Want to go travelling alone in your 30s and 40s? Seize the moment and dive right in, says Flash Pack co-founder Radha Vyas
Let me guess. You did your A-levels, went straight to uni, and then threw yourself into your career – right?
All through your 20s, you watched enviously as friends lived out their fantasies abroad, travelling the world, exploring exotic locations and posting their annoying photos on Facebook.
And you thought you were being sensible, focusing on your career. Who needs a selfie hugging a koala bear, anyway?
But you just can’t shake that feeling that you’ve missed out.
Now that you’re in your 30s, you want to get out there and discover the world… but you’re scared. And you don’t have anyone to go with. Oh well, best shelve those travel plans again. Or maybe not.
We think travelling alone in your 30s and 40s is as good a time as any, so we’re keen to debunk some of those myths that seem to come hand-in-hand with that idea. Here are just a few.
1. Time off work for a career break doesn’t mean you’ve ruined your career
Who said anything about a career break? You could ask for extended holiday and go travelling for a month, or take five weeks off over Christmas and New Year. As long as you get out what you want from those 4-5 weeks, they could be all you need to scratch that itch without having to sacrifice your career.
Read more: 6 career break worries that everyone shares
The travelling bug is infectious. If you do want more than six months off, you’d be surprised at how many companies now understand the value of work-life balance. Give them enough notice, and you might just find they’ll give you a sabbatical.
Increase your chances by making a plan to show your boss what you’ll do with your time off to benefit the company, like picking up additional skills or learning a new language.
If all else fails (five weeks isn’t enough and you don’t think a sabbatical or an adult gap year will be viewed favourably), with a bit of planning you could organise your travels in-between jobs to minimise risk. Trust us – there’s always a way.
2. Just because you’re travelling alone, doesn’t mean you’ll be lonely
Making your own decisions. Being your own boss. Doing whatever the hell you like. Sounds pretty decent, right?
This is the freedom that travelling alone in your 30s and 40s allows you. Having your own space and doing whatever you want and going wherever you like is a rare luxury – don’t be scared of it, embrace it.
That being said, you don’t have to be alone all the time. Admittedly, if you don’t want to stay in hostels it can be a bit harder to meet people – but try booking yourself on day tours, weekend tours and experiences to meet people doing the same thing as you.
Want some peace of mind before you go? Once you’ve reserved your place on a Flash Pack group trip, we set you up on a WhatsApp group with the other solo travellers booked on. See how a Flash Pack adventure works.
3. You don’t have to backpack everywhere, or sleep in an overcrowded hostel
Crumpled clothes + lack of showers + public transport = gross.
Backpacking isn’t for everyone, and you’ve been working your booty off for the last 8-10 years.
When you’re travelling alone in your 30s and 40s, you can really enjoy it and splash out on nicer hotels, better experiences and luxury travel – you don’t have to tough it out on that 19-hour bus journey.
Travel the way that feels right for you rather than what you think you should be doing, and you’ll enjoy yourself a hell of a lot more.
4. People won’t think you’re having a mid-life crisis if you take some time off work
So many people are now taking a sabbatical at this period of their lives. A recent survey found that in general we now think the best time to take a sabbatical is aged 38.
You can get so much more out of travelling in your 30s. You appreciate things more – the places, the people, the experiences.
And the best part? It’s likely you’ve got a bit more cash now than you did aged 20. This gives you the freedom to tick off every last item on that bucket list instead of scrimping and saving at every turn.
5. Travelling alone isn’t dangerous if you use a bit of common sense
As we get older, we do get slightly more risk averse. We suddenly realise we are not invincible. But being scared of the world never did anyone any favours. Be ruled by your passions, not your fears.
Travelling alone doesn’t have to be any more dangerous around the world than wherever you call home. All you need is research and a good old dose of common sense.
Read more: How I learnt to embrace solo travel as a man
Remember those nights when you drank all night and staggered home with people you barely knew? Well, those were your 20s.
Now you’re in your 30s, you’re wise like Mr. Miyagi. You no longer do all of that stupid stuff that can easily get you into trouble (let it be said that we approve of all safe and stupid stuff, however)!
6. You can afford to travel if you plan a decent budget – and stick to it
Having to pay a single supplement in hotels is a total pain in the butt, and really unfair. We hate it.
BUT, we’ve got a tip for you: with mass hotel booking sites you can often find amazing discounts on hotels. A lot of the time, it can work out the same price.
Another good idea is to pick a destination that’s right for your budget. It’ll mean you can travel better, for longer, and fit in all of those awesome experiences you don’t want to miss.
7. What is the meaning of life? Top tip – don’t expect travel to answer that for you
We’ll be blunt: we’re not sure what ‘finding yourself’ actually means. At the end of the day, travel is about anything you want it to be.
If you want to head out on some self-discovery quest and enjoy some different perspectives, that’s cool. If you just want to do something a bit unusual for a bit, that’s cool too. It doesn’t have to have a deeper meaning for you.
Read more: The beginner’s guide to travelling alone
We can’t guarantee you’ll ‘find yourself’. However, we bet you will have a bloody amazing adventure. You’ll get that much needed time and space to give your brain the chance to shift gear and think more creatively about the problems or situations you may be facing in life.
Hey, at the very least, you’ll come back with a heap of funny stories to regale your dinner party guests with – and we can guarantee that will make you the most attractive person in the room.
Join a small group adventure with Flash Pack
Hit the road solo in your 30s and 40s with these tantalising trips – all shared with a small group of like-minded solo travellers on your wavelength
Get your party groove on Cuba
There’s no finer place to tap your inner solo traveller than in the colourful streets of downtown Havana. Cruise through the iconic Old Town in a 1950s convertible before learning to salsa like a pro and living the Caribbean dream on the tropical island of Cayo Levisa.
Smash your comfort zone in South Africa
Unleash your daredevil within on South Africa’s stunning Garden Route. The adventure starts with an abseil down Table Mountain in Cape Town, following by surfing, paddle-boarding and swimming with seals. There’s also wine-tasting in the mix, plus an epic safari across the plains of Eastern Cape.
Head off-grid in Thailand and Laos
Test your mettle with a riotous day’s rafting in the North Thai highlands, along with hiking, cycling and a unique eco-lodge stay in the Golden Triangle. You and your fellow solo travellers will also discover Bangkok’s best-kept culinary secrets on a backstreet food safari, and sail the Mekong in Laos on a leisurely two-day boat trip through the Land of a Million Elephants.
Images: Flash Pack, Unsplash and Shutterstock