Travel Preferences That Show You've Become an Adult

Travel Preferences That Show You’ve Become an Adult

Travel preferences change over time. Here are the differences you may have observed travelling as a student back then and travelling as a working adult now.

I’m not sure if the recent Europe trip is a sign that I’m getting older. Things I used to love doing as a 19-year-old student without a single care in the world just make me feel tired, wishing for it to be over, or make me think ‘I’m too old for this!’.

I know some of these musings may make me sound far older than my ‘age group’, but do let me know if you can identify with them. I present to you here 10 vivid differences between a Travelling Student and a Travelling-Working Adult:

Hostels are no longer for me

travel As a working adult, a good hotel is always appreciated.

I made this statement after my trip to South Korea last year, where I had a rather unpleasant stay at a hostel with their weird inhabitants. Essentially, my roommates wanted to leave the windows open for ventilation and a lot of mosquitoes came flying in. As a result, I had a sleepless and itchy night. There was also a strange lady who called me ‘Miss Sing-a-poo’ whenever she saw me. It was kinda freaky when I met her along the way back from the toilet.

Therefore – no more sharing of rooms with random strangers and tolerating their snoring and weird habits. No more tolerating shared bathrooms with strange looking hair of dubious origins on the floor. I just want to laze around, do what I want, whenever I feel like it, and I don’t want to be judged for it. I would prefer some privacy rather than having bedtime conversations with other strangers and travellers, or strange travellers.

Also read: 5 Plush Hotels That are Taking Good Sleep Very Seriously

12 hour flights have become intolerable

I hate long flights. My neck aches terribly when I lie on one side and try to sleep. So do my knees after some time. I don’t really care how awesome the entertainment system is. I just want to… Get out of the plane. Back in those ‘student’ days, I’d get so excited about taking the plane, trying my best to watch all the movies on the entertainment system to get my money’s worth. Not to mention drinking all the wine and beer that’s available. Now, I just ask for water and some tea.

I have developed an immutable relationship with coffee

A cappuccino in the morning is a must when travelling.

Before I left for my trip, I used to function on 2-4 cups of coffee in office everyday. I thought things would be different after I started travelling. Nope. I found myself yearning for a cuppa every morning. My brain yearns for a siesta almost every afternoon. While waiting for lunch at a restaurant, my mouth unconsciously stretches into a yawn. That also tends to happen after seeing the 90th monument, painting, or portrait in a day.

Also read: Coffee Lovers, Get Your Fix the Right Way at These Places

I will now pay for good food

I appreciate good food like these awesome oysters we had in Lisbon.

Back in the days, with a tiny student stipend, I used to go around hunting for the cheapest places to eat. It’s easier in Asia because there is always street food, which is affordably priced and tastes really good. In Europe, good food tends to be found in restaurants, and now with a steady stream of income, I really don’t mind having some of that. I’d rather pay a premium for good food than have the cheapest paella in Barcelona, only to find out that it’s a tourist trap.

Also read: The Chick List: 10 Droolworthy Asian Fried Chicken Dishes

I no longer need to see everything

The Royal Palace of Madrid was nice but when asked if I would like to visit another palace in the suburbs, I said no. 

Some places, like the umpteenth historical monument and museum in Madrid, are just not worth the energy, time, and laborious climb up the stairs. I’d rather go back to the hotel and have a siesta, or chill at a cafe sipping a cup of cappuccino.

Also read: Tips to Surviving Madrid on a Budget

Shop first, regret later

El Corte Images, that’s where we got the luggage!

It was only in Spain when Zara had an awesome sale did I discover my love for shopping. The other thing I learnt from the many Zara sale outlets is that you got to buy something you like on first sight. Do the regretting later if you have to because you will have no regrets. It’s true. It is a pain to go back to the same place to find the same shoe or dress you left behind. It’s even worse in a sale – chances are, that awesome top you left behind was gone in two seconds.

Also read: Best Outlet Malls to Shop for Designer Bags

Backpacking now wears me out

Yes, I gave in and bought a luggage.

Yes, I have learnt that backpacks are not the best tools for storing shopping bags. It can be rather strenuous on the shoulders and you’ve got to unpack every single item each time you reach a new hotel or guesthouse. With a nice luggage, the shopping stays obediently at one corner, and can be easily compressed when you sit on the luggage.

Also read: 23 Telltale Signs You’re Addicted to Backpacking

I’ve cut back on the alcohol

Fancy a Budweiser dark?

The beer in Czech Republic was so cheap – 1.80 Euro (SGD 3) for a pint. It was the same as the price of water. In my younger years, I would be happy to gulp down that beer since it is much cheaper than in my home country. I am now aware of the potential consequences of my actions. It will come in the form of a bulging tummy that will take aeons to flatten, so I now restrain myself, and opt for juice instead.

Also read: Oktoberfest: World’s Most Talked About Beer Festival is Coming

Long bus journeys are now intolerable

Long distance bus rides can be a challenge, especially without any stops.

Yes, it is very tough. My longest record was during a 14 hour bus ride across the Nepal-Indian Border to Kathmandu. And now, even six hours is pushing it.

Being late is not cool

Tickets that cost us 76 Euros each. It was quite painful for us to have been late. Lucky for us, there were other travel alternatives!

I used to be that super cool traveller, running across airports from terminal to terminal to catch a flight, and jumping onto trains at the very last moment. But on a recent trip, I missed a train (one is far too many), came close to missing a flight, and a long distance bus. I never ever want to do so again. It’s not just about the cost involved – which can be very, very pricey – it’s also about the inconvenience caused to others as well. If you’re going to be late, then I’m going to leave without you. Period.

Also read: Travel Cheap! Tricks to Bargain Holidays Without Bargaining

I guess as a working adult, having more freedom to spend does change one’s travel preferences and tolerance for things. Also, after several months of being engaged in a routine office job – it’s nice to spend the money you have worked so hard to earn. Relaxing and enjoying the moment, especially since you have come so far, has become more important.

Do you find that you have changed as a traveller, during your school days and compared to now, when you have started working? Do share your thoughts – I would love to hear from you.

Contributed by The Travelling Squid.

About Author

Phebe Bay

Phebe is the author of The Travelling Squid, a travel blog filled with tips and anecdotes of her "career of travelling", which began at a tender age of 19. Despite having been to many top destinations, India continues to remain as Phebe's favourite place in the world. Phebe has a bad sense of direction but continues to travel, sometimes alone because of her quirky habits and intensely inquisitive mind.