It would be weird if your 30s were just like your 20s. With age comes perspective, experience, and hopefully a sense of balance. And definitely a desire to go to bed at a reasonable hour. While you might have a piss into the wind attitude in your 20s, your 30s are decidedly more reasonable (still fun, though — just different fun). Which is why vacations in your 20s are different from vacations in your 30s. I should preface thing that all vacations and travel are awesome, but through your life, what awesome means takes on a different meaning. And the memories of vacations from your 20s will give you a new appreciation when visiting the same places in your 30s. Because sometimes the things you missed in your 20s will be the most wonderful things you experience in your 30s.
Seeing the world through young eyes is really beautiful, and seeing it through more experienced eyes has its virtues too. It really is a lovely part of the human condition that we can grow and change, and that our perspective changes, too. What looked one way in your 20s might look a totally different way in your 30s. Here are the biggest differences between vacations in your 20s and vacations in your 30s.
1. Your Bed Time
I'm not saying thirtysomethings can't rally, but just that the strings of nights that bled into mornings watching the sun rise of Greek islands in your 20s are probably going to be replaced by reasonable bed times and early wake times to see those same sunrises. Staying up all night is more appealing in your 20s than your 30s, and being young and spritely, there's more energy to do so. While you might have one late night in your 30s, your vacation certainly isn't going to be a "back it up" kind of affair.
2. Your Accommodations
In your 20s, it's all about hostels. In your 30s, it's lovely Airbnbs and boutique hotels. Of course there are instances where those are reversed, but overwhelmingly, hostels are the purview of the young, while more luxurious accommodations are for the slightly older (not old, though!).
3. The Volume Of Friends You Make
When I was backpacking in my early 20s, I made approximately 30,000 friends. In my 30s, I still meet people traveling, but there aren't as many instant besties. Traveling with your 20s is fun because you meet so many people, but traveling in your 30s is often about being with the people that you're already with.
4. Who You Vacation With
In your 20s, vacations are sometimes taken with large groups of friend — and that's not to say they're not also taken with friends in your 30s, but generally where 15 people might travel together on a whim in your 20s (say, when you have time off school), in your 30s it's harder to coordinate so many people when life starts happening. Your travel groups might only be two, three, four people deep. Meanwhile, in your 30s you and your friends are probably more likely to be in serious relationships, and likely to take trips with your partners.
5. The Food You Eat
When you're younger, food is a weird thing. For a lot of us (definitely me) it's something you do for fuel in between having fun. But as you get older, the food becomes the fun. In your 20s you might be into fast meals while vacationing, but in your 30s, the food is the vacation.
6. Your Planning Process
I don't know about you, but when I was in my 20s (and every twentysomething I met traveling) was on a kind of "wake up in the morning and see what happens" basis. It's how I ended up going from Rome to a Greek island over night, after getting a surprise email from a friend of a friend telling me they were waiting for me. Meanwhile, in your 30s, itineraries are your best friend. While you might fly by the seat of your pants sometimes, rest assured that time is included in your schedule.
7. Your Budget
It's likely you make more money in your 30s than your 20s. Generally, your wage increases with age and experience (at least, that's the idea). With more money to vacation in your 30s, you're less likely to add "on a shoestring" to all your Google searches. Vacationing in your 30s is decidedly more luxurious in your 30s, although you might find yourself missing some of the discomfort of adventure from your 20s.