I turned 31 last week (wait, two weeks ago, man time really does move faster as you get older) and it got me thinking about how and where we travel at different points in our lives. In my early twenties my trips were pretty stereotypical, I backpacked through Europe, volunteered in South America, and explored Southeast Asia. That’s not to say these were bad, on the contrary they were awesome, and I’d encourage any and all 20-somethings to do these kinds of trips. When you’re young (because I am so old and wise now at 31) and haven’t traveled much you should want to see the big famous places and be at the center of the excitement.
The first time I went to Paris, I wasn’t a huge fan. It wasn’t that I really disliked anything specific, it was more like I just enjoyed every other place I went on that trip more. I was talking to my grandparents about the trip and relayed that sentiment. To which my grandfather responded, “you’re too young and too poor to really love Paris, you should go back in a couple of years”.
At the time I didn’t think too much of this advice, but now in my thirties I definitely think that there are destinations that I appreciate more now that I’m a little bit older. I’ve also realized that I enjoy destinations a little bit more off the beaten path now and can appreciate the less famous or iconic sorts of places (yeah the Eiffel Tower is cool, but I want to see something that doesn’t already have a million pictures). I also don’t party like I used to (haha) so I go for the more mellow and relaxing over hip and happening (oh man I really am old!).
Formentera is like Ibiza’s classy older sister, it’s a little more mellow and mature than the party scene on Ibiza, but still a lot of fun. Enjoy relaxing beaches, amazing seafood, and some pretty awesome beach side bars.
Escape the crowds of Santorini and Mykonos and enjoy the unique and wonderful beaches in Milos. Rent an ATV and cruise around the island exploring all the little fishing villages and hidden beaches. Eat fresh caught seafood right on the water, seriously the octopus is so good it’ll blow your mind.
The best beaches in Milos
The old walled city of Kotor may be small but it has a fascinating history. Montenegro isn’t on the typical European backpacker loop so you get the Eurotrip experience with half the crowds. And be sure to hike the city walls for epic views of both the city and the whole bay.
You probably didn’t hit up Slovenia on your first European backpacking tour, I know I didn’t. Ljubljana feels like a wonderful hidden gem of a city, the Ljubljanica river snakes through the old town and all the restaurants and cafes have outdoor seating, it’s totally picturesque. Their craft beer scene is on point too so make sure you check out some of the local breweries!
I may not be one for going out clubbing or partying (too much) anymore, but going out for tapas and sangria is definitely my jam. Barcelona has amazing food and wine that deserves to be enjoyed, and awesome little winding streets to wander and explore.
Tourist attractions: What to see and what to skip in Barcelona
Honestly, Balis is awesome no matter how old you are, but as far as relaxing beach vacations it’s is right up there. On the islands south tip you’ll get away from the raging parties of Kuta and find beautiful quiet beaches to relax, swim, and surf on.
Tokyo is a crazy amazing city with so much to do and see. The only reason I’m going to say it’s a good place to go in your thirties is because it’s expensive, and most of us tend to have more money in our thirties than we did in our twenties. And let’s be honest if you’ve got a little more money then you can do more things. Being able to splurge on amazing meals was awesome and we let our inner little kid come out with a trip to Tokyo Disney Sea!
Oh Champagne, Reims is one of two main cities in the Champagne region of France. The big famous Champagne houses like Mumm and Moet & Chandon (technically in Epernay, but close enough) are all in this area as well as plenty of smaller ones too. Tours and tastings at the houses can be a bit pricey but it’s fun and feels so classy so it’s worth it. The city itself is cute and walkable and there are tasting rooms everywhere so you can walk, do a tasting, see the cathedral, and taste some more champagne.
Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara has always struck me as the classiest of Southern California’s beach cities, maybe it’s the perfectly designed Spanish architecture or the beautiful natural scenery around the city, either way Santa Barbara is beautiful. You can walk along the beach or hike up in the hills or go wine tasting at one of the many wineries in the area, there is plenty to do all in a picturesque setting.
Cinque Terre, Italy
If you like awesome Italian food, beautiful views, and hiking, Cinque Terre is the place to go. It is a cluster of five towns along the north western Italian coast that are all connected by hiking trails. So you can actually hike between towns which is pretty rad, also that means you get your steps in for the day so you can eat all that delicious pasta!
I think I see a theme here, now as a thirty-something I’m into destinations that are relaxing, a little unusual or off the beaten path, and have good food and drinks.
What are your favorite kinds of destinations?
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