I must confess, I am turning 30 this year. So I seriously considered talking about traveling in your 30’s. However the biggest changes I’ve noted have been from my early 20’s to late 20’s. When I got back from my most recent trip to Copenhagen, I started thinking about all the ways in which that trip felt different. There were so many! From actually being glad to have a place to call home, to forking out cash for that extra special hotel, here are 8 ways traveling changes in your late 20’s.
1. You’re Happy to Come Home
As a travel blogger, I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% happy to come home. Let’s face it, I am a travel blogger for a reason! However, my last trip was a bit different. I wasn’t as depressed at the thought of boarding a 10 hour flight back to the states. Something that would usually make me wince in my early 20’s. I genuinely wanted to come home and see my boyfriend and my dog, and I couldn’t wait to hand out all the gifts I had bought. For once, I was more content with being home. A different feeling for me, and one that I had never felt in my early 20’s.
2. Sightseeing Becomes About Exercise
I definitely notice that the older I get, the more I try to get my exercise in no matter what. Even if I have to sob remembering all I used to eat in college, while walking up 10 flights of stairs, I get it done on vacation. Rarely do I take taxis or Ubers anymore, unless I am going to a nice dinner. For sightseeing, I try to walk as much as I can, that way I can eat as much as I want. Back in my early 20’s I never had to think twice about exercising while traveling. I could literally eat whatever I wanted and not lift a single finger. I definitely make sure to walk everywhere, so I can get my exercise in.
3. You Enjoy Healthy Eating and Finer Dining
Gone are the days when I could just binge on trdelniks and franceschinas. Nowadays I crave more healthy and satisfying food while on the road. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely still indulge! But after a few days of that, I always go for something healthy, even if it’s just a simple salad from the local grocery store. In my early 20’s I would have also stopped at every single food vendor on the street. Now I’ve noticed I much prefer restaurants where I can relax in great company, and sip on a glass of wine. Traveling in your late 20’s seems to be less about convenience, and more about quality.
4. Drinking is Optional
I mean for real! You have to be up early! Am I right? I do enjoy wine with my dinner and sometimes my lunch, but for the most part I don’t go to crazy anymore. Okay, I did do seven shots of vodka in Poland last year, but it was Poland. I definitely can see myself slowing down a little in the booze department over the last four years or so. I think it’s because when you’re spending money on your own trips, you really want to make the most of it. In your late 20’s, you prefer waking up early and getting the day started, and alcohol usually prefers a 1pm wake up call. I don’t feel the need to drink at every single meal or go out every single night anymore. I am totally content with making drinking an option, and not a necessity.
5. You Pay Extra for Sh*t
I’m still waiting to shell out for my first first class experience. When does that happen? 40’s? For now, I am enjoying other perks that I never would have spent money on in my early 20’s. Nothing sounds as dreadful now as a cheap plane ticket with three layovers before your final destination. 28 hours of flying time? No thank you. I definitely pay extra now to only have one stop and get to my destination as quickly as possible. Sometimes I even splurge for the economy plus seating. I think overall I just try to splurge on extras that will actually save me money in the long haul, and give me a pleasant experience. I also pay extra for hotel breakfasts, and other similar perks. At the end of the day, it just seems worth it now.
6. Living in Nikes Sounds Like a Great Idea
I can’t stress enough how much my shoe choices have changed since my early 20’s. I remember I would pack like four paris of shoes, and two of them would be heels. Needless to say, those never really went to use and I always regretted it. Now I live in my (fashionable) Nikes. It’s kind of nice that Adidas and Nikes have sort of made this ‘cool kid’ comeback. It allows me to be comfortable and practical while traveling. If I had to pick one thing that’s really changed about my traveling habits, it would definitely be my shoe choices. In my late 20’s it’s less about being cute (though I still try to purchase ‘cute’ Nikes), and more about getting in as much walking as I can.
7. You Actually Read at Museums
Back in the day, I never took the time to read all the plaques in museums that detailed the history of the actual f*cking thing I was staring at. Funny how much you don’t care right? Now I read everything! Museums and historical landmarks take me much longer now because I actually care to learn about them. I shouldn’t be too harsh on my early 20’s self though. Some reading was done, and I’ve always been a huge fan of history. I think I just did more skimming than anything. But now, if I pay an entrance fee, then you bet I’m learning something! I also care to do guided tours and audio tours now too.
8. You Kinda Don’t Care What Foreigners Think Anymore
Honestly, I am more proud to be an American than ever. I think I used to believe it was a bad thing. I tried to blend in and play it ‘cool’. It used to bother me that some Europeans would describe Americans as too friendly, or naive and fake because of our overly enthusiastic greetings. Now, I totally embrace it! Everyone culture is different, and I happen to like my overly enthusiastic American self. I’ve never really had much trouble blending in though, as I come from a European family. But in my early 20’s I would have definitely cared what foreigners thought about me. Now I don’t try as much.
Honestly, growing older has definitely been different than I would have expected. As we travel around the world, we learn so much about ourselves and we continue to grow in our journeys. I am really excited to see how my habits will change in to my 30’s. There are endless possibilities for the person I become. Here’s to traveling always changing us!
Have any of these things also changed for you from your early 20’s to late 20’s?