What a difference a decade makes. Especially when you’re travelling. 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 accommodation, 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, 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 air con. You learnt a long time ago that the Wicked Witch of the West ‘I’m melting, I’m melting’ look was 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 peanut butter and jam sandwiches, cooked up in the hostel kitchen, or the other half of the foot-long Subway sandwich you had for lunch. Now you can peruse TripAdvisor to get ideas for where to eat dinner, and it’s the content rather than the costs on the menu that will ultimately inform your restaurant choices.

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, 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 am kayak to see the jungle animals at their most active.

Private rooms are a must

Hit your 30s and the days of sharing a room with 15 strangers are over. You refuse to sleep like The Waltons, especially when the majority of people in dorms are too young to remember the Waltons in the first place. You’re all about comfortable hotel rooms and nice amenities. And you are ok with that.

Your souvenirs weigh you down a bit more

Having a bigger budget in your 30s means you’ve got the scope to buy more than just a magnet at the local handicraft market. That metre-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 learnt to pack like a marine. 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 – fear of missing out. 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’ll happily swerve Boring in Oregon for somewhere, well, less boring. And you’ll say no to that Sardine Canning Museum in Norway without regrets.

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 rent a jet ski?

Early nights will be your friend

You learnt the hard way that tequila doesn’t make you happy. Not the next day anyway. We’re not saying you need to pack your pipe and slippers when you go travelling in your 30s, but you do discover that you don’t have to take advantage of those BOGOF shots at the hostel bar every night.

You’ll not have that 20s obsession with selfies

When you travelled in your 20s, selfies didn’t exist. Now you can’t go anywhere in the world without spotting a next-generation backpacker wielding their selfie stick like a light sabre. 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 you also take time to look at landmarks and amazing sights with your own eyes, rather than from the screen of your mobile phone.

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About the author

Sarah HoltSarah 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.

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