Traveling changes your life. Whether you want to go on an epic vacation around Europe, an Australian road trip or a safari in Africa, you will discover incredible places and meet amazing people. Traveling is also a fantastic form of education that teaches you about different cultures, different languages, the lives of others and the majesty of nature. But not only that, it also teaches you a lot about yourself.
I’ve been traveling for over five years now, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’ve learned from them. Because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did, I’ve compiled a small list of things to know before you start traveling the world, which I hope you’ll find inspiring. So, here are 10 essential things to know before traveling the world.
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1. Traveling with the right person is just as good as traveling solo
Traveling solo, traveling as a couple and with friends are totally different things. I’m lucky to have experienced solo female travel and couple travel. In fact, I even traveled with strangers. There’s no lack of blog posts explaining why solo travel is better than traveling with someone, yet I don’t think it is true. Don’t get me wrong, traveling solo is awesome. But if you’re telling people you’d rather travel solo than with someone else, you’ve been traveling with the wrong gal.
Couple travel done with the right companion is one of the most beautiful and fulfilling experiences you can have. Traveling solo is great but you’re seeing all these places and experiencing the world on your own and you’ve got no one to share your memories with. Solo travel is good when you’re lost, trying to figure yourself out or need time to think.
When you travel with your special someone, you share amazing memories, and it creates a bond between the two of you that no one else can understand. My boyfriend and I are inseparable, which might be why I enjoy traveling with him so much. I did enjoy my 3 years of traveling solo, but let’s face it nobody wants to end up alone. So finding the right person to share your adventures with is the best.
2. Enjoy every moment
Nowadays people seem to be obsessed with showing off their “perfect lives” on social media, and therefore they do not live in the moment. And it’s the same, or even worse, when they travel. They just go somewhere take a picture and leave. They don’t even take the time to stop and look with their own eyes. All that matters is that they have a selfie to post on social media.
I mean I feel like most people travel just so they can have a good Instagram shot of themselves in front of someplace, which isn’t the first purpose of travel.
I never have internet on my phone, other than the wifi. This way I can’t go online when I’m outside exploring a city or hiking. So try to enjoy your travels by living in the moment instead of just posing on the beach and sharing the pic with your thousands of followers. You’ll get more of your travels as well if you are aware of what’s going on around you, and if you actually take the time to enjoy.
3. Traveling requires sacrifices
If I had a penny every time I heard “you’re so lucky to travel so much”, trust me I’d be rich by now. People who travel are not lucky or rich, they just make travel their priority. Just to make it clear, I’m talking as a 29-year-old single female with no debt and no kids.
I don’t have a lot of money, far from it, and didn’t win the lottery yet I’m abroad 365 days a year. I travel because I spend all the spare money I have on experiences. Except for my computer and my phone, which are the most valuable things I have, I don’t own anything. I don’t have a house, a car, any furniture, nothing stored anywhere. Literally, all I have is my backpack and the clothes that are in it.
Traveling full-time (or a lot) requires daily sacrifices. I don’t buy anything, I never go shopping, I don’t smoke, drink or party as well which helps me save tons of money. If you want to travel a lot, all you need to do is switch your priorities.
4. Every hello ends with a goodbye
Traveling solo doesn’t mean you’ll be alone, on the contrary, you might end up spending more time with people than on your own. Trust me, the opportunities to bond with other travelers or locals are endless. Whether you stay in hostels, join day tours and excursions or become a volunteer, you will always find someone to talk to. It’s actually easier to meet other people when you travel solo than when you travel with a friend.
When traveling, you quickly form very close friendships with some individuals, and it’s amazing, probably one of the best parts of travel. I love meeting other travelers and talking to them, but saying goodbye is inevitable, and it’s hard. Yes, you will be sad and disappointed, but it’s all part of the game.
5. Be a responsible traveler
You probably know it by now, our planet is in very bad shape and it’s not going to get better any time soon. Travel is not really eco-friendly, but it can be if you know how to reduce your plastic waste and how to travel sustainably. Taking the train or bus instead of flying, buying local, volunteering, and choosing an eco-friendly destination are just a few ways to travel more responsibly.
I’m a big advocate of sustainable travel, and I am proof that traveling sustainably is not more expensive, on the contrary, investing in eco-friendly items will make you save money in the long run. Nowadays, I feel like it’s really important to be aware of our ecological impact and try to reduce it as much as we can if we want to keep exploring the world for the years to come.
6. Slow travel is the best
Slow travel is the way to go people! I’m probably one of the slowest travelers out there, and I really enjoy this way of traveling. I definitely can’t imagine myself seeing 20 countries/cities in a few months or less. I don’t think you can properly enjoy being in a country if you only have a few days somewhere. Of course, you do see things, but you don’t have time to get a feel of the country, really see the backstreets and discover the secret spots, the culture and meet the locals which is what travel is all about.
I know not everybody gets to travel for weeks on end. So if you are going somewhere, I recommend you try to see less and enjoy the few places you’ll see instead of trying to see everything because you won’t enjoy it at all. Sometimes less is better.
7. Don’t go to places because they are “Instagrammable”. You’ll be disappointed
I think you can tell I’m not really a big fan of Instagram and social media in general. I’ve recently read that most Millennials choose their travel destinations on how instagrammable it is. I’m a Millennial and I understand that you want to go somewhere pretty. But I think you should choose your destination according to your interests and what you want to do. Everything you see on Instagram is either edited or fake. So if you choose your travel destination based on what you saw on Instagram, there are high chances you will be extremely disappointed when you get there.
Travel influencers stay hours at one spot and take a lot of pictures to get the perfect shot, then they edit the pic and share it with you. Don’t be fooled though, sometimes there’s actually so much editing on the picture the place doesn’t even look like it’s supposed to. Have you never wondered why travel influencers are always alone on their pics? Well, that’s because they’re editing the picture and removing people with Photoshop. Sorry, but your chances of being alone watching the hot air balloons in Cappadocia are extremely slim.
8. Traveling isn’t expensive or dangerous
Travel is not expensive, and it’s actually cheaper than living at home. I can travel anywhere in the world on $50 a day or less, so you can too! Think about it, when you travel you don’t pay things like home and car insurance, electricity, gas, internet, and so on! In some countries, you can live for as low as $20 per day.
A lot of people still think roaming the world is dangerous (ask your mom, I’m sure she thinks that!), yet it is not more dangerous than being at home. All you need to make your travels as smooth as possible is common sense. If there are things that you wouldn’t do at home, then don’t do them abroad. If somebody looks or sounds sketchy, don’t trust them. Go with your guts and trust your instinct.
9. Don’t forget your travel insurance
Travel is not dangerous, but no matter where you are in the world accidents happen. In over 5 years of traveling, I’ve had dozens of minor accidents, and without insurance, I would have had to pay thousands of dollars in hospital and doctor fees. I’m a budget traveler, and I really don’t like spending big amounts of money, especially on insurances but it’s always a good idea to have travel insurance.
Whether you are traveling for 5 days or 5 weeks, you should think about getting travel insurance for your trip. This is honestly the one thing I don’t go anywhere without. I’ve met people who traveled abroad without insurance and ended up in a bad accident that cost them thousands of dollars.
In some countries, the fees quickly add up and you can end up with a debt that would take years to pay off. You can purchase travel insurance from WorldNomads, they offer good coverage and are affordable.
10. Traveling is the best decision you can make
Travel is a beautiful thing, and you will meet amazing and inspiring people. Some of them will touch your heart, and you’ll remember them your whole life. It doesn’t matter where you go, we’re all human in the end. We all have feelings, and we’ve all been through something. We have different cultures, speak different languages and have different ways of doing things but we all want the same thing: to be happy and to feel fulfilled.
Traveling makes you go through a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It is incredibly beautiful, scary and exciting at the same. I have experienced things that I would never have if I had stayed home, I have met people who have changed my life, for better or worse. I have learned so many lessons, and I would certainly not be the person that I am today if I hadn’t decided to travel.
I’m glad I chose to travel and live abroad. Even if it’s not always perfect, I know I’m living my best life. I intend to keep traveling for many years, and I will probably make some more mistakes. But in the end, it’s all about experiencing the world the best we can. I hope you found my 10 travel tips helpful and educational. Do you have other tips to share with me? Let me know in the comments below!
Are you traveling soon? Don’t forget your travel insurance!
Travel insurance is the only thing I don’t go anywhere without. Your travel insurance covers you against travel risks such as lost or stolen luggage, trip cancellation, and most importantly, unexpected medical costs abroad. I like WorldNomads because they are backed by reputable insurers, have 24h assistance providers, and are affordable. Get a quote and read the policy details to ensure that it’s right for you. For more information, read my travel insurance page.
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