10 truths about backpacking in your 30s (and beyond) as a woman.
As I get older, a lot of things about me change. I feel more confident in who I am, care less about what people think, and prefer experiences over material possessions. But there is one thing that remains the same – my commitment to value-for-money vacations.
I’ve been a budget traveler for many years, however, after turning 30, I quickly noticed the difference between traveling in my 20s. Backpacking in your 30s (or beyond) has its own set of challenges, rewards, and amusing situations.
So, if you’ve ever felt like the only independent adventurer over 30 – you’re not alone. There are plenty of other women out there, like you and me, who still love exploring economically. Here are my 10 truths about backpacking at 30 or more as a female. How many do you relate to?
1. You are the only person at the hostel over 30
After checking into your hostel, you start chatting with your roommates to discover everyone is under the age of 25 and on a gap year or semester break from university.
Where are all the 30 somethings at? Obviously, flush with cash and staying in an Airbnb apartment or 5-star hotel where they don’t have to share a bathroom.
2. Your new travel friends are ten years younger and say that you are like a big sister/brother
In the travel world, age isn’t a barrier to friendship and strong connections are easily formed with people of different backgrounds and all walks of life.
3. All your backpacking clothes are comfy (and probably old)
Your backpack is full of baggy sweaters, old t-shirts, yoga pants, jean shorts, and comfortable walking shoes. You constantly look like you are going on a hike, to the gym, to the beach, or a combination of the three.
4. You packed one “going out” outfit and you don’t even care
Up-market restaurant, a gig at a nice venue, trendy nightclub – no matter the occasion, you’ve got your trusty going out jeans and shirt or little black dress. And if the budget allows more than one night out a week, then that little number gets another spin around the block.
Who wants to pack multiple fancy clothes and haul around all that extra weight?
5. You hear comments like “I want to be just like you when I’m older”
It is nice to hear that you are inspiring. Maybe not so nice when they talk about being over 30 like it’s 100.
6. Before heading out on a bender, you put water and painkillers next to your dorm bunk
With age comes wisdom… and worse hangovers. Luckily, experience teaches us how to be prepared for these things and every hangover cure known to humankind.
7. You skillfully negotiate free entrance/shots for your new group of travel friends
Another benefit to backpacking at 30 and being the more experienced traveler is that you know how to get things for cheap (or free!). Impress your new travel friends with your bartering skills or by sweet-talking your way into a nightclub without paying cover.
8. On a wild night out, you end of trying to make sure everyone gets back safe
Having younger friends can sometimes bring out our protective and nurturing side. When it gets towards the end of a night out and the group is messy, you might hear yourself saying things like “send me a message to let me know that you got back safe”.
9. You manage to be the only one in the group who doesn’t get pickpocketed/scammed
Years of traveling (and life experience) have taught you how to be aware of your surroundings, keep your valuables close, and avoid common traveling scams.
10. You wonder if you will still be budget backpacking in your 40s and beyond
At times it might feel strange to be staying in a 10-bedroom dorm room or becoming instant BFFs with an 18-year-old backpacker from Germany. But in the end, you love your life and way of travel and wouldn’t change it for a thing.
Who wants to stay in a stuffy holiday rental anyway?
So here’s to the next ten years of budget backpacking and many more.
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