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.
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.
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.
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.