Older than 30 – Are you too old for Backpacking?

Simply this title made you click to see what I need to say about this topic, awesome to see you! There is a lot to say, to consider, and to clarify regarding this topic. Am I too old for backpacking the world?


A year ago I was enjoying a nice 9-week vacation in Europe. Part of my trip was walking the Camino de Santiago from St. Jean Pied de Port in France. It was a wonderful experience; however, it was very exhausting. After spending a few days in Santiago, I knew I needed to relax and unwind in Porto.

My passion for travel will never die, but…

I was 30 years old last summer and backpacking seemed a lot differently from my first backpacking adventure to New Zealand/ Australia. My passion for travel with never die; however, being in my 30s I have to address the following:

  • I don’t live with my parents anymore, so the excitement to get away from home and be rebellious on my own is long gone. Therefore, I have concluded I have officially retired from sleeping in hostel dorms.
  • However, grabbing a private room in Hostels is highly recommended and preferred moving forward – for me at least!
  • I can’t party and drink as hard as when I was in my early 20s, so I choose hostels that are easier going that doesn’t have a rowdy crowd – not like these Alcohol and Party Hostels for instance. Although if I want to go out all night, I am mature enough to know that I need to compose myself in a manner not to be a disturbance to everyone else at the hostel when I return.

Party Hostel in Sucre, Bolivia
Photo shows KulturBerlin in Sucre, Bolivia

  • Living on my own and expanding my pallet, I feel comfortable cooking most of my meals (especially when I am staying at a place longer than 3 nights). However, having more purchasing power, I would rather experience eating traditional local dishes instead of trying to make spaghetti from ramen noodles (I have seen on numerous occasions from other travellers).
  • I always try to find a hostel that provides dinner at a fair price that showcases local cuisine, above and beyond a simple hotdog BBQ dinner.
  • Finally, I value places that have guests that prefer being out all day versus sleeping in until 1 pm and hanging out at the hostel until dinner.
  • Hostels with all day tours or daytime events will always get my money.

Age is just a Number


My advice to those in their 30s that have fallen victim to attending back to back weddings, feeling pressure to settle down and start a family, and/or slaving away the best years of their life for an employer that could careless for them


Why wait until retirement to relive your adventurous days from your 20s in your golden years?

Backpacking is essential for 30plus

Why is backpacking essential for those in their 30s? Here is my top 10 list:

  1. It will help you appreciate how little you need to be happy. Living out of a backpack for several weeks will give you a greater perspective of the things you own and how much you could part with.
  2. Sometimes it is important to break a repetitive cycle. There is nothing worse when someone admits that time is flying by. They have the same 9 to 5 schedule, Monday to Friday; most likely have similar weekend rituals. Traveling has allowed me to appreciate how long a short amount of time has past. It seems like a lifetime ago I was in Europe.
  3. Staying in hostels can be more exciting than staying in hotels, especially if you are travelling alone. It is too difficult to strike up a conversation with travellers in a hotel over hostels. Plus there is a variety of options for all kinds of people.
  4. Backpacking allows most individuals to hit the reset button on their lives back at home. So far from my journeys I was able to conclude that I needed to leave certain jobs, pursue new hobbies (for me amateur boxing), and even change lifestyles/diets.
  5. You may realize your true mental state being away from your everyday life. While backpacking the pressures from work, family, and friends should be minimized; however, try to avoid logging on all the time. On my last trip, I was very content with my life and it was great to make such a epiphany. When I returned last summer, I made numerous changes immediately.
  6. Surprisingly you may find your playlist increasing 3 fold with all the new music you come across in hostel lobbies, going clubbing in a foreign city, and even from fellow travelers sharing their music during long city walks.
  7. Are your current friends starting to bore you? No worries, backpacking almost always guarantee the opportunity to make new lifelong friendships.
  8. Are you in a committed relationship and you want to test your boundaries? Go backpacking together, as it will help conclude if you two are meant to be together or if you have to work on your relationship when you return.
  9. Hostels are inexpensive, if you have the financial resources to stay in resorts all the time, you may still consider hostels over resorts for those who don’t wish to lay around a pool all day and want to experience a greater community of travellers.
  10. Anyone who isn’t sure about the current city they are living in, backpacking provides an opportunity to experience life in various cities over a short period of time. Take up work opportunities abroad and let life happen in another city, you may discover that you are home in another city.

For those who are considered about their finances, check out my previous article highlighting how to master your finances while traveling abroad and 10 Simple Rules How To Travel On Budget During Your Vacation.

Don’t worry about being too old to backpack; I will be there with you.


Information about the Author

About Rafael Reis, StudentdestinationsRafael Reis from studentdestinations.ca has been creating lifestyle and financial literature since 2009. As a Partner of Student Destinations, Rafael hopes to empower millennials to achieve their bucket list as early as possible. Through informative content and apps, Rafael believes he can help people reach their goals. Travel is Rafael’s passion and he plans to travel the world before 40.

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