Hey guys.....I've decided that I want to do a spot of travelling before I die. I've got no imminent plans to die or anything, but thought that I may as well do it before I need a zimmer-frame or a walking stick.
Here's my dilemma. I'm old. I'm 36 and should have done this travel thing in my 20's. It's going to take a bit of planning and saving, but I've always fancied going to east asia / australasia so thought I may as well just go. What are your thoughts on meeting people and accommodation? I've probably got a few quid more than most first time travellers so I could afford cheap / slightly less cheap hotels - but I don't want to throw money away on where I sleep and I do want to meet people as I go.
Plus at 36 will other travellers actually talk to me or will I be branded a "tourist" as opposed to a traveller.
I thought I'd just start off for 2 / 3 months to begin with. Thoughts appreciated.
Age is largely irrelevant as an independent traveller. I've had great conversations in hostel lounges with people in their seventies, and every age below that. Sure, most people will be in their twenties, simply because that's when it's easiest for people to set off travelling, but 36 definitely isn't old.
Doing a quick search for "too old" through the forum, there've been people aged 24 (!) through 47 asking that same question, and they all got the same answer: you're never too old.
You'll only be thought of as a tourist if you go on package tours. But stay in guesthouses or hostels (enjoying the luxury of a private room - I've been doing the same pretty much all the time since I've had the money for it), strike up conversations with the other people staying there, make your own way from place to place, and you're just a traveller, same as everyone else. (And hell, who cares what people think or "brand" you as?! Just be yourself and enjoy! There'll be plenty of others doing the same who'd be delighted to get to know you.)
You'll only be thought of as a tourist if you go on package tours. But stay in guesthouses or hostels (enjoying the luxury of a private room -
Okay....now this is a really dumb question - but is there an age limit on hostels? They've always been called Youth Hostels in the UK, and it's been a few years since I could pass as a Youth
Generally there is no age limit except in the IH or International Hostels* (most hostels are not IH - they're independent). In places like Vietnam and Thailand, you don't necessarily have to stay in hostels to get a cheap place - the guesthouses are quite nice and priced to compete with hostels. Recently I paid as little as $9. for a private room in Can Tho, Vietnam. Have a look see at one of the hostel booking sites such as hostelworld.com
By the way, I just turned 65, and it's true that anyone with a pack on his back in the more exotic locales is not judged by their age at all. Besides, there are a number of us ancients around. I look with disgust on those who insist on staying at 5* hotels with a raft of luggage that would sink the Titanic!
- even at IH hostels, this is not always followed
The only HI hostels (Hostelling International; used to be known as YHA, but the "youth" got dropped purposefully) I know which still have an age limit are those in Bavaria, Germany - and everyone ridicules those for it. (Everywhere else people who've outgrown the 18-21 party hostel scene consider HI hostels a good first bet for the quieter atmosphere they generally offer.)
I suggest you travel. age doesn't matter. hehe! go and enjoy.
Jeez!!!! I'm 35 1/2 and feel far from old! In fact, I feel a whole lot better than I did in my 20s.
Trust me--it's all in your head. Once you get into travel mode you'll be just one of the travellers!
Hey there. I got 42 years here. I am about to head out for two years of drifting. There are lots of older folks out there who go the backpack route and stay in hostels. In 2007 I met a 75 year old Brit who always wanted to sail through the Panama Canal. He was in Cartagena finding a sailboat that would take him. He crewed his passage.
Now, that guy was pretty gregarious and spent a lot of time chatting with folks of all ages. He would go to dinner and lunch and things with them...They never invited him to the clubs, it's true...But I don't think he wanted that anyway.
But back to your question; Have you aged yourself out of being part of the gang....The answer is "Yes". I don't think anyone will believe you are the dreaded "Tourist"(which many people use as a catch all for a slack jawed, unhip, guidebook maven) But you will feel out of step with what the 20yrolds find important. You'll probably find that they think a different way about different things, and are particularly stubborn about accepting and more seasoned point of view, but that is to be expected and it's how you thought at 20.
But you won't be ostracized just 'cause a your age. You'll get along fine and you'll meet lots of folks of all ages.
Good luck out there,
Thanks people - very reassuring. Guess it's just an case of getting on and doing it!
As a completely stupid question (i'm going to have a lot of these before I go so just bear with me if you can) - anyone ever take a laptop with them whilst travelling? Other than the risk it's going to get stolen (big risk I presume especially if I'm on my own) would it just be completely impractical?
When I started travelling five years ago, I was pretty much always the only one with a laptop. This year, I couldn't walk into a hostel's lounge without seeing at least half a dozen of the things. They've gone completely mainstream amongst travellers.
They're a bit of a bother, because yes, you always need to keep an eye on them (much easier if you have a private room, though! I still wouldn't leave it there for the day (too many people (cleaning staff e.a.) have access to your room), but otherwise it's much less of a worry than it'd be if you were staying in a dorm room). And they're totally worth bringing along. Photo storage, burning DVDs with backups, having all your bookmarks right there, writing and reading emails offline so you only need a couple of minutes for sending and receiving in the overprices internet cafes (or can do it on the fly in a cafe offering 10 minutes of free wifi for customers), keeping notes for a travel blog, and most of all it's the only trusted way to do internet banking (otherwise you need to ask someone back home to do that for you).