be interesting to see how things develop as I get older. I’ve never been the party type so perhaps I’ve always been a 30s traveller anyway 😛 Totally agree with not seeing everything too!

I’m still in my twenties and I’ve always had the same attitude about traveling. Hopefully as I age I’ll learn how to really appreciate the places I’m visiting. Anyway, this is such a lovely post Sarah.

Leave a Reply