Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

How Traveling Has Been Different In My 20s Vs. 30s


by Florencia Edelman



Traveling is a transformative experience that evolves with time. As we move through different stages of life, our priorities, preferences, and perspectives shift, impacting the way we explore the world. This evolution is particularly noticeable when comparing travel experiences in our 20s to those in our 30s.


In our 20s, we often have a sense of adventure that propels us to seek new experiences, embrace uncertainty, and immerse ourselves in different cultures. These are the years of self-discovery and a desire to break free from the drudgery of everyday life. Fast forward to our 30s, and priorities may have shifted. Stability, comfort, and a desire to create lasting memories with loved ones become increasingly important.


In this article, we will explore the differences between traveling in our 20s versus our 30s. From budgeting and accommodations to transportation and sightseeing, we will delve into the changes that occur as we transition from one decade to the next. So whether you’re reminiscing about your 20s or curious about what lies ahead in your 30s, sit back, relax, and let’s embark on this journey together.


20s: The Adventurous Years

Our 20s are often characterized by a sense of fearlessness, where we have the energy and enthusiasm to take on daring adventures. It’s a time when we are more open to stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing the unknown. Whether it’s backpacking through Europe or exploring remote corners of the world, there is an undeniable allure to the adrenaline rush that comes with being young and free.


During our 20s, budgeting is often a primary concern. With limited financial resources, we become experts at stretching every dollar. Shoestring budgets and shared accommodations become the norm as we opt for budget airlines, cheap hostels, and street food. The focus is on experiencing as much as possible with the limited funds we have.


Hostels are the ideal choice for young travelers in their 20s. These affordable accommodations not only provide a place to sleep but also foster a vibrant social atmosphere. Sharing dorm rooms with fellow wanderers from all corners of the globe leads to lasting friendships and unforgettable shared experiences. Hostels become home away from home, filled with late-night adventures, impromptu parties, and the constant buzz of new connections.


Transportation also takes on an adventurous twist during our 20s. Hitchhiking, backpacking journeys, and public transportation become the go-to options. Trying to get from one place to another becomes an adventure in itself, as we navigate unfamiliar routes, communicate with locals in broken languages, and rely on the kindness of strangers.


In terms of sightseeing, the focus in our 20s tends to be on party scenes and nightlife. We seek out the hottest clubs, buzzing bars, and lively street parties where the energy is contagious. Historical sites and cultural landmarks take a backseat to the thrill of socializing and immersing ourselves in the vibrant energy of the places we visit.


When it comes to packing, backpacks are the go-to choice. The freedom of having everything we need on our backs allows us to be spontaneous and flexible. We learn to embrace minimalism, packing only the essentials and leaving room for souvenirs and the unexpected treasures we collect along the way.


Traveling solo is common during our 20s, as we revel in the freedom to explore at our own pace and make impulsive decisions. It’s a time of self-discovery and personal growth, as we navigate unfamiliar territories and rely solely on ourselves to overcome challenges.


Of course, in our 20s, we tend to have a more carefree approach to safety and responsibility. We may take risks, venture into unknown territories without much planning, and make decisions on a whim. While this can lead to incredible experiences and stories to tell, it’s important to balance spontaneity with caution and ensure our well-being is a priority.


Our 20s are undeniably a time of adventure and exploration. With a sense of naivety and a thirst for new experiences, we embrace the world with an open heart and an adventurous spirit. These are the formative years that shape our travel preferences and create memories that will last a lifetime.


30s: The Quest for Comfort

As we enter our 30s, our priorities and perspectives often shift. The quest for comfort becomes a dominant theme in our travel experiences. Stability, relaxation, and creating lasting memories with loved ones become paramount. Our travel style evolves to accommodate our changing needs and desires.


Budgeting takes on a different tone in our 30s. With potentially more disposable income, we may be willing to splurge on certain aspects of our trip. While we still appreciate a good deal, the focus shifts to value for money and the overall quality of our travel experience. Earning potential may have increased, allowing for more luxurious accommodations, upscale dining experiences, and unique activities.


When it comes to accommodations, hostels may no longer be the go-to choice. Instead, hotels and vacation rentals become more appealing. The comfort of a private room, the amenities offered by hotels, and the potential for a more relaxing and peaceful environment make them an attractive choice. Being able to unwind in a comfortable bed and enjoy room service can be a welcome change from dormitory-style living.


In terms of transportation, the freedom and flexibility of rental cars often take center stage in our 30s. Having our own wheels allows us to explore off the beaten path, visit hidden gems, and customize our itinerary to suit our preferences. The convenience of having a vehicle at our disposal offers a level of comfort and independence that becomes increasingly important with age.


Sightseeing in our 30s takes on a more cultured and refined approach. While we still appreciate a lively atmosphere, there is a newfound appreciation for historical sites, museums, and cultural landmarks. Exploring the history and heritage of a destination becomes more appealing as we seek to broaden our knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of the places we visit.


In terms of packing, suitcases become the preferred option in our 30s. The need for more clothing options and the desire to look polished and put together outweigh the desire for minimalism. We begin to prioritize comfort and style, packing outfits for different occasions and leaving room for souvenirs or purchases made during the trip.


Traveling in our 30s often involves the company of travel companions, such as a spouse, partner, or children. Family vacations become a common occurrence as we prioritize spending quality time with loved ones and creating shared memories. The focus shifts from solo explorations to planning experiences that cater to the interests and needs of the entire family.


With increased responsibilities and a greater appreciation for personal safety, we become more cautious travelers in our 30s. Planning and research become essential, ensuring that we choose safe destinations and take necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones. While we still embrace spontaneity, it is balanced with a greater awareness of our surroundings and a focus on responsible travel.


Our 30s usher in a new phase of travel, as we seek comfort, relaxation, and meaningful experiences. It’s a time when we prioritize comfort and convenience, creating memories with our loved ones while still maintaining a sense of adventure. The evolution of our travel style reflects the changes in our lives and the desire for a more fulfilling and balanced travel experience.


Budgeting: From Shoestring to Splurge

One of the most notable differences in travel between our 20s and 30s is the shift in budgeting priorities. In our 20s, when our finances may have been tight, we became experts in stretching every dollar and making the most of a shoestring budget. However, as we enter our 30s and potentially have more disposable income, our focus often shifts to a more comfortable and luxurious travel experience.


During our 20s, budgeting was a necessity. We scoured the internet for the best deals on flights, accommodations, and activities. Hostels, budget airlines, and street food became our go-to choices. We carefully counted every penny and looked for ways to travel longer and farther on a limited budget. It was all about experiencing as much as possible with the resources available.


In contrast, our 30s bring a sense of financial stability and the desire for more indulgent travel experiences. While we still appreciate the value for money, we are willing to splurge on certain aspects of our trip. This could mean upgrading accommodations to a more comfortable hotel or indulging in fine dining experiences in local restaurants. We may also choose to participate in unique activities or book private tours to enhance our travel experience.


The shift towards splurging doesn’t mean that we abandon budget-conscious practices completely. We still appreciate finding the best deals and maximizing the value of our spending. However, the emphasis shifts from solely seeking the cheapest options to prioritizing the overall quality and experience of our travel.


In our 20s, eating street food or cooking our own meals in a hostel kitchen was a common practice to save money. We may have sacrificed some culinary experiences in favor of budget-friendly options. However, as we enter our 30s, we may be more inclined to indulge in local cuisine, try Michelin-starred restaurants, or embark on food tours to fully immerse ourselves in the culinary delights of each destination.


Transportation is another area where budgeting priorities shift in our 30s. In our 20s, public transportation, hitchhiking, and budget airlines were our preferred options. However, as we enter our 30s, the convenience and comfort of rental cars or private drivers become more appealing. We may be willing to spend a little more for the freedom and flexibility that comes with having our own transportation.


While budgeting becomes less strict in our 30s, it’s essential to strike a balance. We still want to make smart financial decisions and ensure that we are getting value for our money. By prioritizing the experiences that matter most to us and allocating our budget accordingly, we can create memorable and fulfilling travel experiences without breaking the bank.


Overall, budgeting evolves from a necessity to a more flexible approach as we move from our 20s to our 30s. While we may have more financial resources available, we still maintain a sense of financial responsibility and the desire to make the most of our travel experiences. By finding the right balance between shoestring and splurge, we can create unforgettable memories while maintaining a healthy financial outlook.


Accommodations: Hostels vs. Hotels

When it comes to choosing accommodations, the decision between hostels and hotels often reflects the different travel experiences of our 20s and 30s. In our 20s, hostels are the preferred choice for budget-conscious travelers seeking social connections and a vibrant atmosphere. As we enter our 30s, the desire for comfort, privacy, and convenience may lead us to opt for hotels.


During our 20s, hostels offer a unique and immersive experience. Budget-friendly and often centrally located, hostels provide an affordable place to rest and connect with fellow travelers. Dormitory-style rooms foster a sense of camaraderie and make it easy to meet people from around the world. Late-night conversations in communal spaces, shared adventures, and impromptu gatherings become part of the hostel experience.


Hostels are also known for their social activities and events, such as pub crawls, group outings, and communal meals. These activities create opportunities to bond with others and share tips and recommendations for exploring the destination. The lively and energetic atmosphere of hostels can be particularly appealing to young travelers seeking a sense of community and adventure.


However, as we reach our 30s, the desire for a more comfortable and private lodging experience often leads us to hotels. Hotels offer a range of amenities tailored to meet the needs and preferences of mature travelers. The comfort of a private room with a cozy bed, en-suite bathroom, and the convenience of room service provide a level of relaxation and privacy that can greatly enhance the travel experience.


In addition to the comfort aspect, hotels often provide additional services and amenities, such as fitness centers, swimming pools, spas, and concierge services. These offerings contribute to the overall sense of luxury and convenience that hotels can provide. For travelers in their 30s, these amenities can be especially appealing, allowing for moments of relaxation and self-care amidst the hustle and bustle of travel.


Another factor that may influence the choice between hostels and hotels is the level of convenience and flexibility desired. Hostels often have communal kitchens where guests can prepare their meals, while hotels offer the convenience of on-site restaurants and room service. The ability to dine in-house can save time and provide a hassle-free dining experience, especially for those with busy schedules or who prefer not to venture out for meals.


Ultimately, the choice between hostels and hotels depends on personal preferences, budgetary considerations, and the kind of travel experience one seeks. While hostels are popular among young travelers in their 20s for their affordability and social aspects, hotels offer comfort, privacy, and a range of amenities that cater more to the needs and desires of those in their 30s.


As we transition from our 20s to our 30s, our travel style evolves, and with it, our accommodation preferences. Regardless of the choice between hostels and hotels, each offers its own unique experiences and opportunities to create lasting memories while exploring the world.


Transportation: Hitchhiking vs. Rental Cars

Transportation plays a significant role in shaping our travel experiences, and the choice between hitchhiking and rental cars can differ greatly between our 20s and 30s. In our 20s, the sense of adventure often leads us to embrace the spontaneity of hitchhiking and public transportation. As we enter our 30s, the desire for convenience, flexibility, and comfort may drive us towards rental cars.


In our 20s, the thrill of hitchhiking appeals to our sense of adventure and desire to meet new people along the way. The freedom to hop into a stranger’s car and embark on impromptu adventures is exhilarating. Hitchhiking allows us to experience the kindness of strangers, connect with the local culture, and get off the beaten path. It’s a budget-friendly option that encourages spontaneity and provides a unique travel experience.


Public transportation, such as buses and trains, are also common choices for young travelers in their 20s. They offer a relatively affordable means of getting around and can provide opportunities for interaction with locals and other travelers. Navigating unfamiliar routes, deciphering timetables, and sharing crowded spaces become part of the adventure.


However, as we transition into our 30s, rental cars often become a more appealing option. The convenience and flexibility they offer can greatly enhance the travel experience. Having our own mode of transportation allows us to explore destinations at our desired pace, visit off-the-beaten-path locations, and discover hidden gems that may be less accessible by public transportation.


Rental cars provide a level of comfort and privacy that can be especially appealing as we mature. The ability to control our own environment, play our favorite music, and have a space to ourselves can make traveling more enjoyable. It also eliminates the need to navigate crowded public transportation and lugging heavy backpacks around, providing a more convenient and hassle-free experience.


Furthermore, rental cars offer the freedom to deviate from planned itineraries, make spontaneous stops, and immerse ourselves in the local culture. It becomes easier to explore remote areas, visit attractions at our preferred times, and embark on day trips without relying on the schedules and availability of public transportation.


While rental cars come with a cost, the advantages they provide – such as time saved, convenience, and flexibility – often outweigh the financial aspect for many travelers in their 30s. Splitting the cost between travel companions or opting for car-sharing services can also help alleviate the financial burden.


It is important to note that the choice between hitchhiking and rental cars depends on personal comfort levels, local factors such as safety, and the specific travel destination. It’s essential to research and understand the legal and cultural aspects of hitchhiking before attempting it in a new location.


Whether hitchhiking in our 20s or opting for rental cars in our 30s, the choice of transportation greatly influences the way we experience and navigate a destination. Both options have their own unique appeal and can contribute to memorable travel experiences, allowing us to explore the world in different ways.


Sightseeing: Party Scenes vs. Historical Sites

When it comes to sightseeing, our preferences and interests often shift as we transition from our 20s to our 30s. In our 20s, we are drawn to the vibrant party scenes and social atmospheres of popular destinations. However, as we enter our 30s, our focus tends to shift towards the exploration of historical sites and cultural landmarks that offer a deeper understanding of the places we visit.


During our 20s, party scenes hold a strong allure. We seek out destinations known for their nightlife, lively bars, and buzzing clubs. The vibrant energy of these places offers a chance to let loose, dance until dawn, and create unforgettable memories. Cocktail crawls, beach parties, and music festivals become the highlights of our travel experiences.


While party scenes are undoubtedly exciting in our 20s, as we enter our 30s, our interests and priorities often change. We develop a greater appreciation for historical sites, museums, and cultural landmarks. We find ourselves intrigued by the stories that shaped a destination’s history and the architectural marvels that stand as a testament to its past.


In our 30s, we seek out opportunities to immerse ourselves in the rich cultural heritage of the places we visit. Exploring ancient ruins, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and delving into the local history become a fascination. Museums, galleries, and guided tours provide valuable insights and a sense of connection to the roots of a destination.


While party scenes may still hold some appeal, we are more drawn to quieter and more contemplative experiences. Walking through cobblestone streets, absorbing the ambiance of historical neighborhoods, and visiting cathedrals, palaces, and monuments become the highlights of our sightseeing adventures.


Moreover, our 30s often coincide with new milestones in life, such as starting a family or personal growth in our careers. This shift in priorities influences our travel choices, leading us towards destinations that offer enriching experiences and opportunities for personal development.


However, it’s important to note that the shift from party scenes to historical sites does not mean that we abandon fun and entertainment. We still appreciate a balance between cultural exploration and enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of a destination. Seeking out local festivals, cultural performances, and traditional celebrations can provide a sense of cultural immersion while also offering a chance to celebrate and enjoy the present moment.


Ultimately, the choice between party scenes and historical sites in our travel experiences reflects the changes in our interests, desires, and personal growth. While our 20s are often characterized by a thirst for excitement and socializing, our 30s lead us to seek deeper connections, cultural understanding, and a sense of enrichment through the exploration of historical and cultural landmarks.


Packing: Backpacks vs. Suitcases

When it comes to packing for travel, the choice between backpacks and suitcases often reflects the different needs and preferences that arise as we transition from our 20s to our 30s. In our 20s, backpacks are typically the go-to choice, offering flexibility, mobility, and a sense of adventure. However, as we enter our 30s, suitcases may become more appealing, providing convenience, organization, and a touch of sophistication.


During our 20s, backpacks symbolize the freedom to explore and embrace a nomadic lifestyle. Backpackers are known for their minimalist approach, carrying their essential belongings on their backs as they embark on adventures. The practicality and flexibility of backpacks make them ideal for navigating different terrains, whether it’s trekking through mountains or maneuvering crowded city streets.


Backpacks also encourage us to pack light and prioritize the essentials. With limited space, we carefully consider each item, opting for multi-functional pieces that can accommodate various activities and climates. The ability to carry our belongings comfortably and have our hands free for exploring makes backpacks a popular choice among young travelers in their 20s.


However, as we enter our 30s, the desire for convenience and ease of travel may lead us towards suitcases. Suitcases offer organized compartments, smoother mobility, and the ability to pack and unpack with ease. They provide a level of refinement and sophistication, which aligns with the maturing preferences and changing travel experiences of our 30s.


With suitcases, there is more room for organization, such as utilizing packing cubes or separate compartments for different types of items. This allows for easy access to specific items without having to rummage through cluttered spaces. For those who prefer to have their belongings neatly sorted and readily accessible, suitcases provide a more organized packing solution.


Suitcases also offer the advantage of additional protection for fragile items, such as electronics or delicate souvenirs. The hard-shell varieties can withstand rough handling and protect the contents within. This can be particularly appealing for travelers in their 30s who may have acquired more valuable possessions or wish to ensure the safekeeping of special mementos.


Furthermore, suitcases may be more suitable for those traveling for business or attending formal events. The ability to pack business attire, dresses, or suits without creasing offers a level of convenience and professionalism. It allows for a smoother transition between travel and professional engagements, mirroring the increased responsibilities and stability of our 30s.


Ultimately, the choice between backpacks and suitcases depends on personal preferences, travel style, and destination. Both options offer advantages and cater to different needs. Backpacks embody the adventurous spirit and flexibility of our 20s, while suitcases provide convenience and organization as we mature into our 30s. The decision comes down to finding the right balance between mobility, organization, and personal preference.


Travel Companions: Solo Explorations vs. Family Vacations

Traveling companions play a significant role in shaping our travel experiences, and the choice between solo explorations and family vacations often reflects the different priorities and desires that arise as we transition from our 20s to our 30s. In our 20s, the freedom and self-discovery of solo travel often take center stage, while in our 30s, the importance of shared moments and creating memories with loved ones leads us towards family vacations.


During our 20s, solo travel offers a sense of liberation, personal growth, and the opportunity to truly immerse ourselves in new experiences. It allows us to chart our own path, discover our passions, and navigate the world at our own pace. Solo travel fosters self-reliance, adaptability, and the ability to make independent decisions. It’s a time of self-discovery and embracing a sense of freedom, as we explore new destinations and meet fellow travelers along the way.


As we enter our 30s, the dynamics shift, and the desire for shared experiences with loved ones becomes increasingly important. Family vacations offer opportunities to strengthen bonds, create cherished memories, and enjoy quality time together. Whether it’s traveling with a spouse, partner, children, or extended family, the focus is on enjoying the journey as a collective unit.


Family vacations provide a chance to disconnect from the demands of everyday life and reconnect with loved ones. It allows for shared adventures, laughter, and the opportunity to create lifelong memories. The experiences we share with family on vacation become treasured stories that continue to bond us together long after the trip is over.


In our 30s, family vacations often involve more careful planning and consideration of everyone’s interests and needs. It may involve choosing destinations and activities that cater to a range of ages and preferences, ensuring that everyone has an enjoyable experience. From exploring theme parks and engaging in outdoor adventures to relaxing on the beach or immersing in cultural experiences, family vacations offer a diverse range of possibilities.


Moreover, family vacations provide an opportunity for parents to pass on their love for travel and expose children to new cultures, landscapes, and experiences. It allows children to learn about the world beyond their immediate surroundings and helps cultivate a sense of curiosity, tolerance, and adaptability.


While solo travel offers freedom and personal growth, family vacations offer a different kind of fulfillment and the chance to create cherished memories with our loved ones. Both solo explorations and family vacations have their unique appeal, and the choice between the two depends on personal circumstances, preferences, and the desired travel experience at any given stage of life.


Regardless of the choice, the most important thing is to embrace the opportunities that travel provides – whether it’s solo adventures or shared experiences with family – and cherish the moments that shape our lives and create lasting memories.


Safety and Responsibility: Carefree vs. Cautious

When it comes to safety and responsibility, our approach to travel often evolves as we transition from our 20s to our 30s. In our 20s, a carefree and adventurous spirit often guides our decisions, whereas in our 30s, a greater sense of responsibility and caution tends to prevail.


During our 20s, we may adopt a more carefree attitude towards safety while traveling. Excitement and a desire for spontaneity can sometimes lead to taking risks or venturing into unknown territories without much planning. This can result in thrilling experiences and incredible stories, but it can also lead to potential dangers if not approached with caution.


Being open to new experiences and embracing unfamiliar cultures is a hallmark of our 20s. This can mean trusting strangers, accepting spontaneous invitations, and exploring destinations off the beaten path. While these experiences often lead to incredible encounters and personal growth, it’s essential to strike a balance between openness and personal safety.


As we enter our 30s, a greater sense of responsibility and caution tends to emerge. We may prioritize thorough research and planning before embarking on a trip. This can include learning about local customs, cultural sensitivities, and potential safety risks in the destinations we visit. Taking the time to educate ourselves on travel advisories and safety precautions becomes a crucial part of our preparation process.


With age, we become more aware of our own limitations and vulnerabilities. We may take steps to mitigate risks, such as securing travel insurance, sharing our itineraries with loved ones, and staying informed about local laws and customs. The focus shifts from carefree exploration to making informed decisions and ensuring our well-being is prioritized throughout our travels.


In our 30s, responsible travel practices also extend to the consideration of environmental and social impacts. We become more conscious of our carbon footprint and strive to minimize our impact on the destinations we visit. This may involve practicing sustainable travel habits, supporting local communities, and respecting the natural and cultural heritage of the places we explore.


While it’s important to embrace a cautious and responsible approach to travel in our 30s, we must also remember to maintain a sense of adventure and openness. Striking a balance between safety and exploration allows us to enjoy enriching travel experiences while minimizing risks. It’s about being mindful of our surroundings, trusting our instincts, and making informed decisions.


As we grow and evolve, our understanding of safety and responsibility in travel deepens. We learn from past experiences and the wisdom gained through the years. While our 20s may have been characterized by carefree adventures, our 30s bring a more mature perspective that acknowledges the importance of safeguarding ourselves and respecting the places and people we encounter on our journeys.


Ultimately, whether we navigate the world with a carefree spirit or a cautious mindset, the most important thing is to prioritize our safety and well-being while embracing the joy and wonder that travel can bring.



Traveling in our 20s versus our 30s unveils a significant evolution in our priorities, preferences, and perspectives. The sense of adventure, boldness, and carefree spirit that define our 20s often give way to a quest for comfort, stability, and shared experiences in our 30s. From budgeting and accommodations to transportation and sightseeing, the differences in how we approach and engage with travel are evident.


In our 20s, we embrace the thrill of uncertainty, making the most of limited resources to explore the world on a shoestring budget. Hostels, hitchhiking, and party scenes become the norm, and we prioritize gaining new experiences, forging connections with fellow travelers, and immersing ourselves in the vibrant cultures of the destinations we visit.


As we transition into our 30s, the desire for comfort, convenience, and a touch of luxury becomes more pronounced. We have a greater financial capacity to splurge on superior accommodations, rental cars for flexibility, and fine dining experiences. Historical sites, cultural landmarks, and family vacations take center stage as we seek a deeper understanding of the places we visit and create cherished memories with loved ones.


The choice between backpacks and suitcases, solo travel and family vacations, carefree exploration and cautious responsibility reflects the changing dynamics and maturity that come with age. We prioritize organization, convenience, and the safety of ourselves and those we care for, while still embracing the sense of wonder, discovery, and personal growth that travel offers.


While the shift in travel preferences may signify a transition to a more settled and responsible stage of life, it does not mean we lose the adventurous spirit that defined our youth. It is about finding a balance, blending spontaneity with careful planning, and seeking meaningful experiences that align with our evolving interests and desires.


In the end, no matter the age or stage of life, travel remains a transformative force that broadens our horizons, challenges our perspectives, and creates lasting memories. Whether we embark on solo explorations in our 20s or embark on family adventures in our 30s, the journey itself is a testament to the human spirit and our innate curiosity to connect with the world around us.


So, whether you’re reminiscing about the carefree days of your 20s or eagerly anticipating the adventures that lie ahead in your 30s, remember that travel is a life-enriching experience that continues to shape us, teach us, and inspire us no matter where we are on our journey.