Cast your mind back to holidays in your twenties. A lot of booze, no? Carefree we may have been, but we also spent far too much time hanging out in hotel rooms where the air con didn’t work and the shower was emanating a weird mouldy smell. We *thought* we were having a wonderful time but in reality, we were probably just getting through it. Proving that we could do this holiday gig on a dime or two and a frisson of good luck. Any spare money was spent on cheap beers, and we didn’t really care that the place where we crashed for the night had ancient mattresses and the least soundproof walls on the planet.
Little surprise then, that a new study has found that we only start to really enjoy our holidays from the age of 31 and beyond. The survey by One Poll for Virgin Holidays quizzed 2,000 Brits on their getaway habits. They found that the early thirties is the magic point at which we transition from late, boozy nights to more meaningful experiences abroad. It’s only once we’ve successfully navigated this gap that we start to truly relax.
Hideous Kinky – 1998
People in their thirties value experiential-led travel, too. The study revealed that a thirty-something’s travel wish list is led by foodie encounters (well, who could blame us?) followed by whale watching, a helicopter ride over a natural wonder like the Grand Canyon, and museums and art galleries.
Read more: Why your thirties is the best time of life
A previous study from Expedia earlier this month revealed that people in their thirties have the most discerning travel tastes of all. The company quizzed over 1,000 US travellers of all ages on their holiday preferences and behaviours. They found that that those in their third decade of life were most likely to book a high-end hotel on their trip, and spent more time scrupulously researching options than any other age group.
More money, better food
It’s true that as we grow older, our travel habits subtly shift. Where once we were only interested in getting from place to place and finding a cheap bar, in our thirties we start to think about where we’re going, and invest money on actual food (think of that!). In fact, hunting down great local cuisine becomes a priority where once upon a time, it was just a thought that occasionally flashed up in the back of our minds. We also develop an appetite for various cultural delights, and tend to be more conscious of our safety than before (gone are the days when we view zipping around Bangkok on an unlicensed motorbike as a fun thing to do…)
“Beaches and tree bars were the most interesting part of travel once, but suddenly, learning about the baroque architecture of Havana, the ancient ruins of Mexico, and the plantations of the Caribbean is what really excites us,” say thirty-something Canadian travel duo Nick and Dairiece, of the blog Goats on the Road. “We used to travel a little bit on the reckless side… these days, we’re more careful of our belongings, and our well-being – if there’s a choice!”
Scope for adventure
That’s not to say that thirties travel carries no excitement. In fact, the scope for adventure is arguably greater, since we have more resource to plan out and pay for what we want to do. Rather than being obsessed with making the most of every minute abroad, we calm down a bit and discover new elements of travel that we never noticed before. Like brilliant restaurants, architecture, galleries and kayaking expeditions in the remote wilderness. One thing’s for sure: we won’t be turning back time.