My 20s were all about three things: hustling, partying and traveling. Hustling to move forward in my career, partying with my ever-growing network of friends, and traveling as much as my bank account would stretch. While most of my values and motives haven’t shifted too much since entering my 30s, my approach to travel most certainly has.

1. Fewer budgetary restraints 

During your 20s, you’re probably on a tight budget. Once you reach your 30s you’ve most likely had the chance to become more established in your chosen career path. Hopefully your bank account is a bit more established as well so that you can say yes to that $80 bottle of local wine with dinner. Another plus is that if you run into trouble, you hopefully don’t have to call mom and dad to say, “please send me money!” I feel that in my 30s I can experience dining and nightlife to the greatest extent, in addition to all the great sights and sounds of the world. Things I would have considered frivolous in my 20s, thinking, “why waste money going to nice restaurants, when those funds could translate to an extra week on the beaches of Bocas Del Toro.”

2. One-way tickets (Because every day is a vacation day.)

In your 20s you can buy a one-way ticket, travel for months on end, maintain zero itinerary and land where ever the wind blows you. This is hard to achieve with the 10 vacation days most 30-year-olds are allotted at work.


While I can still pull an all-nighter, it is harder for me to picture my 30-something-self at a full moon party on Koh Phangan, staggering down the beach and donning glow sticks in a haze.

4. Questionable modes of transportation

Before 30, I would travel across Cambodia on the back of a motorcycle with a guy I'd met moments earlier while crossing the border on foot. I’d also hitchhike across Cape TribulationNow, I’d probably just rent a car. A little less adventurous, maybe. Safer, absolutely!

5. Questionable Accommodations

Now that I’m a bit more seasoned in my 30s, I definitely wouldn’t dream of spending the night in the Geneva train station with a couple of guys from Boston that I met at a bar an hour earlier because all the hostels and hotels were booked solid that night. Hotels are now an option too, so I don’t have to deal with being awoken by strangers on the bunk above me or experience dirty communal bathrooms.

Many of the great adventures I had while traveling in my 20s probably wouldn’t happen today, but I am glad that I had the chance to experience every single crazy/exciting/sketchy/fun moment! Except maybe that one time...

Are there any adventures you wish you had embarked on in your 20s? Anything about traveling on a shoestring budget that you don’t miss?

Heather Magee

Heather Magee
 is a lifestyle and entertainment writer, living it up on the West Coast. Travel, music and film are her favorite jams.
Heather is part of The Opener, an exclusive, invite-only contributor network that will bring the best food,travel culture, and innovation writing to the pages of Coca-Cola Journey.