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In just a few short weeks, I’ll be joining Nathan in the next exciting decade: I’m turning 30. I’m really looking forward to bidding adieu to the 20s, not because they weren’t awesome, but because I love looking forward to new adventures. (I suppose you could guess that since we are travel bloggers!) I’m not fearing 30 at all, but rather am intrigued to see how the new decade changes me. In honor of celebrating this milestone birthday, I asked 31 (30 + 1 for good luck!!) adventurous travel bloggers to tell me about how travel in your 30s gets better or what they’ve learned after hitting the big 3-0. Read on to hear what they had to say!
Discovering Travel in Your 30s with 31 Travel Bloggers
For the last 6 years I have been continually traveling the Earth, in search for I know not what. Maybe something enlightening, or maybe just some damn good times. What ever the reason, I have haphazardly wandered to 80 countries on 6 continents so far, and the stories and memories are endless. In my 20’s I was known to get bored in say, Estonia, walk outside, stick out my thumb for a ride not caring where it was going, and end up in another part of the world. The rush of adrenaline from the unknown was unreal. My future, responsibilities, caution or ambition was a far off thought. I was living in the moment, and even the hard times ended up as fun stories.
This year I turned 30. That sounded old to me. All of the sudden I wanted even more. Not only did I want to maintain my crazy lifestyle, but I wanted to accomplish big things, create great things, and make it all sustainable long into my future. Scuba diving is my passion, so I gave myself the huge task of experiencing the best diving in the world. So I made the list and headed out to do so. I also wanted to get more out of my journey then before, so I taught myself underwater photography and hope to document each one. I also started writing a book about all my travels, remembering all my crazy times, from prison in Egypt to escaping the mafia in Thailand and more. Much more. The point is, in my 30’s, I am still crazy and not going to stop, but I am more focused on sharing these experiences with people and building this thing into a sustainable lifestyle. I am privileged to be able to explore the world, so just maybe its my responsibility to show it to those who aren’t.
When I was just a teenager I was convinced that in my 20’s I would have had the best of my life. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I actually started really living the life I wanted at 30, when I finally moved from Italy to England to learn English from scratch and I started traveling a bit more. I’m about to reach the next decade and I can now say that my thirties have been more than awesome. The craziest thing I did? (other than hanging to the edge of the Victoria Falls?!) What about quitting my well-paid job at the “tender” age of 35 to travel the world indefinitely? That was the biggest & scarier decision of my life but I’m so glad I did it. I can now travel wherever I want, I set my base in front of a beach for months in the Philippines, discovered all SE Asia, southern Africa and I’m now about to move to Mexico. Yes, the thirties for me have been a hell of a ride! In my 20’s I was just tasting what travel was all about, now I know exactly what it is, and it’s amazing.
Heather & Peter, 35
Hubbie and I love travelling in our 30’s because we’ve now worked out exactly what our travel style is. Having spent our 20’s pretending to be backpackers (because it seemed like the thing to do), we now realise that isn’t us at all. We love a bit (ok a lot!) of luxury, and are no longer ashamed to admit it. We still do crazy stuff. We’ve been microlighting over canyons in South Africa; ploughed rice paddy fields with water buffalo in Laos; and once got caught in a gun fight on a remote mountain pass in Lesotho. However now we have somewhere indulgent to spend the night afterwards. Private plunge pools, four poster beds and champagne for breakfast? Don’t mind if we do!
In our 20’s, we were firm believers of never visiting the same place twice. We wanted to see the rest of the world before going back somewhere we’d already been. Yet now we’re well into our 30’s (and have become pretty good at this travel lark), we have actually started returning to places we travelled to in our 20’s, because we know that now we can do it even better! Both thanks to another decade of experience, and yes, healthier finances. We’ve learnt that you can go back to the same place but still have a new experience. Morocco is a bit of an obsession for us, and we’re about to head back for the 8th time(!), yet we’re just as excited as we were on the first trip. Because we know what’s coming, and we know it’s going to be amazing! This time as well as trekking in the Atlas Mountains and haggling in the souks, we’ll also be checking out opulent riads, sleeping in 5* hilltop fortresses and even staying in a converted church by the sea.
Travelling in our 30’s rocks and we wouldn’t return to our 20’s for anything! Except maybe a little more hair and a few less wrinkles!
I traveled a lot in my 20s and somehow had it in my mind that the way forward upon reaching my 30s was to quiet down and follow the path most people follow: career, mortgage, wedding, family, the whole shebang. I did settle down and made a great life for myself– in the conformist deluded sense of things – filled with shiny expensive things, a big apartment, a career I had worked hard for, a loving partner I was clinging onto for dear life as an externally derived sense of self, many unhappy people around me and the permanent feeling of running after something. Seeing time as the solution, thinking for the most part that happiness lived in the future. Desiring and acquiring things that never seemed to be able to fill an elusive gaping hole I could never quite pinpoint. But clearly, that didn’t do it for me, so two and a half years ago, I sold everything and left with a one-way ticket to Bangkok, knowing nothing of what the future would hold. Since then, I have lived in South East Asia nearly two years, crossed the Balkans by bicycle in the winter and recently settled in Berlin. There is no age to do what you love and happiness lives in the present.
Gemma, 31 & Craig, 32
30 is sooo the new 20! I was always a bit gutted that I didn’t do gap year travel after university but the beauty of waiting to take this epic career trip to travel the Americas and Europe in my 30s is that I am less interested hitting the bars, we had a pretty sweet combined income which helped us save, and I get to do it with my partner in crime, Craig! Name something crazy and we’ve done it! Cycled ‘the world’s most dangerous road’ in Bolivia, boarded down an active volcano in Nicaragua, got engaged in Vancouver AND married in Austin. The only downside? I am actually going grey! This career break is supposed to be relaxing…
I’m kind of new to the 30s travelling game, so I can’t comment vastly on how things have changed. I think the beauty of it is that my travels are remaining exactly the same. I’m not slowing down, I’m determined more than ever to achieve what I want and yes, I’m still staying in those 12 bed hostel rooms. Admittedly, I will have to treat myself more than I used to though: sometimes a girl just needs her space in a big bed! One thing I can say is I know who I am now: what I need, want and am aiming for in life. Age has given me clarity, determination and bucket loads of confidence. I’m driving from the UK to Mongolia in 50 days across 21 countries with four women this year to document and promote women’s rights. How about that? I’d say that’s a pretty cool adventure for your thirties!
Stefan & Sebastien, 35
I’ve never been one to consider age an issue, so when I turned 30 I didn’t think much about how this would suddenly change my traveling habits. I mean sure, I can’t deny that I’m starting to slow down a little on the party side of travel, but after a decade of giving it a decent crack, I’m ok with that. Other than spending every second or third morning hungover there really hasn’t been much difference between now and my first trip as an eager 21 year old.
One thing that is great about being a traveler in my 30s is being more confident with the life I’ve decided to live, as well as the partner I’ve chosen to live it with. In my 20s I had a lot of fun, but I was reckless and paid little attention to responsibility. Now, as my life starts to take a little more shape, I have goals and ambitions that I want out of a life of travel. But who knows, I could also say the same things when I get to 40!
The biggest change I’ve noticed about traveling in my 30s is I’m more selective in how I spend my time when I travel. In my 20s I’d try to “see and do everything” when I traveled, but that’s impossible, would leave me feeling stressed out. Now I just focus more on doing the things I want to do when I travel, instead of just doing something because it’s on some “must do” list somewhere. Travel is better in my 30s because I have a better understanding of who I am and I feel a lot more centred (as opposed to be scattered) when I travel.
Three friends and I decided to kick off our 30s right by celebrating on collective birthdays in New York City, and after I went to Las Vegas with another friend. Within my home country of Canada exploring Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Last year I went to Europe and visited Madrid, Spain and Helsinki, Finland. I also went to Asia spending a few days in Hong Kong and then a week in Tokyo, Japan (on my own as well) in March.
In August I’ll be moving to Ireland for two years on a working holiday visa. I’ve wanted to work and live abroad for a long time, but I never took that leap of faith until now. Who says adventure has to end when you’re 30?
Lina & David, 33 & 32
Well, I guess you could say travel in our 30’s has been epic. When I, Lina, turned 30 we decided to sell everything we owned, quit our jobs and set off traveling for a few years. It has been extremely liberating to break free from the societal norm and follow our hearts. People think we are crazy for doing this, that we should have done it when we were 18, etc, but honestly, I think traveling in your 30’s is just a better time. You’re more mature and having our background, can really appreciate the chance to have personal freedom after living the American dream so intensely for so many years.
Since entering my 30s, my travels now focus on photography and writing for my travel blog. This means that I’m not just traveling to play, I’m traveling to work. Of course, that kind of work is fun for me! It does require a lot more time and effort than the kinds of trips I took in my 20s though. I have to lug around heavy camera gear and a laptop now, and I have to stay in places where I feel that my equipment is safe enough. I have to take time to work, which sometimes means sacrificing leisure and social time. It’s all worth it to me now that I have the discipline to work while traveling.
Besides working while I travel, now that I’m older I definitely require certain creature comforts… at least some of the time. I want my privacy and alone time, which means I find it harder to stay in hostels now. I have a much lower tolerance for young, annoying travelers than I used to! I make sure that I plan for more than enough food and sleep during particularly long flights or bus rides. It’s probably just experience rather than age, but these things are important!
Traveling in my 30s feels much the same as it always has, despite the specific ways in which I choose to do so. I’m still in awe of the world and I still want to see and experience as much of it as I can in this life. I will continue to travel for the love of it, long after I am old and gray!
I started my travel adventures when I was on my mid 20s traveling every week to a different country across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. When I hit 30 I realised I no longer needed to hide my age, I was officially an adult. I also felt more secure, had a lot of experience on my back to get around any place and, most importantly the financial independence to get lost anywhere, to go anywhere without having to worry about money and the self-esteem and self-confidence to face any challenge. No mountain is too high, no valley too low that I cannot tackle them.
I would first like to thank my twenties self. At 26 I finally made the decision to move abroad. I was miserable and grumpy back then because my life was going nowhere, I hated my jobs, and I was overworked. Really? Miserable in your twenties?! I loved travel and learning about the world since I was little so I had to make this constant dream finally come true. The world kept calling my name. I knew I was meant go abroad! (Cheesy, but hey, it’s true!)
I just turned 31 and I can honestly tell you the last five years on the road have been the most challenging, rewarding, incredible, and the happiest of my life. Traveling in your 30s means you’re traveling even wiser than you once were. You start to realize how important it is that you’re doing something that you love and enjoy. You learned from all those silly mistakes you made in your twenty. You take things in more, enjoy and truly cherish those moments.
I feel younger than I did before I stepped on that one way flight when I was 26. I have no plans on stopping, in fact, my plans are only getting crazier and more challenging. I’m still living and traveling abroad and I’ll be doing it in my forties too!
It wasn’t till I turned 30 that I ditched my previous job adventures to pursue blogging full time. I had always been traveling like crazy already so that didn’t change but nowadays the focus is slightly different as I aim to document and share my explorations with our social media followers and blog readers. As a result, I was able to attempt stuff like parasailing in Indonesia and Malaysia, jumping off a stadium in South Africa, and trying out many other cool flight experiences around the world everyone should try at least once.
I couldn’t tell which changed my traveling more: turning 30 or getting married. I was 30 first, though, so we’ll start with that.
Right around 30, I began to feel a bit more value in planning ahead, in knowing how far away something was or in figuring out the best way to route my travels. ‘Going with the flow’ was still fine, but at some point I began to choose a more conscious time and place to go somewhere.
I also re-focused on quality over quantity. Give me 2-3 excellent, weird choices over 4-5 lukewarm places any day. That was already what I was doing, it just became a more strongly felt choice.
Getting married to a fellow thirtysomething meant we began to seek out a bit more comfort for a few more bucks. We might still stay at a hostel, but it’ll be a private room instead of a bunkbed.
Finally, your mileage will vary, but I didn’t feel the need to prove anything to myself. Travel is already enough of a challenge that creating extra challenge just for the sake of having it wasn’t necessary. If I want to reach the top of that mountain, I’ll get there – I’ll be taking the short, direct route instead of the longer, more circuitous one =)
It appears the older I get the more I enjoy traveling. That’s partly due to our better financial situation which allows us to treat ourselves more while on the road. It buys us cocktails in spectacular bars, helicopter rides over stunning landscapes, and luxury cruises in the Mediterranean. But I also appreciate the fact that with age travel has become more meaningful. I love to explore places and look into every aspect of a destination. I have the feeling that with maturity I am better equipped to grasp connections and understand backgrounds. At the same time I am still mobile and agile and able to climb and snorkel and do all the things that are fun. It’s the perfect age to travel the world!
I have loved travelling in every decade of my life, but I certainly feel like our travels in our 30s has been the best! I think it’s because my husband and I have a better sense of ourselves and what we want to achieve from of our travels. We are more confident to do whatever we want to do and set our own itineraries. If I felt like taking off for the weekend to see a band on my own, I did it without hesitation. If I wanted to visit Game of Thrones filming locations, I made it happen! We are also in a better position financially to indulge in trips that we may not have been able to afford before. Last year, we saved up our money to live in Spain for eight months and travel constantly throughout Europe during that time, staying in unique accommodation ranging from castles to glass igloos.
Personally, I’m braver and more confident now than I was when I was in my teens and twenties. I even did the Finnish tradition of a naked sauna followed by a nudie run in the snow (something I don’t think I could have done when I was younger!)
When I was in my mid-twenties, I spent a good deal of my time in denial about edging closer to the big three-zero. As a matter of fact, once I hit 25 I told myself I was that very age for 5 years straight, until I hit 30. I spent a lot of time traveling and exploring all sorts of different varieties of travel. I visited both the tropics, and much cooler in temperature destinations. I stayed in a mix of hotels and visited different destinations, really getting a feel for travel and my preferences. By the time I hit the magic number of thirty not only did it not seem as large as before, but I had acquired an appreciation for a more refined sense of travel style, all my own. I’m sure as I approach the “big” four-zero it may change, and that’s fine by me. Life keeps moving on, and I don’t want it to pass me by at any age.
I spent most of my 20s focused on getting a master’s degree and carefully mapping out my career path. And although I did squeeze in some big trips – I spent a summer volunteering in Nepal during graduate school – I had student loans to pay off.
In my early 30s, I moved from Washington, D.C., to Boston in search of a better work-life balance. Soon after, a friend called me and said I had 24 hours to decide if I wanted to join her on a sailing trip in Croatia. I said yes, and that decision kicked off not only a new adventure but also a new attitude. Inspired by all of the laid-back, hard-partying Europeans I met – who held down careers back home – I realized I wanted to start prioritizing traveling over chasing achievements and promotions.
It took a lot of research and planning, but three years ago, I left a full-time job to become a consultant in order to have more time and flexibility to travel. Self-employment hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve since backpacked solo throughout Southeast Asia, spent two months working for a travel company in India, and made numerous trips to Europe, South America and around the U.S.
No I don’t make as much money as some of my friends do, and I live in a condo in the city instead of a big house in the suburbs, but I’m living life on my terms, and I’ve never been happier.
Matt and Alana, 33
Just before our 32nd birthdays we quit our jobs, sold our house and everything in it and set out on an 18 month around-the-world trip. Traveling in our 30s has been a better experience than our 20s, as we are doing exactly what we want to do, instead of what we ‘thought’ we should be doing. Our confidence and interests have grown and changed, and we don’t waste our time or energy anymore. When we want to do something, we do it. And if we think something is a waste of time, we avoid it. We’ve actually found ourselves being more adventurous now than ever before, as we are spending our money on experiences instead of partying/alcohol! From sand boarding to bungee jumping, we want to live life to the fullest, because nothing is guaranteed.
As the 12th month of my 30th year is fastly approaching I’ve come to accept that traveling as a 30 year old has been the best travel year of my life. It all started off with a single trip to Mongolia to celebrate Nadaam and my 30th birthday. It soon included trips to – Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand. London, Denmark, Finland, Myanmar, Raja Ampat (Indonesia), Philippines and as a last farewell to 30, an upcoming trip to New Zealand. Unlike travel in my 20’s I now have a lot more emotional and financial freedom. I can choose to stay in a backpackers or I can choose to stay 5 star! Though in all honesty I now choose to stay in backpackers as you get to meet so many more fun people.
There’s so much less fear in the travel that I do now. Traveling in your 30s is so much more care free. There’s less expectations for you to have that one final, last hurrah and amazing adventure that seems to be attached with travelling in your 20s.
I have always thought that your age is just a number. However, the first couple of years into my thirties, I really believe that this has helped transform the way I travel. Long gone are the days of thinking about partying or worrying about studying for the next exam. Now I am able to focus on exploring the world and appreciating the inherent beauty that surrounds everything we experience.
How has my travel philosophy changed since I turned 30? As I mentioned, I think as you get older you gain a greater appreciation of what you explore. Moving to the States from England when I was in my early 20s was certainly an eye-opening experience, but today I think we frequently take our home countries for granted. You don’t realize what you have surrounding you until it’s gone…it’s an old adage for sure, but one that I think is very appropriate! I consider myself to be a much more culturally aware traveler but perhaps that is just from having different expectations and experiences over the last few years.
The ability to travel more has also happened since I turned 30. I am very fortunate to work at a university and have great benefits such as vacation time, not to mention earning a decent enough salary to pay for the travels around the world.
What do I love about being in my thirties? Everything! I really believe that being in this decade has opened up so many more doors than previous decades. Obviously I can’t comment on the future but what I can do is share my experiences on the road over the last couple of years. Heather will be turning 30 in a few months and I couldn’t have done any of my travels without having her by my side.
Rob & Nat, 35 & 32
We didn’t turn 30 on the road. We hit the road when we both were on the 30’s mark. Our love for travels started a couple of years back. Nat was 23 and I was 26, we traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina and fell in love (for each other and for travelling). Then we moved to Ireland and explored Europe. Back then our travels were party oriented, hostels were our primary accommodation, and on the menu sandwiches and cheap booze.
Now things changed! We keep a balance between party and sports destinations, good hotels and private apartments, and we drink better quality wine and cocktails. Can say that we are more picky with destinations, hotels and activities. We don’t waste time and money on places that we don’t believe it’s really worth the shot.
Growing up does not mean become boring. In fact it’s all about choices and how you feel! We got married in 2013 (in our 30’s) and our honeymoon was a bit different, 14 days in an electronic music festival in Ukraine. And we don’t believe we gonna stop hitting the dancefloors around the globe soon. We are getting wise (never say old) but our dance moves are still good! It’s all about balance, after months of madness in Bangkok followed by a detox period in Singapore, now it’s time to plan a season in Brazil, and then back to underground clubs in Europe and some really nice dine & wine.
John & Heather, 34
We are Heather and John from Roaming Around the World and have spent these past few years of our early 30’s on a nonstop trip around the world. We feel that your 30’s may just be the best years for travel, although we’re admittedly biased, both currently 34 years old.
For us, probably the most notable change of travel in our 30’s is the fact that we do much more of it! In our early twenties, travel was often limited by a lack of funds. In our late twenties, the funds developed, but travel was often restricted by lack of time due to our careers, which were a means to earn money for travel. Our thirties is when we finally developed the knowledge, experience, resources, and time to be able to sustain the freedom of fulltime travel. Meanwhile we still have the youth & drive to execute such a crazy plan.
Another change that has come with age and experience has been a progression of becoming more savvy travelers, having figured out many travel hacks & deals. This often enables us to travel like a wealthy retiree, using the budget of a broke college student.
Also in our 30’s, travel has evolved from seeking out exciting destinations to instead pursuing incredible experiences. In our twenties, we loved traveling to places like NYC, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Caribbean Islands, and Amsterdam. That was so 20’s John & Heather. In our thirties, we now relish authentic experiences such as navigating the Borneo jungle amidst native people, staying with local families while backpacking across Cuba, and crossing the Sahara desert on camel with nomadic Berber families.
A final change to our travel style is how staying out late no longer exists. Doing so now completely ruins our subsequent day. We still party though. We just start early! 😉
Amy Hartle is the author of Do You Love Me? How To Stop Seeking Reassurance in Relationships, a book on reassurance seeking and relationship anxiety. Both her book and this blog are born of personal experience; Amy shares expert relationship advice from the lessons learned during her own 10+ years with her husband, as well as couples travel tips and romantic getaway recommendations, all gleaned while traveling the world together.