I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled to almost 50 countries, primarily while I was in my energetic and carefree 20s. But there are some marked differences between traveling in your 30s and traveling in your 20s. These are some of the fun distinctions.
In your 20s: You can fly halfway around the world, get no sleep on the plane, and start your day of sightseeing at 10 am and not go to bed until you wander back into the hotel room drunk at 1 am the next day.
In your 30s: You will cut someone if you don’t get at least 7 hours of a sleep and a large coffee the second you land. Amsterdam can wait.
In your 20s: You met a really cute guy in your hostel who invited you out to drinks later.
In your 30s: You accidentally booked a place next door to a hostel and the noise is killing you.
In your 20s: You went on a pre-trip shopping spree so you can have a new outfit for every day.
In your 30s: You accidentally packed dirty clothes because you worked late and left packing for the last minute. It’s okay. You can just throw the clothes away.
In your 20s: You haven’t stopped listening to the song you heard at the club in Greece that one night since you got back.
In your 30s: You haven’t stopped icing your ankles after they swelled up like watermelons on the flight home.
In your 20s: You have a list of museums you want to see, and you’re determined to do it all in 3 days.
In your 30s: You’re spending one week in the same city, and you’ll maybe do one thing a day that isn’t eating and sleeping.
In your 20s: You’ll wait in line for 3 hours to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
In your 30s: You tell yourself you can just do it next time, and go find a nice bench to sit on instead.
In your 20s: You could sleep on a cot in a military prison that’s on fire if you had to.
In your 30s: The air in this musty room at the Hilton is making your allergies act up.
In your 20s: You walk an average of 23 miles per day.
In your 30s: “Can I take an Uber around the gardens of Versailles?”
In your 20s: You can go directly from work to the airport on the day you leave, and directly from the airport back to work on the day you get back.
In your 30s: You need enough PTO for your trip with a 2-day preparation and recovery buffer.
In your 20s: You can eat meat covered in flies from a butcher in the middle of nowhere in Morocco without so much as needing a Tums.
In your 30s: You get traveler’s diarrhea eating at a four-star hotel restaurant because you’re not used to the spiciness.
In your 20s: You can see your hotel from the hill you hiked 6 miles uphill to reach the top of.
In your 30s: You can see your zest for life leaving your body if your hotel doesn’t have an elevator.
In your 20s: You spent $10 a day on accommodations in a 16-person dorm.
In your 30s: You spent $100 a day eating and drinking to give yourself several reasons to stop walking.
In your 20s: “Take a picture of me next to this pretty door. It matches my eye shadow.”
In your 30s: “I need you to Facetune the shit out of that so you can’t see the bags under my eyes.”
In your 20s: You think cruises are for old people.
In your 30s: You can’t imagine a more perfect vacation than getting margarita-wasted and reading poolside for 6 days straight.
In your 20s: You don’t even have health insurance back home.
In your 30s: You have travel insurance that covers doctor visits, hospitalizations, vision, dental, and cancellation in the event that you’re too tired to go on your trip.
In your 20s: Flying is so exciting. You hope you get the window seat.
In your 30s: You don’t ever want to see another plane unless it’s taking you to your own fucking funeral.
Moral of the story: travel when you’re young!