I was lucky enough to travel plenty in my younger days. I worked as a waitress while still at university and saved up every cent. Then as soon as I’d graduated I headed off to the US to spend time working in a ski resort, experiencing the lifestyle and saving more - so I could then travel extensively around that wonderful country.
Travelling in your 30s
Although travelling in my 20s was a privilege, I can honestly say that doing it in my 30s has been even more precious.
Here are five reasons why:
1. You are more aware of your own mortality
This might sound like a negative point to kick off with, but it’s certainly true. At 20, nothing can touch you. Your health is typically in perfect shape and the concept that life is not eternal simply isn’t something that crosses your mind. But then you get a bit older, and maybe have children of your own.
You also may have loved ones who start falling ill or even passing away, and all of a sudden you are aware of the briefness of a life. This makes the rich experiences you have while travelling that much more valuable to you, and you become even more determined to soak it all up.
2. You are doing it on less of a 'shoestring'
This may not be true for all but it certainly has been for me. In my 20s, budget was my primary concern which led to many hours spent sleeping on our backpacks in airports - why book a hotel room for your 8 hour layover?
Checking into some rather dubious hostel rooms that you shared with a stranger - who typically snored! Plus missing out on specific sights or experiences simply because you didn’t have the cash. Now, as an adult with a more stable career and income, you can typically pick a more comfortable hotel - revel in the silence or privacy of your own room and test out some restaurants you’ve long been hearing about.
3. You know your travel style better
In your 20s you probably did what every other 20-year-old did - you backpacked and ticked off all the sights in the Lonely Planet. But as you’ve started discovering more about your likes and dislikes in your 30s, so too do you now know your travel style better. Maybe you like packing in a lot of sights and destinations into one week or perhaps you want to relax in one destination as you really get to know that small corner of the world?
Maybe you prefer glamorous city escapes or you’re someone who prefers a rustic country getaway in a small Italian village? Whatever your travel style, you know its better in your 30s - which typically means you get greater satisfaction from your holiday.
4. You have got more confidence
When I was in my 20s and travelling alone, I found meeting new people excruciatingly difficult. As a naturally shy person I knew it was supposed to be fun meeting people from all corners of the world but I lacked confidence in myself.
These days this does not apply at all and I’ve met the most interesting people while on holiday, from Australia to India and Switzerland to Sweden. You have also got more confidence in your 30s to negotiate with travel guides for example and tell them that no you really do not want to be up at 03:00 am for that sunrise hike and would prefer a lie-in followed by a yoga class.
5. You are a better planner
Whether this comes from experience in the workplace or simply life experience - you are a better travel planner in your 30s, which means that generally things run more smoothly.
You pre-book your airport transfer before you land, instead of having to negotiate with hordes of taxi drivers while you’re jet-lagged and stressed. You make use of the international and local travel discounts provided to you by companies like Fedhealth or Sanlam Reality - so you get you more 'bang for your buck'.
On your sunset hike, you make sure you always have water handy rather than taking the chance that you’ll pass somewhere to buy it on that lonely mountain path you are trekking. This makes for more enjoyable experiences all round, and lower stress levels.
There are massive differences in the age gap when travelling READ: LOL! Travelling in your 20s vs travelling in your 30s
It’s for all of these reasons and more why travelling or planning a big trip in your 30s is an incredible gift to give yourself. The world is your playground, with endless experiences to soak up, jaw-dropping things to see, and fascinating people to meet. Your life is richer in your 30s and travel only serves to enrich it even more – so get out there!
Belinda Mountain is a writer for the blog, Making Mountains , find her Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram.
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