Travel is a pretty big word, covering everything from a day hike to a multi-week bender across a continent. How we travel also changes, not just the means, but the habits and plans.
So one netizen asked the internet how people’s travel style had shifted over the years and why. People shared their stories, tips, and new habits, so get comfortable and prepare to scroll, upvote and comment your thoughts below. We also got in touch with Paul from TravMonkey and Chloe Gunning, blogger and creative producer from WanderlustChloe to learn some of their travel tips.
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In the last year or so, I’ve stopped trying to do everything. I’ve found that my happiest travel moments were when I made no plans and just did whatever felt right in the moment. Sometimes that might be just finding one spot I want to be and just soaking up my surroundings for the day. It’s hard to stay present when I’m worried about trying to do it all and see it all.
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I used to have an extensive list of places I wanted to visit, and used to cram 1-2 countries into every vacation. But now – I am more likely to go to a single place and really enjoy what it has to offer.
I also used to be interested in super expensive countries (eg. Amsterdam, Singapore) but now that I’ve been to one, I have almost zero desire to go to another and spend incredible amounts of money on basic things like accommodations and meals. I’d rather go to places that are more affordable, because I find them more enjoyable when I am not worried about blowing through 150$ a day.. looking at you Amsterdam.
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FOOD TOURS. What an amazing interactive way to not only learn about the food, but also culture and history. They’re pricey but soooo worth it. You get to discover so many new local foods that don’t usually make it onto “must eat” lists.
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Bored Panda got in touch with Paul from TravMonkey and Chloe Gunning, blogger and creative producer from WanderlustChloe to ask some questions about travel and what tips they would have given a younger self. Paul had a pretty straightforward answer for “himself”: “Don’t compromise. Do what you want to do, not what others want or how it’s perceived. Life is short and to have the freedom to travel without the responsibilities and pressures at a younger age is a privilege and a life-changing experience.”
“Be more adventurous! I wish I’d said yes to a few more experiences on my earlier travels. If I could go back and do things again, I think I’d be a lot more carefree!” Chloe shared with us, both emphasizing the fact that travel stress can overwhelm so many people that their trip never actually leaves them satisfied.
I have tried to get into the mindset that for vacation travel the fun starts when you leave the house so finding ways to enjoy the drive to the airport, the wait in the airport, if having to lay over have longer ones to reduce stress. Airport restaurants might not be the best but browse and find something to enjoy, shop the shops even if not buying anything, have a friend drive you to the airport/pick you up and use that time to connect, have a good book to read…. I used to work hard to minimize the time in the airport, showing up just in time, short layovers… but I realized the stress wasn’t worth the gain
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When I travel somewhere, I always save a day and plan nothing. Then I’m able to fit in things I come across as I travel (but didn’t plan for) or I just roam and recharge and go where the day takes me. I call it my Ferris Bueller day
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When I first started traveling – it was hostels all the way. Now I couldn’t ever imagine myself going to one. Why share a room with people who have alarms set for their 5am flight and need to share one bathroom
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A lot of the responses in this post come from people who have reevaluated their spending habits on a trip, so we wanted to hear Paul’s opinion. “I think it’s a balance, if your money is unlimited then why not pay? I tend to do so within my own budget when traveling. For example, I’d definitely rather pay a few pounds/dollars to take cash out where I am rather than have to get to the other side of a big city to find an ATM that doesn’t charge. It’d potentially cost me a few pounds/dollars to get there and an extra hour to find the ATM. Pay a little more for the convenience and I could be relaxing by the beach or sitting in a bar sipping a cold beer instead of rushing around a city getting stressed.”
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I’ve lost pretty much all interest in night life. I’ve found that bars/clubs are pretty much the same everywhere. I like having one nightcap, getting to bed early, and waking up refreshed.
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We used to fly every vacation. It gave us the possibility to go to some wonderful places. But now with how bad the airlines are I have zero interest in flying. We are doing more road trips and are much happier for it. Even though it limits our range.
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As a family, we are getting to the stage where I want to go back to a handful of places that I’ve been to and liked.
We’ve had too many trips thats haven’t been up to expectations and it’s such a shame when you have so few opportunities to travel around school holidays and each roll of the dice is so expensive.
I feel quite old going back to the same place year after year but I think I’m happy with it.
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Chloe thought that these preferences might be a result of aging. “In my 20s I was so happy to have experiences on my travels, but I’d often be on a budget. In my 30s, I’ve felt happier spending more money in order to cram more into my trips. It’s interesting though, as sometimes the slower, more budget-friendly options lead to more interesting experiences,” she shared with Bored Panda.
I’m over big cities.
Ten years ago, I would definitely label myself a ‘city person’. I loved London, Amsterdam, Rome, and especially New York. The hustle and bustle! All the things to do and see! So many different experiences! And I loved how you could just disappear into a mass of people.
But over the years I guess I’ve slowed down in my traveling? Nowadays, I’d much rather spend a week in a smaller town, one of those where you know your way around after a day or three, where your days are basically “visit one thing each day, then spend the rest of the day relaxing”. It’s not like I’m completely over cities, as long as their city centre is small and walkable. I adored Florence, Venice (the historic centre is pretty small), Bath, Siena, Chartres, Reims… I went back to London last year, and to New York only last month, and with both cities at the end of my trip I was honestly vaguely relieved to be gone. It wasn’t that I hadn’t enjoyed my stay, it was all just… too much.
Anyway it’s gonna be a bit of a challenge next year since my plan is to go to Japan, including two weeks in Tokyo, so we’ll see how that goes
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When I travel with family I book a local photographer for a shoot. They know great spots and we get pictures of all of us without having to stress. It’s cheap, often not much more than a good restaurant meal, and when I’m too old to travel those pics will be priceless.
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Less is more. Less planning, less luggage, less expectations, less stress. Less is more
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Lastly, we asked each of them what are the best things someone can do to prepare for traveling to a new destination. Paul stated that “before traveling to a new destination a little bit of research is required. I’m not massively into planning and like to go with the flow much more but any traveller really needs to know the basics before they go. Check country entry requirements, visa requirements, your passport (make sure it fits the requirements, has enough pages, etc), healthcare/vaccinations, the currency, and the rough costs before you land.”
Hop on hop off busses. Before kids, never. Once we had kids, we found it was an easy way to get an overview of cities, them going back later to those places we really want to see. Air conditioning and comfy seats. If the kids took quick naps, all the better.
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How much I just want to go somewhere warm and beachy and chill the f**k out. If I am somewhere new I will take a day or half-day and see what cool stuff there is to see, but I am there to rest and drink after work’s busy season, and a good dose of vitamin D before enduring the rest of the gray months in the Pacific Northwest winter.
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When I was younger I would have been appalled at some of the places I’m willing to stay and conditions I’m willing to tolerate. If you had told my younger self that 10-15 years later I’d be taking a packed bus across Azerbaijan to go stay in the mountains at a boarding house with hay-stuffed mattresses I wouldn’t have believed you.
But those rougher adventures have always been my favorite. I recently just experienced a super typhoon and was without power or water for a week. That’s been one of my top 10 travel experiences.
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“It’s always good to know how much the taxi from the airport when you land should be costing you before you get there. Also, it’s worth reading up on the latest scams in certain destinations if you are backpacking for a decent length of time. If you have the opportunity in life to travel, do it. It’s the best investment you could make in yourself. It’s cliched but it does broaden your horizons, gives you a different perspective on the world whilst finding out more about yourself along the way.”
Someone told me that you’ll never remember how much that cool thing you want to do cost, but you will always remember the cool thing.
It made sense to me. Thinking back at my trips I can’t remember how much any single event was. Going in the Colosseum or eating a nice meal, whatever it may be.
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Get a journal and write in it every day. Reading back on the small sensory details I wrote down (that I normally would have forgotten if not written down that day) helps me go back and put myself in that time and place again.
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Tours. I’ve mainly traveled alone. When I was younger, it was easier to think I knew all about what I should see and what I was seeing. Now I appreciate being in a small group, whether just for a day or several, and having someone talk me through it a bit.
EDIT: I should have specified: we’ll-vetted, small-group tours. I don’t want to be on a bus stopping for obligatory photo-ops and listening to pre-recorded descriptions.
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Chloe shared her advice. “Read as much as you can before you go so you’re not glued to your phone when you get there. Plot out a few activities for your week, but leave plenty of free time too. Also, check information about safety – sadly, this is more relevant to women, but it’s important to be prepared. I don’t think you’ll ever regret traveling! Pack in as much as you can in your 20s when you don’t have much responsibility! Life changes a lot as you get older.”
Valuing personal comfort more: comfy bed, private bathroom, upgraded seat. Once you get a fancy airplane seat it’s hard to go back.
Also, I mostly travel solo and I’m not as shy talking to strangers — either other travelers or locals. This has made a big difference
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How much I love staying in fully equipped apartments, especially with a little one. Having one or even two bedrooms and a washer dryer is an absolute game changer. I’m definitely willing to spend more for that added comfort.
On that note, I’ve learned you need to account for comfort and not everything needs to be walked to or going on public transport. Taxis/Ubers are worth the money when you’re tired or can’t get there conveniently.
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Points and miles have been a game changer for us. We have been able to visit hotels and destinations that would have otherwise financially been out of reach. It has also enabled us to fly first/business class on most trips and it’s so nice to actually enjoy long haul flights instead of dreading them.
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“Also, you don’t need lots of money to have an amazing time. Many of my favorite adventures have involved budget hostels and long bus journeys. They’re often the way you meet amazing people!” You can find Paul’s Instagram here, his Twitter here, and his new site which shows what airports have “beyond airport security before you travel,” here. Chloe’s website can be found here and her Instagram is here.
AirBNB vs Hotels: I love the concept of AirBNBs but I’ve had more and more issues with them. I stray towards hotels mostly now.
Flights: I detest economy. I value my comfort. Anything longer than 90m and I’ll go up a comfort level. If that means I travel less, so be it.
Flights: I opt for no layovers whenever possible now. It sometimes costs a bit extra or means I have to use ground travel when I arrive, but cancellations on my 2nd leg has caused me enough problems that I don’t want to deal with it anymore.
Airport lounges: I pay for access now. Having a more comfortable seat and access to free coffee (and snacks, food, drinks if available) is worth it for me. If it means I don’t get to travel as much as I want, so be it.
Cruises: I didn’t understand the draw of cruises. Finally took one. Cruises are now solidly in my rotation.
TL;DR — as I get older I get grumpier and value comfort, ease of travel and avoiding the unknown as much as possible.
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I wear a mask when on planes and trains and tight indoor settings.
In my teens- twenties I stayed in backpackers/hostels, in my thirties I moved on to hotels, now on my fourth decade, I’m back to hostels.
Save money, see the world, or in my case, see NZ.
I have started booking hotels when going to family events instead of sharing one bathroom with nine other people. I always have anxiety about taking too long, especially in the shower. I’m willing to pay to not be an anxious wreck my whole visit.
The biggest thing I learned last trip was to factor in time to relax instead of jamming in every possible experience. I’m a much better person and happier traveler after some time on a couch with my headphones and knitting.
I have a kid. I understand why people love resorts now
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Flying business class at a minimum when traveling overseas is an acceptable luxury and expense.
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In my 20s: spend a couple days in a country to get the vibe and check it off my list. In my 30s: stay in a cool city for 2-3 weeks and do some day trips or overnights. Cities change when you dig into them and not just pass through them.
I need extra days off when I get back…. I used to be able to work the next day after coming back.
I keep my phone charged so I can film the next docudrama about to happen midair.
People are going nuts on airplanes lately ?
I have less patience for bad service or other travelers who are rude but I also don’t care to engage those people. I tune them out and I am selective with my attention span.
My actual travel style changes a bit depending on where I go but I’ve crossed the threshold of being an experienced traveler.
Now I try to do what I want when I want to as much as possible. I don’t care about impressing other people. I don’t worry if something I’m doing is touristy or cool.
I’m the opposite, I’ve become highly anti chain hotel even though I’m about to get life time Platinum Marriot status. I’ve been loving the Airbnbs lately, and I love being able to go back for a mid day relax, which you really don’t get the space for at a normal hotel.
I stayed at an Airbnb recently with a Soviet Theme, one that was 600 years old built by Venetians, and a random apartment with monkey wall paper. I’m loving it.
Lately too I’ve been focusing on places that are good to walk around in, rather than being famous for a particular site
Finding off beaten path things to see and do. Also going on local city Reddit’s and asking them what to see and do .
We did it for Vancouver and Calgary, we found some neat breweries and sites.
As our family grew to 6 we realized that most of the middle to higher end chains have occupancy restrictions that are a bit tough to beat with 4 kids running around.
But we have found that the old school motels with all of the rooms having their own door to the outside have become KING. They don’t see/care how many kids you fit in there. No hallways to carry your s**t down.
And at the end of the night, we can close the door with them safely in bed and sit outside our door and enjoy a drink together, something that absolutely can’t be done in modern hotels.
Finding really cool rehabbed ones has become our travel goal.
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Paying more for fewer flights also reduces the chance of one delayed flight causing missed connections and having to spend even more time in transit. Arriving exhausted after long layovers and already long flight times requires more recovery time before I can get to the fun part of the trip.
I know it’s a luxury, but I also can’t imagine going back to economy for long flights. I can’t afford first class, but that mid-tier with bigger seats and adequate leg room is such an improvement and worth the extra money if I have it.
I am 65 and have traveled a bit. These days I want my own room and bathroom. I need to get away from people and have some quiet time. The days of crashing on a couch, hostel, or sharing a room with a group of people is in the past for me. I also do not mind a nice chain hotel. Especially if breakfast and a hot tub are in the mix. My husband still likes to spend long days in the car. I have turned into a stop often piddle around kind of traveler. That said, I really still enjoy traveling.
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A country can have a lot more to offer than just it’s capital city.
Give yourself breaks when traveling. A lot of people try to pack everything in and all it causes is stress.
If you are traveling in a group, give yourself breaks from others. Some people want to do everything together, and that can lead to a lot of fighting.
I value my time more than I value my money these days. I’ll spend some extra to avoid a long layover. I also used to avoid airport restaurants mostly because of the cost. These days though if the waiting time aligns with mealtime I’ll spring for something.
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I think, from a lot of observation and talking to other people,the most unusual thing I do now is travel faster than I used to. Far more people seem to do the opposite as they get older. I used to spend a LOT of time in each place I stopped.. now I tend to get bored quicker and move on to somewhere else.I’m more restless now and there are too many places where I feel like I’ve seen it all before…
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When I started out, I thought tours and doing touristy stuff in general wasn’t “authentic” and that other traveler’s would judge me so I never really did any of that.
Eventually, I realised that I did actually want to do those things, and one time in Singapore, I really wanted to go to Universal Studios, so I did. When I got back to the hostel I was talking to a seasoned traveler, I was so embarrassed to tell him what I’d been up to, but when I asked him he really excitedly told me that he had been at the waterpark all day. It made me realise that those traveler’s who might judge you aren’t as common as you might think, and are just self conscious kids (like I was).
Tl;dr: Doing more touristy stuff and not caring what others think.
I’m willing to pay more to be comfortable. Also, I’m completely over packing like a minimalist. I don’t overpack, but there are more items I’m willing to include in my bag for both convenience and comfort.
At first I didn’t even consider travelling at “weird hours”. I tried to arrive in hotels or Airbnbs at reasonable hours, having lunch at lunch time, flying at the rush hours and taking the public transportation as any other normal day.
With time, I ONLY book places with 24/h reception (or automatic reception), I travel at the weirdest hours and I feel much calmer, save a lot of money and I enjoy the places differently.
Marriotts all day, every day. My change is requesting an extra day off when I get home because I’m so damn tired.
Traveling with a small suitcase. That’s been a game changer. Paying $$$ for really nice and top hotels.
I almost always head back to the hotel every day mid-aft for a recharge, both the phone and my body. Generally a good nap or at least a solid, under the covers lie down with some mindless TV.
I used to just hit the road and figure out where I was gonna stay when I got to my destination. I didn’t care how funky the hotel was. That has changed in a big way after some of the experiences I have gone through. Rats in the room, screaming prostitutes in the room next door, people coming and going all night and talking very loudly and once a meth hotel and I thought i had gone to hell.
I’ve started renting motorcycles every time I travel. It’s more expensive but as a big motorcyclist I love the freedom it gives you, I can explore a city on my own terms, parking is a breeze, and (if the country/state allows it) I can lane split and avoid traffic completely. Definitely a game changer
No more hostels – it’s a private hotel room or I’m not going lol
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Thought I would never enjoy beach holidays..
The travel style I learned by necessity — backpack, hostels, hitchhiking, rail — is still the same kind of travel I do today.
My accommodations have improved. But I still pack ultralight — as if I’m going to have to carry everything up a mountain at some point. I’ll still stay in hostels if they have a private room with an en suite. It’s still the best way to get information about where you are fast.
Saving hotel points/airline miles.
It feels like the miles and points are getting devalued every few years. I’m no longer saving up miles, I use them as soon as I can.
Trying to look stylish or packing extra clothes to fit in to a specific place I was going(ex: extra fancy/trendy clothes when traveling in big city like NYC/Paris/London) . Now I’m all about maximum comfort and minimal, versatile pieces that fit into a carryon.
I book direct as much as I can – hotels, flights, tours, restaurants, etc. It sometimes ends up costing a bit more but when I had to cancel a whole year of travel plans back in 2020 I got 95% of my money back; almost all the people I knew who booked through discount companies did not.
I don’t do restaurants except for dinner. I go to the grocery store periodically as I travel and buy fruit, bread, cured meats, wine, and something sweet, then work my way through it as I go. Healthier, cheaper, and a fascinating experience.
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Spending a little extra for a better seat on the plane.
If I’m not flying business class I’m not flying. Economy has become the greyhound of the skies.
Going to airport lounges! While returning from Singapore I had the best experience in the Premium lounge. They’re not all the same but it beats the restaurant in my airports!
Had two children in the last four years, so now travel is more exhausting than non-travel.
Always travelled economy and had budget accommodation. I fly business class now but still only travel with carry on.. I book hotels in advance which I never really worried about before. I’d rather a comfortable flight rather than a premium room.