6 Destinations You Should Travel to in Your 30s — Even If You've Already Been
As you head into your fourth decade here on Earth, you're wiser, savvier, and likely equipped with more disposable income. So it's also likely that your travel tastes have grown up with you. While you might have opted for the nearest hostel when you were backpacking post-college, these days, the number of pillows on your bed and the option for a late check out is far more important.
And when you were in your late teens, you might have savored the ability to drink legally on the streets of Europe, whereas now, you’d rather have a fine dining experience that’s Michelin star–approved.
That’s why revisiting certain destinations you’ve already been too can offer a different perspective on travel. After all, there’s a big difference between an all-inclusive in Cancun over spring break and the delightful luxury of a secluded spa resort in the Mayan forest.
Here, seven destinations around the world to experience with fresh eyes in your thirties.
Los Cabos, Mexico
As one of the most popular spring break destinations for high school– and college-aged kids, Cancun is often one of the first places travelers will venture to sans parents. While cheap tequila and tacos are one way to detox from exams, the ongoing party scene (and imminent hangover) isn’t quite as appealing for the 30-plus crowd. This time, head for the Pacific coast. In Los Cabos, you’ll find more upscale experiences, with high-class hotels and resorts, shops, and nightlife. Though it's arguably a bit more Americanized than other parts of Mexico, the exclusivity of this region feels much more sophisticated.
Where to Stay: Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, a stunning newcomer where all 128 guest rooms offer a panoramic view of the sea
Before you entered the so-called "real world," backpacking around Europe with your buddies was one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips you’ll never forget. For many backpackers, Amsterdam is a must-see, with its endless inexpensive hostels and street food along the canals, and the allure of the infamous Red Light District. You might not remember too much from your first foray in the Dutch capital, so your second trip might be more impactful. Now, you can take the time to really immerse yourself in the history of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age, including the beauty of Van Gogh Museum, the somber history of the Anne Frank house, and the modern art of Stedelijk. For a fun experience with your travel partner, rent bikes and explore the city as locals do.
Where to Stay: Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam, a 400-year-old establishment featuring a collection of 25 canal houses
Sydney and Bondi Beach, Australia
Many professionals go through a period where they’re not quite ready to enter the workforce but also not financially stable enough to not earn some cash. That’s when some turn to work abroad programs that give them the opportunity to trade hours of clerking, cleaning, and so on, for free housing. One of the most popular countries for twenty-somethings to do this in is Australia. Here, you can work behind the desk at a hotel, tour folks around hotspots, or take on other odd jobs, all in exchange for a bed to rest your head in at night. Now that you’re gainfully employed, you can experience this remarkable city through a different lens. With fun nightlife, incomparable brunch scene, waves made for surfing, and a plethora of friendly locals, having a bit more money to play with makes Australia's capital that much more exciting.
First-time visitors to Southeast Asia are often mesmerized by the aroma of the food markets, the traffic jam of tuk-tuks, the fire dancers on the beaches, and most of all, the budget-friendly cost of, well, everything. You can get by at $5-a-night hostels and live on $1 mango sticky rice. Even if you enjoyed Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and the islands, say, a decade ago, pack your bug spray and venture back to the Andaman Sea. Known for its limestone cliffs, rainforest, and hundreds of islands, steer clear of the party-filled Phi Phi or Phuket and stay in Krabi instead. Here, you can lounge by the water, take a private long-tail boat ride, have a Thai massage (or four), and snorkel your way through captivating marine life.
Where to Stay: Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton property with a private beach, multiple restaurants, and the kind of romantic experience you’ve always dreamed of
While the metropolitan hub of Barcelona isn’t categorically inexpensive, with most cafes and restaurants offering tapas with every drink order, many twenty-somethings on a budget can get by on a steady stream of snacks. With a pretty beach and plenty of parks, wasting away a week in this city is easy to do. But now that your paycheck can fund a bit more sightseeing, make your way back to the charm of Catalonia. From standing in awe of the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell to dining at some of the best restaurants in the world, the history and mystique of Barcelona may feel even warmer than before.
Where to Stay: Margot House, a boutique, feels-like-home property across the street from Gaudí's Casa Batlló
New York, NY
The New York City you made happen by crashing with a friend and subsisting solely on hot dog stands and $1 pizza slices is not quite the same New York you'll meet with a little more life experience (and spending money) under your belt. From dining at some of the buzziest restaurants in the world to taking in a Broadway show to actually using a credit card you can pay off at your next billing cycle on Fifth Avenue, New York looks a bit rosier when you have the income to back it up.
Where to Stay: The Times Square Edition, a just-opened oasis in the billboard-bordered center of Manhattan