My 30 Best Travel Tips After 4 Years Traveling The World

Favorite Travel Tips

My Best Tips for World Travel

Travel Tips

It’s now been 4 years since I sold everything and left the United States to travel the world. These are the best travel tips I’ve discovered along the way.

It all started when I took a one-way flight from Miami to Guatemala City, leaping nervously into the unknown and leaving much of my old life behind while embarking on an epic travel adventure around the world.

It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve learned a lot since I first left. To celebrate my 4 year “travelversary”, I’ve decided to share a collection of my best and most useful travel tips to help inspire you to make travel a priority in your life.

Feel free to share your own best travel tips at the end!

1. Patience Is Important

Don’t sweat the stuff you can’t control. Life is much too short to be angry & annoyed all the time. Did you miss your bus? No worries, there will be another one. ATMs out of money? Great! Take an unplanned road trip over to the next town and explore. Sometimes freakouts happen regardless.

Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that it could be worse.

2. Wake Up Early

Rise at sunrise to have the best attractions all to yourself while avoiding crowds. It’s also a magical time for photos due to soft diffused light, and usually easier to interact with locals. Sketchy areas are less dangerous in the morning too. Honest hardworking people wake up early; touts, scammers, and criminals sleep in.

READ MORE: 15 Common Travel Scams

Favorite Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Laugh at Yourself

3. Laugh At Yourself

You will definitely look like a fool many times when traveling to new places. Rather than get embarrassed, laugh at yourself. Don’t be afraid to screw up, and don’t take life so seriously.

Once a whole bus full of Guatemalans laughed with glee when I forced our driver to stop so I could urgently pee on the side of the road. Returning to the bus and laughing with them gave me new friends for the rest of the journey.

4. Stash Extra Cash

Cash is king around the world. To cover your ass in an emergency, make sure to stash some in a few different places. I recommend at least a couple hundred dollars worth. If you lose your wallet, your card stops working, or the ATMs run out of money, you’ll be glad you did.

Some of my favorite stash spots include socks, under shoe inserts, a toiletry bag, around the frame of a backpack, even sewn behind a patch on your bag.

READ MORE: How To Protect Your Money Traveling

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Meet Local People

5. Meet Local People

Make it a point to avoid other travelers from time to time and start conversations with local people. Basic English is spoken widely all over the world, so it’s easier to communicate with them than you might think, especially when you combine hand gestures and body language.

Learn from those who live in the country you’re visiting. People enrich your travels more than sights do.

6. Pack A Scarf

I happen to use a shemagh, but sarongs also work great. This simple piece of cotton cloth is one of my most useful travel accessories with many different practical applications. It’s great for sun protection, a makeshift towel, carrying stuff around, an eye mask, and much more.

I can’t tell you how many times a scarf has come in handy around the world.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Observe Daily Life

7. Observe Daily Life

If you really want to get a feel for the pulse of a place, I recommend spending a few hours sitting in a park or on a busy street corner by yourself just watching day to day life happen in front of you.

Slow down your thoughts and pay close attention to the details around you. The smells, the colors, human interactions, and sounds. It’s a kind of meditation — and you’ll see stuff you never noticed before.

8. Back Everything Up

When my laptop computer was stolen in Panama, having most of my important documents and photos backed up saved my ass. Keep both digital and physical copies of your passport, visas, driver’s license, birth certificate, health insurance card, serial numbers, and important phone numbers ready to go in case of an emergency.

Backup your files & photos on an external hard drive as well as online with software like Backblaze.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Take Lots of Photos

9. Take Lots Of Photos

You may only see these places & meet these people once in your lifetime. Remember them forever with plenty of photos. Don’t worry about looking like a “tourist”. Are you traveling to look cool? No one cares. Great photos are the ultimate souvenir.

They don’t cost anything, they’re easy to share with others, and they don’t take up space in your luggage. Just remember once you have your shot to get out from behind the lens and enjoy the view.

10. There’s Always A Way

Nothing is impossible. If you are having trouble going somewhere or doing something, don’t give up. You just haven’t found the best solution or met the right person yet. Don’t listen to those who say it can’t be done.

Perseverance pays off. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told what I want isn’t possible, only to prove it wrong later when I don’t listen to the advice and try anyway.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Smile & Say Hello

11. Smile & Say Hello

Having trouble interacting with locals? Do people seem unfriendly? Maybe it’s your body language. One of my best travel tips is to make eye contact and smile as you walk by. If they smile back, say hello in the local language too. This is a fast way to make new friends.

You can’t expect everyone to just walk around with a big stupid grin on their face. That’s your job. Usually all it takes is for you to initiate contact and they’ll open up.

12. Splurge A Bit

I’m a huge fan of budget travel, as it allows you to travel longer and actually experience more of the fascinating world we live in rather than waste your hard-earned money on stuff you don’t need. In fact you can travel many places for $50 a day with no problems.

That said, living on a shoestring gets old after a while. It’s nice (and healthy) to go over your budget occasionally. Book a few days at a nice hotel, eat out at a fancy restaurant, or spend a wild night on the town.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Keep an Open Mind

13. Keep An Open Mind

Don’t judge the lifestyles of others if different from your own. Listen to opinions you don’t agree with. It’s arrogant to assume your views are correct and other people are wrong. Practice empathy and put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Embrace different possibilities, opportunities, people, suggestions and interests. Ask questions. You don’t have to agree, but you may be surprised what you’ll learn.

14. Try Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing.org is a large online community of travelers who share their spare rooms or couches with strangers for free. If you truly want to experience a country and it’s people, staying with a local is the way to go.

There are millions of couchsurfers around the world willing to host you and provide recommendations. It’s fun and safe too. Expensive hotels are not the only option, there are all kinds of cheap travel accommodation options out there.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Volunteer Occasionally

15. Volunteer Occasionally

Make it a point to volunteer some of your time for worthwhile projects when traveling. Not only is it a very rewarding experience, but you’ll often learn more about the country and its people while also making new friends.

There’s a great site called Grassroots Volunteering where you can search for highly recommended volunteer opportunities around the world.

16. Pack Ear Plugs

This should actually be #1 on the list. I love my earplugs! Muffle the sounds of crying babies, drunk Australians, barking dogs, honking horns, dormitory sex, natural gas salesmen, and more. A traveler’s best friend. These are my favorite earplugs for comfort & effectiveness.

READ MORE: My Complete Travel Gear Guide

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Don’t Be Afraid

17. Don’t Be Afraid

The world is not nearly as dangerous as the media makes it out to be. Keep an eye out for sketchy situations but don’t let that be the focus of your whole trip. Use common sense and you’ll be ok. Most people are friendly, trustworthy, generous, and willing to help you out.

This goes for women too. I realize I’m not a woman, but I’ve met plenty of experienced female travelers who agree.

18. Get Lost On Purpose

If you want to see the parts of town where real people live & work, you need to go visit them. The best way to do this is on foot — without knowing exactly where you’re going. Write down the name of your hotel so you can catch a taxi back if needed, then just pick a direction and start walking.

Don’t worry too much about stumbling into dangerous neighborhoods either, as locals will generally warn you before you get that far.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Eat Local Food

19. Eat Local Food

Think you already know what Mexican food tastes like? You’re probably wrong. Taste a bit of everything when you travel, especially if you don’t know what it is. Ask local people for recommendations. Eat street food from vendors with big lines out front.

I’ve been very sick only twice in my travels. Don’t be scared of the food.

READ MORE: The Food Traveler’s Handbook

20. Say Yes Often

Be impulsive and say yes when someone randomly invites you to meet their family, try a new activity, or explore a place you didn’t know existed. It’s these unexpected and unplanned situations that add spice to your travels and always turn into the best stories later.

Accept the kindness of strangers when you travel — you’ll have plenty of opportunities.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Slow Down

21. Slow Down

Please don’t try to cram 6 countries into 6 weeks of travel. All the good stuff happens when you really take the time to explore. You’ll learn about activities that aren’t in your guidebook and meet people who are eager to show you around.

I can honestly say that NONE of my best travel experiences happened within the first few days of arriving somewhere. Spend more time in fewer places for maximum enjoyment.

22. Keep Good Notes

My memory for details sucks. When I first started traveling the world 4 years ago, I didn’t keep a good journal, and now I’m regretting it. Information like the names of people I met, conversations I had, feelings about a new experience, or what a particular town smelled like.

If you ever want to write about your travels, these details are handy. These days I use an incredible note-taking app called Evernote, which I use as my 2nd brain. So useful for all kinds of applications — from planning trips to journaling about them later.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

23. Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Challenge yourself to try things that normally give you anxiety. The more you do this, the more that anxiety will fade away. Not a hiker? Go on more hikes. Have trouble talking to strangers? Talk to everyone. Scared of weird food? Eat the weirdest thing you can find.

The reason this works so well while traveling is because everything is already so different, what’s one more new/uncomfortable experience?

24. Don’t Plan Too Much

I cringe when readers ask how many days they should spend in a particular country or city. The truth is I have no idea what you’ll enjoy or who you’ll meet. I thought I’d rocket through Nicaragua in a week or two, but ended up living there for 4 months.

My advice is to pick a starting point, 1 or 2 must-do activities, and an ending point (or not). Then just let the universe determine the rest.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Pack Less Stuff

25. Pack Less Stuff

You don’t need 1/2 the gear you think you do to travel anywhere. We’ve all done it. It’s a right of passage for travelers to slowly become better at packing less. My first backpack was 70 liters packed full, my current bag is only 38 liters.

As a full-time vagabond, everything I own fits on my back. If you’re not sure about packing something, you don’t need it. It’s also possible to buy most things at your destination country if you discover you need them.

26. Listen To Podcasts

Podcasts are awesome. It’s like creating your own personal radio station and filling it with shows and music you always want to listen to. I never thought I’d actually look forward to a 10 hour bus ride. But with podcasts, it’s possible (well, as long as the seats are comfortable).

Time will fly by as you listen to incredible storytelling, fun music, or interviews with experts. Here are some of my favorites: This American Life, The Moth, RISK!, Radiolab, Smart Passive Income, and Electro-Swing.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Treat Your Body Well

27. Treat Your Body Well

Travel can throw your body out of whack. When you’re moving from place to place it’s difficult to maintain a workout routine, and many of us slack off. Or we don’t sleep enough. Or we eat too many cupcakes. I’m guilty of not flossing my teeth.

Remember to be nice to your body. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated, eat healthy, use sunscreen, and exercise often (check out this bodyweight routine, no gym required!). And, yes, flossing too I guess.

28. Stay In Touch

Remember to call your family & friends from time to time. Maybe surprise them and go old-school by sending a postcard (it’s in the mail, Mom!). Travel isn’t lonely, far from it. You constantly meet other people. But many of those relationships are fleeting. So maintaining a strong connection with the people who know you best is important.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Get Off the Beaten Path

29. Get Off The Beaten Path

I know it’s cliché, but you should still attempt it. Seek out interesting and unusual places that don’t see much tourism. Many memorable travel experiences have happened to me in areas that are not easy to visit. By all means travel to popular sites, but don’t rule out other locations just because they’re not on the tourist trail.

Although please realize that just because an area is remote or dangerous doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a life-changing experience.

30. Travel More

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed over the past 4 years, it’s that many people back home love to tell me how lucky I am while making excuses why they can’t travel. It’s too expensive. They can’t get time off work.

Who will feed their pets?

When I suggest solutions to these “problems”, they still don’t take action. Why? Because they’re often hiding behind the true reason: they’re scared.

Unfortunately most people who wait to travel the world never do.

You don’t need to sell all your worldly possessions and become a homeless vagabond like me. Just get out there more than you do now. Start with a weekend in a different state. Then maybe try a week in the country next door.

The new car, remodeling project, and iPhone can wait. If you truly want to travel more, you can make it happen. Career breaks are possible. You have friends who would love to watch your pets.

It’s a big, beautiful, exciting, and fascinating world out there.

Explore some of it now, rather than later.

Travel More

How to Travel the World

Travel The World

Want to know how to travel the world? I’ve put together a huge page full of useful world travel resources that should point you in the right direction.

Learn how I fund my adventures, how to find cheap flights, how to save money for travel, how start a travel blog, and more.

READ NEXT: Useful Budget Travel Resources

What are some of your favorite travel tips?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I'm Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for over 5 years. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel more with crazy stories, photography, and useful tips from my travel adventures. Join thousands who receive exclusive email updates and click the green button below...

Comments & Questions

412 Comments

  1. Liliia Sokotun
    July 17, 2016

    10 and 30 are my favorite!

    The best way is to stop listening to people who say “Oh, you cant do this!It is too difficult!” :D Especially advices from people who stay at home :)

    Loved this post, good advices)
    And people, just dont be scared to leave your house! World is much more welcoming than the one on the news :D

    Reply
  2. pedro henrique
    July 13, 2016

    MATTHEW hello, how are you? hope so fine. my name is Pedro Henrique and I am Brazilian. I am studying English and your site is helping me a lot! Through grammar, and also by the rich texts, photos, and their way of speaking and writing these wonderful places. I am grateful for this rich contribution that is giving me. I will continue watching you. a big hug.

    pedro.

    Reply
  3. Roxanne
    July 12, 2016

    Great tips on traveling. I would also add that learning some basic words for the places you visit really means a lot to the locals. Even if pronunciation is off, at least they know you are trying.

    Reply
  4. Marias Memoarer
    July 4, 2016

    Wonderful blog post, thanks for the excellent tips! :)

    Reply
  5. Hooshi
    July 2, 2016

    This is by far one of the most comprehensive lists of traveling tips anyone can take advantage of. I love all of them especially the tip #9 and #19: taking a lot of photos and eating the local food. Thank you so much for providing such an awesome article.

    Reply
  6. Perviz Surti
    June 28, 2016

    Don’t plan your entire itinerary ahead of time. It’s tempting, I know, but those unplanned moments while traveling can be the best memories.

    Reply
  7. Jenifer
    June 25, 2016

    Great wisdom from so many experiences. Every time I travel I expand and grow my understanding of the world and of myself.

    Reply
  8. Fernanda
    June 23, 2016

    This post gave me goose bumps! You are completely right when you say that most people only have excuses when it comes to being able to travel. I sure am one of them. But I am doing my research to hopefully be able to travel some more soon. Thank you so much for this blog post. It was so very helpful! Thank you, thank you, thank you

    Reply
  9. Chris
    June 22, 2016

    You’ve missed one of the most important tips: Pack a corkscrew in your luggage for France…the wine in supermarkets is often good and cheap…but they all have corks. And supermarkets dont always have corkscrews.

    Reply
  10. Mangesh Kathar
    June 17, 2016

    Great article Matthew all above travel tips are very good, some of travel tips i printed out for my next backpacking around India.

    Reply
  11. Namastegypsy
    June 12, 2016

    Great article! Haha I’m sitting here laughing to myself because some of these tips would have helped me if I stumbled across your blog earlier!! I’ll definitely make use of them moving forwards though.

    I’ve just got into blogging myself as I’m on a, very slow, world tour. I would love if you checked it out and let me know what you think.

    All the best and I look forward to more posts.

    Reply
  12. Salvatore
    June 2, 2016

    Hi Matthew,
    As always, enjoyed the post!!! You got really good tips for whom afraid to travel alone.

    Reply
  13. Johnny Chu
    June 1, 2016

    before go to travel ảound the world you need come to Vietnam and enjoying the food, landscape and meet everybody in there. So peaceful!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      June 17, 2016

      I’ve heard good things about Vietnam Johnny! Haven’t been there yet though. One day!

      Reply
  14. Taylor
    May 16, 2016

    So many amazing tips you have. My favorite is #21, slow down. I definitely need to listen to this tip as I am always looking for the next place to go and next activity to come! Thanks for sharing all your tips!

    Reply
  15. Hiroshima Okonomiyaki
    May 10, 2016

    Hello Mr. Matthew Karsten.

    I am Japanese. But I live in Germany now. I was very impressed with your blog. Today I am very happy to read your blog. Someday I’d like to travel around the world like you. Actually in japan, there are very few people who travel around the world like you.

    Reply
  16. Luminita
    May 2, 2016

    i like #29 the most. It’s always great to discover new places, not just to visit the same tourist attractions that everyone else has already seen. Locals are always a great source for hidded gems when it comes to finding such places.

    Reply
  17. Sean Benton
    May 2, 2016

    I really love this article. You are a good traveller, amazing story teller and a photographer. I just love the way you post travel related articles. Thank you for your post.

    Reply
  18. Christian Hirsch
    April 22, 2016

    hey, Mat !
    I am so happy to explore your amazing and exciting travel story !
    You’re not simply a Traveler, you’re a tremendous story teller and creative person ;-)
    Your travel story just amazing.
    I will wait for your new story.

    Reply
  19. Natalie
    April 19, 2016

    What an amazing list! I love hearing your thoughts and would love to know more about what you’ve done with a scarf! LOL! You have me wondering now about the ‘duct tape’ of travel stuff. I always bring earplugs along though I have to admit they aren’t that comfortable. Love the photography as well. I’m working to improve mine.

    Reply
  20. Keito Asato Penguino
    April 18, 2016

    Hey ! I came across your post before I went on an adventure and on the way I got inspired and started my own blog. Thanks for all the tips. :)

    Reply
  21. mayank bajaj
    April 16, 2016

    Great article Matthew, thanks so much for the work you have put into this post.

    Reply
  22. sportygirl11
    April 6, 2016

    Hi! I am doing a school project on traveling the world. I was hoping you could tell me about the places you stayed at… I am planning on traveling the cheapest way possible! Thank you so much

    Reply
  23. Korsgaard
    March 31, 2016

    Solid advice all around, I’ve come to many of the same conclusions from my own, sadly much more limited travels. Good to see those may hold up as I get more travel under my belt and more ink in my passport!

    Reply
  24. Leslie
    March 31, 2016

    Well written article with great advice. Wish I could travel like you, but I am in poor health which is why we purchased the place in PEI (see other post). But seeing your website makes me feel as if I’m living vicariously though you – very cool. And I do agree about doing things outside your comfort zone. Even though it is only Canada, my husband and I have had a few moments like that on the Island (we’re from Mobile, AL) but we just laugh and join in the fun. And absolutely, get up for the sunrises! It will cleanse your soul!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 19, 2016

      There’s nothing wrong with going on travel adventures in Canada! Or even the state next door. The key is getting out there in the first place, and experiencing somewhere new. The distance doesn’t really matter.

      Reply
  25. Jan
    March 29, 2016

    Would love a travel tip on how to avoid the person sitting in front of you on a plane from leaning their seat back as far as possible, thereby invading your personal space. I have found that speaking loudly (enough to be overheard) to the person next to you about claustrophobia does not help. I have never done this to another passenger, just because I am considerate, but how to avoid this situation in the future would be useful.

    Reply
  26. Sarah Anderson
    March 24, 2016

    Earplugs are indeed a great thing to bring with you on any vacation or any amount of traveling you do. Some places can get very loud and disruptive. If you want to enjoy something without the noise, then they are good.

    Reply
  27. Austin
    March 16, 2016

    Nice article about travel tips. I like your tips specially #24. You spent a lot of time writing this article. Good job.

    Reply
  28. Josefin Björnberg
    March 12, 2016

    Last year when I went on world tour through out the journey I passed smile to the all wherever I go. Because I believe a small smile can spray a lot of happiness and also a kind work.

    Reply
  29. Indrani
    March 5, 2016

    I agree with your points here but… that scorpion!!! I agree eating local food is a great experience of travel, not sure if I ever will have the courage to eat that. :P :)

    Reply
  30. Deepika
    March 4, 2016

    Matthew.. I love you and your writings. Love the tips and agree so much on the point of permanent nomadic life. Not necessarily needed. Just get out there and go! :)

    Reply
  31. Angela
    March 2, 2016

    An inspiring post to get out there and really view the world with less fear. It’s all about the open-minded and approachable experience. Love this! Thanks, Matt!

    Reply
  32. Oscar
    February 28, 2016

    Great tips, Matt! It’s always inspiring to read blog like yours and learn from your incredible experience. I particularly agree on the scarf, the earplugs and some good podcast while traveling (and maybe a good book from time to time!)

    Keep up the good writing, hope to meet you on the road!

    Reply
  33. Chris Thompson
    February 26, 2016

    Great Article Mathew! Really useful tips for travelling. Thanks for this.

    Reply
    • evan
      March 8, 2016

      im touching my cat in its splooge

      Reply
  34. Carmen Everywhere
    February 22, 2016

    I tend to agree to most of the points. I am an avid traveler myself. And have been traveling the world for last 7-8 years. I will say I drew pretty much the same conclusion. There is nothing like travelling to open your mind to the treasures of the world. I hope I read this 5 years ago, still good points!

    Reply
  35. Frances Melson
    February 14, 2016

    Your tips were very useful. I agreed with most of them! Particularly the 10th tip which says that there is always a way. You may be staying at the right hotel and may hire cabs to go around the destination, there could be a time when you are completely stuck. Even then, don’t fret. A polite smile and “please” will go a long way in helping you resolve whatever issue you may be having. Remember, the locals can probably help you more than anyone else. So, it would be great to find out something about the local culture and people even before you get out for your destination.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 24, 2016

      One of my favorites too. Complaining about a crappy situation never helps, instead, find ways to improve it. This is one of the biggest examples of “reverse culture shock” I get when returning to my home country.

      Everyone seems to be complaining about things that are pretty trivial.

      Reply
  36. Dev
    February 12, 2016

    This was so refreshing man. Thanks for writing

    Reply
  37. Serhat Engul
    February 11, 2016

    One of the greatest blog post I have ever read. Besides, I am stunned by the beauty of the photos. Colours are such vivid and nice. Thanks for this inspiring post Matt. Cheers, Serhat from Istanbul.

    Reply
  38. Punta cana traveler
    February 10, 2016

    Great advises, thanks for sharing i would love to taste foods from all over the world, and make friends when i am traveling it help me learn more about this life.

    Reply
  39. Deborah
    February 10, 2016

    I’m always so happy about your posts, they’ve turned out to be so helpful so (!) many times!
    I’m starting light and will go on my first trip around the world in April for 3 months.

    Reply
  40. sundar
    February 4, 2016

    Great travel tips, thanks!

    Reply
  41. Izzy
    February 3, 2016

    Some great tips here for travelling. Very jealous that you’ve been away for such a long time – i’d love to do a big adventure like this at some point. I agree with you that most people talk and dream about traveling but few actually pluck up the courage to go. I hope I don’t fall into the category!

    Reply
  42. Kanishka
    January 27, 2016

    Matthew, my husband and I have recently decided we are selling everything and going to travel the world. We have started to plan on what we want to do and see and have no time limit on it. I would love if you could help us out on maybe where to start in the world? With so many places all at once we have clue where to start and how to go about it once we are there? Any suggestions!

    Reply
  43. Dena
    January 26, 2016

    Nice travel tips and amazing pics. Thanks for share this post Matthew.

    Reply
  44. Mahmoud
    January 22, 2016

    These are some great tip, some times we don’t really pay attention to the little details but your advice about observing daily life is very true. by doing that, we will for sure learn new things in life.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  45. Altaf Hussain Patel
    January 22, 2016

    Awesome travel tips loving to read. The most great thing i feel shock you leave your country just to travel the world. Thanks to collect such things for us.

    Reply
  46. Ash
    January 20, 2016

    It takes a lot of guts to sell out everything you have just to travel the world!

    I agreed upon each and every point as I read through it. The most important point was to get out of comfort zone. After traveling to a new place, I have often found myself not willing to go out of the hotel! I just feel too lazy or in a not-willing-to-go-out mood. I figured out that I was not very comfortable to go out and speak to new people or roam around alone on the streets. I thought I would look stupid! Your statement “you will definitely look like a fool” has perfectly nailed my fear. I will now try be comfortable with “looking foolish” so that I can make most out of my journeys!

    Thanks! Keep writing!

    Reply
  47. Markus Allen
    January 19, 2016

    My favorite travel tip is this:

    NEVER use a hotel room safe…

    Believe it or not, the secret 4-digit pin number of most hotel safes is all ones or all zeros.

    (And most on the hotel staff knows this.)

    Avoid storing valuables in hotel safes – it is not safe at all. Better option: ask to use the safe near the hotel’s front desk.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 24, 2016

      Oh wow! I didn’t know that Markus, thanks for the tip.

      Reply
    • Jan Jewson
      March 29, 2016

      Very good idea. The one and only time my brother used a hotel safe at all, and he has done some extensive travelling, and it was burgled. Lost a very expensive camera; only thing he was concerned about enough to put in the safe.

      Reply
  48. Fred Keller
    January 18, 2016

    Awesome tips Matthew, Thanks! In our mid 50’s wife and I are living in Istanbul for about 10 months, maybe more. Already wondering how in the world can we “go back” to the great american dream which is so empty in so many ways. Two of my favorite quotes are…. 1 from Mr. Mark Twain, “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” And the 2nd one, and more important one for me is “Love your neighbor as yourself”. I have to wonder how differently the world would look, how much less hate there would be and less fences built IF we all just took Jesus last words to heart when He said, “Go into all the world!”

    Reply
  49. Talwinder Singh
    January 13, 2016

    Absolutely great article,had a few mates give similar advice,but you hit the nail on the head!!

    Reply
  50. Jeff Bell
    January 13, 2016

    All great tips, but maybe the most important is to bring earplugs! This is something that has greatly improved my life on the road.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 24, 2016

      Yes! Earplugs are so important. You quickly learn that “silence” is a luxury when traveling for long periods of time.

      Reply
  51. Justin Ng.
    January 10, 2016

    Great travel tips..

    Reply
  52. Marie
    January 9, 2016

    Hi Matt. I was enjoying your writing up until I came upon the photo of the cockfight and your suggestion of “keeping an open mind.” Truly, as related to this photo, I think that suggestion SUCKS!!! Whether it’s cockfights or bullfights or dogfights or whatever other disgusting, barbaric, insensitive way some humans decide to amuse themselves at the expense of other living creatures, well, the lot of it is reprehensible.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 9, 2016

      And you’re entitled to your opinion Marie. Just keep in mind that Americans freely engaged in these activities once too, it’s only now with our wealth and relative life of leisure that we look back and say how backwards it was. The citizens of Nicaragua and other 3rd world nations will come to these conclusions for themselves when they are ready. Not because a bunch of privileged 1st world countries tell them they’re doing it wrong. THAT is what I mean by keeping an open mind.

      For example: American health care and gun laws are also disgusting & barbaric compared to the world at large. Never assume your country & its people are morally superior.

      Reply
      • Arfan
        January 17, 2016

        Matthew, I never had a sense of who you were until I read this article. Your response to Marie is exactly the kind of response I would have given. Interacting with locals and their customs allows for a greater understanding of their culture and helps to establish a new world view and impact upon ones own belief systems. Different cultures are what makes this world so great. History has shown us that when one culture thinks it’s better than another it just leads to persecution. I respect you for being a child of the Earth and not a child of wherever you were born. Your view is refreshing in a world where there are far too many “travelers” and top travel bloggers who are more like tourists traveling from country to country without an appreciation for the cultures they visit.

        Reply
    • ucdailoi
      January 20, 2016

      There you go.. The typical judgemental response which will limit your experiences.. You dont have to attend…

      Travel is about experiencing how the rest of the world lives and dies…. You may not agree with everything you see but you will have great stories, and great photos as well as points of discussion.. Leave your opinions until you get home and are sitting on the footpath in your favourite coffee shop sipping a late…

      Reply
  53. Zak Aly
    January 6, 2016

    Great tips! so many of these tips are sooo important and often get forgotten. I can’t even pick my favourite because they’re so good.

    Reply
  54. Arua Tupinambas
    January 6, 2016

    Brilliant! Thanks for the post Matt. The best tip I would think is to slow down, not only when you are travelling. Just Slow down. Enjoy every moment, everywhere, with everything we got.

    Reply
  55. Siri
    December 30, 2015

    Amazing blog you`ve got, and great tips! I love to travel and I`ll definitely travel around the world some day. I am 18 years old so I`m still in high school, but I have started with traveling as much as possible. This year I went to California with my friend on a language trip, and that was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. I wrote in a diary every day there, and I don`t regret it because it makes me think of the small details that I would`ve forgotten if I didn`t write it down.

    In 2013, my friend and I also were on a language trip to Bournemouth, England. We stayed to a host family (an old couple), which was great. I felt that we got to know the country and the culture better than if we had stayed at a campus/hotel. Plus it was amazing to get to meet new people. We both still write letters to them (they don`t use social media), and we`re going to visit them in 2016.

    Anyway, when I`m done with my studies, I`ll be ready to buy a one way ticket out of the country (Norway) and start my adventure. When I tell about this to people, they always laugh and say that it`s impossible for me to do that. But I don`t agree with them, just look at you. You and your blog inspire me very much, and it makes me even more excited about this!! :D

    I just wonder, I have you ever been to Norway?

    Reply
  56. VYSAKH R
    December 17, 2015

    Great tips bro, I love to travel. I want to get out from my comfort zone and become a better traveller.

    American and European people are a little more lucky… you can visit 200 countries visa free, with longer term stay.. it’s also a great thing. Anyway good luck for all future travellers.. remember these travel tips!

    Reply
  57. Stacey
    December 7, 2015

    These are some amazing tips! I’ve just hit 5 years abroad and would absolutely agree with all of them, although I’ve found that no matter how long I travel for I still have too much stuff in my backpack!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      December 8, 2015

      So true Stacey, there’s always a way to reduce your luggage. I actually look forward to cleaning out my pack before a big trip.

      Reply
  58. Janet Porter
    December 2, 2015

    Fantastic tips! I always try local things. Some people said that if it is local it is bad that is the reason why it stays local. I don`t agree at all. I have tried amazing things during my journeys. Greetings!

    Reply
  59. Chelsey
    November 27, 2015

    Just discovered your blog. Into the blogging black hole I go…..

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 30, 2015

      Welcome to the rabbit hole Chelsey! I hope you enjoy your stay.

      Reply
  60. Tito
    November 18, 2015

    Great post
    See you in Indonesia guys 😀😀😀

    Reply
  61. Travelsito
    November 12, 2015

    Matt, your tips are smart and inspiring.

    Reply
  62. Lily
    November 11, 2015

    Hi! My name is Liliy, i want to know what is the best way to get around London in the winter. Please help me. Thanks. : )

    Reply
  63. Thessauron
    November 11, 2015

    What a fantastic list. You covered practically every area there. No.18 was once a great thrill to me. Sadly, age made me freak out every time I get lost nowadays. Thanks for reminding me about the joys of it.

    Reply
  64. Kristina RO
    November 8, 2015

    Great for read , would like to do it, but still worry travel around the world a lone.

    Reply
  65. Yvonne
    November 6, 2015

    Wow, great post. nr 9: take lots of photos, I found that after traveling for more than 1 year I started to take less and less photos… for us this was a sign we’d traveled enough for while… things started to be less interesting to us. I wonder how people can stay so enthusiastic and travel for 4 years! Will definately have to read more on this blog. :)

    Reply
  66. Achmad fauzi
    November 5, 2015

    Great tips, I want invite you to come to Indonesia because I have plan travelling still indonesian like the bali, pulau komodo, raja ampat and lombok.

    Reply
  67. Adeline
    November 4, 2015

    These tips are great for a traveler like me. I will agree with the tip that states “Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone”. This is what I am facing right now. I had lot of fears before but as I started traveling, I know how to face it right now. Traveling is one of the key on how I faced my fears. It is not not easy but I am sure that it really contributed a lot.

    Reply
  68. sarah
    November 3, 2015

    Great tips, thank you for sharing it ! I honestly am so exited to start my path in traveling,

    Reply
  69. Dean
    October 30, 2015

    Excellent read. I always enjoy to read tips from experienced travelers. The one from above that really stood out for me is #4: “Stash some extra cash!” This is so crucial when visiting places outside the US. With cash being almighty, it can get you out of a jam if you have it on you. Thanks for sharing with us!

    Reply
  70. tam
    October 29, 2015

    Great tips! so many of these tips are sooo important and often get forgotten. I can’t even pick my favourite because they’re so good. I started a travel blog recently so I might borrow some of your hints but will be sure to link back to you :)

    Reply
  71. Anthon
    October 23, 2015

    For the person who has such a big travel experience I’ll recommend Armenia, a country of ancient history, traditions and Christianity. You will discover for yourself many interesting facts about history.

    Reply
  72. miah
    October 16, 2015

    I honestly am so exited to start my path in traveling, couldn’t have asked for a better thing to read.

    Reply
  73. Jane
    October 15, 2015

    What a great list Matt! Much better, wiser and amusing than the regular lists we often see!

    Reply
  74. Alex Costa
    October 15, 2015

    I liked so much the tip 13. I think is essential respect the different cultures and trying to integrate with it.

    Reply
  75. Kris
    October 10, 2015

    This list is inspiring and refreshing, love your attitude!

    Reply
  76. Orlando Diaz
    October 8, 2015

    Hello Matthew im happy for you enjoying the world, I wish I can one day I should I say I wish I know where to start, I can just get up off my ass and go but not sure where to began, I tell myself where why who I’m going to go visit, not Afraid sleeping out side I lived in the street for 6 months and it was hard, now I am able to visit life I’m asking myself how come I did not just visit the world, #17 would be a great way to say go out and do it,

    Reply
  77. Logan Murphy
    October 8, 2015

    I love tip #15! I think that is such a great idea. My wife and I want to start traveling more often to see the world. Volunteering in the countries we visit sounds like a perfect way to get a better understanding of the culture and characteristics of the locals. Thanks for the awesome idea, we’ll definitely put it to good use.

    Reply
  78. Larry Adams
    October 7, 2015

    Hi Matthew Karsten this indeed is a thought provoking blog, you have put things in a very simple manner. cheers!

    Reply
  79. Aaron Mitchell
    October 6, 2015

    Very good read and spot on. Great work.

    Reply
  80. Mackenzie
    October 1, 2015

    AirBnB is pretty similar to couch surfing if that’s a little too much for you. It isn’t free to rent, but you can find cheap accomodations in somebody’s spare bedroom or guesthouse, or entire apartments or houses. Cheaper than most hotels and the host will usually give you good recommendations and maybe take you around town or introduce you to people.

    Reply
  81. Touring the Globe
    September 30, 2015

    I’ve just started a travel blog and I love these tips! Hope you don’t find if I use a few of them on my blog, I’ll be sure to give credit!

    Reply
  82. Aarav Agrawal
    September 13, 2015

    This is indeed one of the best list. I really like so many of them, wake up early, pack less, meet local people and specially “There is always a way”.
    Thank you so much for such an amazing list.

    Reply
  83. Natalie
    September 4, 2015

    Love this list! Especially agree with get up early! All of my best travel experiences are in the early morning. Well, most of them. :)

    Reply
  84. Monty anderson
    September 1, 2015

    Good advice. I just finished my 3rd around the world trip. A little under 3 years. Needed to comeback and see my family and go to the dentist. Slow and steady is how I travel. Now with free phone calls and no cost photos it is a lot easier. Next the Silk Road. Overland cost around 10k for 100 days. That is what has stopped me but I want to go to every country in the world so any advice would be nice. Great advice thanks

    Reply
  85. Jones
    September 1, 2015

    Excellent post! Every single point I was nodding my head. I don’t have ear plugs though, so maybe I’ll look into tha . I normally just put in head phones and play music. And I Love the last one the most of course!

    Reply
  86. Brianna
    August 20, 2015

    Hello Matt! I’m a teenage girl, and your photos have really inspired me to travel! Would you mind if I put a few up on my blog? If not, that’s totally okay! ☺

    Reply
  87. Matthew Elliott
    August 19, 2015

    Thanks for this post, Matt! I am currently working in the beginning stages of planning my own 1 year trip around the world, and I can’t wait to read what else you have learned on your travels!

    Reply
  88. Claudia
    August 19, 2015

    This is such a great post. I love your advice and I must say I follow most of it already – particularly the earplugs one. I even wear them when I am not travelling at times.

    And oh, stopping a chicken bus to pee. I should have done that in Nicaragua once. Instead I almost killed myself and peed myself (gross) and waited till the bus got to the station. I had to RUN then!

    Reply
  89. Pauline
    August 17, 2015

    I love #20 you get some fun adventures with that. Learning do drive tuk-tuk in Ella the mountains in Sri Lanka.

    Then they day after the two locals decided that they wanted to walk Adams Peak with us, we got the true local experience on why it is so important for them to take this walk up the mountains and saying thank you to Buddha.

    Yes, let´s do it, let´s go – Let´s have an adventure.

    Reply
  90. James Owens
    August 16, 2015

    What wonderful advice and while our readers mode of travel is motorcycle this advice transcends all modes and we are happy to share this page on our travel link section. I couldn’t have put it better myself, obviously or I would have!

    Inspiring stuff Matt.

    Reply
  91. raluca
    August 15, 2015

    Hey, I’m planing to go on a trip first to Spain for the 3rd time, and then…who knows!? The problem is that I don’t have a companion.

    Reply
  92. Karen
    August 14, 2015

    Just finished a six-month trip to four countries. I did a lot of reading in the couple of years before I took off, and I seriously think this is the best list of travel tips I’ve ever seen – especially after having done an extended trip myself. (And I’ll be sharing with those who followed my trip on FB, for sure!) Well done!

    Reply
  93. Bruno B @ Geeky Explorer
    August 13, 2015

    Get Up Early.
    The best travel advice ever, I hate when people stay in bed late with a whole new place to explore out there!!

    Reply
  94. Bjorn Fjeldstad
    August 9, 2015

    Hi,

    Love your first point on the list. After living in El Salvador for a while, patience is king. Nothing goes fast here! Remember that if every travelling here.

    Reply
  95. sravani
    August 7, 2015

    Nice Information.. Really #8 and #2 Topics are most dangerous.. Really good stuff

    Reply
  96. Akash !
    August 6, 2015

    Great Work Matt (:

    Reply
  97. mona
    August 5, 2015

    I live in Iran,I am Persian not arab,we have country with the old culture,we have a lots ancient place to visit,its my pleasure to help some body how wants to come here

    Reply
    • Ben
      September 3, 2015

      Hi Mona,
      I am planning on visiting Iran in close future. I didn´t make a plan on where I want to go yet, maybe you can advise me where its best to go.
      Hope to hear from you.
      Khofafes,
      Ben

      Reply
  98. Paty
    August 3, 2015

    Great tips, thank you for sharing it!

    Reply
  99. Logan
    July 29, 2015

    Awesome blog Matthew, I would love to travel in South America. I am gonna follow your tips thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  100. Everton Drakes
    July 25, 2015

    Good points. I just booked my RTW trip. I’m choosing to pack 5 countries in 2 weeks and to do it again just taking a different route. I like the hustle and bustle of going on an airplane and discovering new places and people and then pressing repeat again in another couple of months. Loving life.

    Reply
  101. Sylvie
    July 25, 2015

    So glad I found you on twitter and discovered your blog. These tips are great!

    I have handed my notice in at work, rented out my flat and will be off on an adventure round the world at the end of August! So excited to go travelling. Will be blogging about it too and I definitely agree with your point about the journal – I found my travel diary from when I went to Thailand 6 years ago recently and it’s amazing how much your mind changes over the years. I felt transported back to my 19 year old self!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      July 29, 2015

      Hi Sylvie, great to hear you’re heading out in August. That’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it? Getting everything settled before leaving on a big trip. Good luck!

      Reply
  102. David O Shea
    July 21, 2015

    Great to read
    I would agree with all your points I went around the world
    in 2003/4 it was as good and as easy just the way u told it.
    Going again this year but calling to other country.I loved it
    very much bye for now
    David

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      July 29, 2015

      Enjoy your next adventure David! Glad you liked the travel tips.

      Reply
  103. Anil_traveller
    July 18, 2015

    Great post Matt!

    Always struggled with #2 but agree with #17 the most. :)

    Reply
  104. Sherry Ott
    July 13, 2015

    Hey Matt – I just realized that you put a lovely link in this article to me…thanks so much! I’m not sure exactly when your 4 year anniversary was – but a big congrats!!! Keep going!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      July 29, 2015

      No problem Sherry! Great to see you in Spain recently.
      My 5th year is coming up this fall.

      Reply
  105. Pooja Saini
    July 11, 2015

    This is really awesome and very helpful for me.Thank you so much for sharing such a great blog.

    Reply
  106. Shye
    July 11, 2015

    As an animal advocate/ vegan/ normal person, I think it’s disgusting to post a picture of a cock fight as an example of experiencing different cultures and hypocritical/ comical to then give advice on being empathetic. “Keep an open mind: Practice empathy and put yourself in someone else’s shoes.” How about you practice some empathy and put yourself in the rooster’s shoes. Abusing animals by forcing them to fight is NOT being adventurous, it’s barbaric. Since I see you biting the head off a murdered scorpion, I’m guessing you probably don’t care about the lives of those poor roosters either. It’s also sad that you financially support these horrific events in other countries when we’re trying to end them in our own and then suggest it to others. It’s a serious disservice to steer people in this direction and an even bigger disservice for the abused animals.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      July 11, 2015

      In this instance I’m putting myself in the shoes of another human, not my delicious lunch meat. Chickens don’t use shoes.

      This is a very poor village’s cheap source of entertainment in a life full of hardships. If they want to let chickens fight each other before they eat them, who am I to judge?

      However I’m sure they’d trade in the entertainment of chicken fights for the privilege of typing blog post comments on computers or smartphones if they could. Maybe you can help them see the light and donate yours?

      Also, please remember that plants are living things too.

      Reply
      • Ollie
        July 15, 2015

        As someone currently saving for a big travel I thought this article was great (especially the photography!). But this response might be the best part of it. Very eloquently put, keep it up!

        Reply
      • Stephanie
        July 28, 2015

        You disappointed me with this comment.

        Reply
      • Matthew Elliott
        August 19, 2015

        I love this comment.

        Reply
    • Dianne
      July 27, 2015

      Good on you.It is nice to see that you are taking as it comes .Tere is no point going places if one is judgmental . People, culture, tradition are part
      of each country and do you like it or not they are not going to change so
      the best thing is enjoy the journey and do not take to heart things that you
      can not change…otherwise stay home .

      Reply
  107. Marcel Larouche
    July 1, 2015

    Hi Matthew, thanks for all those advice! By the way I’m 46 I still feel young, am I too old? Need your thoughts on that, but I really keep in shape, I feel that is time for me to do the move!
    Thanks for your reply,
    Marcel

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      July 29, 2015

      Not at all Marcel! You’re never too old to see the world. I’ve hung out with some great people in their 60’s on the road, some using backpacking hostels too.

      Mark Twain put it best:

      “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

      Reply
  108. Kyle K.
    June 29, 2015

    Awesome tips, Matt! I really enjoy your posts, especially the “whats in my backpack” and the Sak Yant tattoo post. I really thinking about taking a trip through central and south america either on a motorcycle or just flying there and take the rest of the journey by foot like you do. In your experience, what are the pros and cons of either one? I would really would like your thoughts of the matter.
    Thank you for your time,
    Kyle

    Reply
  109. Maggie
    June 28, 2015

    Great list. As a life-long traveler (often solo), I’m surprised by friends who ask how I do it. I tell them it’s easy: choose adventures before things. Yes, I have a 15-year old car, and my kitchen cabinets look like the kind they take hammers to on home improvement shows, but I’ve racked up 35 countries and 49 states so far, and don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

    The other excuse I hear from them is that they would travel, but airline travel is so unpleasant, blah blah blah. My ancestors came to the US on long ocean voyages, then traveled to the west in wagons. WAGONS. I can put up with an uncomfortable seat for 10 hours–with a book in one hand and a cocktail in the other.

    Reply
  110. Gerard ~ GQ trippin
    June 26, 2015

    Glad to say we’ve checked off all of the above. Great list!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      June 27, 2015

      Of course there are plenty of other specific travel tips, but I try to remind myself of these most often.

      Reply
  111. CamSemberani
    June 25, 2015

    good travellers ..

    Reply
  112. Mima Isono
    June 21, 2015

    Thanks for sharing these tips. #30 you nailed it not only those who continuously giving excuses are scared to explore the world, travel definitely is not in their top priority list. I have so many friends keep saying they love to travel but do not have enough money for flight ticket. Surprisingly, they always splurge on branded bags, shoes, watches and clothes like they going to open a factory outlet someday.

    Observe daily life is also a great tip, like get into the train during morning rush hours is quite an experience one must try when in Japan.

    Reply
  113. Camilla
    June 18, 2015

    Hi there,
    I just stumbled upon your blog, and it’s amazing! Are the opportunities the same if two are travelling together?
    My boyfriend and I have started roadtripping USA, last year we did the east coast this year the west coast (we are from Denmark – you should visit :), and we have found that we love life most when we travel! Do you have an idea of doubling a one-person travel budget should do the trick when travelling two?

    Love your blog,
    Best regards Camilla

    Reply
  114. G'day Mate
    June 18, 2015

    I find this so ironic that a non-australian can come into Australia and call us drunks!!! We are not all drunks and sure we have heaps of bogans but not everyone is. The “drunk Australians” comment really hits home with me, not sure why… But the fact that you did not mention anyother country… mabey you should not come to Australia if you cant handle the small portions of alcholics. On your behalf what a discriminating comment!!! I bet you didnt know that Australia has approx. 12 to 15 countries before it for alcohol consumption. So you clearly have not travelled all that much.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      June 19, 2015

      I’ve never been to Australia, it’s just an observation from the many Australian travelers I’ve met. They party a bit harder than the rest! Don’t take it personally, it’s just a stereotype. While obviously not true for all, there is a bit of truth. Same with the stereotype that American travelers are loud & obnoxious. :-)

      Reply
      • G'day Mate
        July 1, 2015

        Aha true true just wanted to see how you handled confrontation because in all honesty we are a land of drunks and bogans! Love your blog. Some great tips.

        Reply
      • Jan
        March 29, 2016

        Unfortunately it is only the “loud and obnoxious” ones that we tend to notice; hence the stereotyping. Some people just do not pick up social cues that easily … how I wished I had taken earplugs, of some form, with me when I was woken up with an American traveller speaking very loudly (unnecessarily) to a hostess on a plane … must have been around 3am too.

        Reply
  115. J
    June 15, 2015

    Thank you, inspiring.

    Reply
  116. Charlene
    June 15, 2015

    Stumbled across your blog by accident. Your tips were a refreshingly different and reminder that there’s a whole wide world out there with vast experiences just waiting to be uncovered. I’m planning a big trip in Sept – first big one in 15 years. I’ll be leaving my husband and teenage kids behind and felt guilty about that, but your blog just reassured me I’m doing the right thing. At 46 I just can’t wait around until the ‘right’ time anymore. Take care and safe travels to all.

    Reply
  117. SirenasWorld
    June 14, 2015

    Great post Matthew. Really enjoyed the tips. Just recently got back from Belgium and toured every city but Brussels the local way! I had a blast and made tons of new connections. Travel is a lot more fun when you travel the
    “local way”.

    Reply
  118. Eric
    June 8, 2015

    Excellent post! Thank you for the tips and for taking the time to share your experiences. I find them inspiring, as I have always wanted to be an explorer and travel the world. I’m American and find many of my colleagues to be very close-minded and only able to regurgitate the negative stereotypes that our media spoon feeds us. I’ve never been one to take someone else’s word for it, even if it meant learning the hard way, I’ve always had to find out the truth for myself. It’s people like you that give me hope. Keep doing what you do and if you ever want a sidekick, I’d gladly join you in your journeys!

    Reply
  119. Mike Corey
    June 7, 2015

    Such great tips Matt.
    Podcasts have helped me so much in the past. I hadn’t heard of these, I’m checking them out now.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      July 12, 2015

      I’ve learned so much great stuff from Pat’s Smart Passive Income podcast.

      Reply
  120. Emma
    June 1, 2015

    Hey!

    Really loved reading your tips! I’m from the UK and went away as a solo traveler and met my soul mate in Denmark now we are planning a year away together travelling! quick note … I am female and found it no problem travelling alone, I just always made sure to act confident! Don’t let any fear hold you back! there is lovely people all over the world! Try not to read negative stories before you go away … I read about Barcelona and was not looking forward to going at all, i stayed for nearly 3 weeks and adored it!

    Reply
  121. Morris
    May 31, 2015

    Enjoyed your list. I first took off from UK back in ’80. Very, very memorable year. I have travelled to a lesser extent ever since. I never fully returned to “mainstream” – but I never cut the cord either. My additions would be:
    See the sights and leave the internet communications for wasted time in airport lounges or a lonely evening.
    Take a good book – sometimes its an intro.
    Never forgot friends back home. Try and repay favours or pass them on. Its a small world now but always evolving – this year my Peruvian wife and I stayed on a boat in Malaysia with a Kiwi and his Aussie wife, who I met in 1980 …. in Nepal. He lent me $25 back then (before knowing me) – it paid for a trip to Everest base camp.
    Trying to decide whos genuinely helpful, whos helpful but is hoping to earn a crust at the same time, and whos a scammer – deserves another article.

    Reply
  122. Steve
    May 31, 2015

    Been travelling a long time.. and you are certainly on point.. I enjoyed reading. It’s clean, your points and tips. And the sarong I have been carrying for a long time. I’ve lost a few.. but I still have one left… they are super handy. Much better than those little dry-fast towels.

    Reply
  123. sadeq
    May 30, 2015

    hi man
    i am so glad that about your information in trip and its necessary to each person that want to travel to each part of the world.i can,t travel to every place .the reason is government .but i hope that one day i see u.pl travel to iran .it,s a good ,beautiful and cheap place for traviling! have a good time!
    with best wishes
    sadeq

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 31, 2015

      Hi Sadeq! I’ve always wanted to visit Iran, I might be traveling there later this year actually.
      Have heard great things about your country from others who’ve been.

      Reply
      • sadeq
        June 4, 2015

        hi matthew
        i am so glad that u can see my pm! as a mater of fact is this that iran is beautiful and big ! u can see four season in my country and the people are very kind about tourist!i hope that one day i see u in tehran!and speak more about it!north is green! center is beautiful desert ! east and west is mountain!and south is full of water!come to iran and enjoy more!my tell is +989127791811 i guide u man! be luck!

        Reply
      • Prashant Sharma
        June 26, 2015

        Hello,
        I visited Iran few months back with my friends. We were in a group of 6 and six of us were from six different countries.(I am from Nepal) Frankly speaking, when I said I am going to Iran, my friends said “come back alive” because people often hear about terrorism and bad things about Iran. I can confidently tell that Iranians were one of the most helpful, cheerful and nice people I have ever met. I am not saying this just to be nice, but I really mean it. They were so welcoming and I would highly recommend a trip to Iran.

        Reply
        • Matthew Karsten
          June 27, 2015

          I hear this all the time. Really excited to visit!

        • sadeq
          July 22, 2015

          thanks man
          i hope that one day visit u!because u are full of energy and u r best man for traveling! pl guide me .u r my teacher! good luck!

  124. Ashley
    May 29, 2015

    There are some really great tips here. I agree with most. I especially like the comments about other’s excuses. People always tell me, “God if I had the opportunities you do…” I never can figure out what makes me so different as far as those are concerned. Except for the fact that I take the time to buy the plane or bus ticket, and sometimes choose that instead of a new cell phone or shopping spree.

    If you want to travel, just do it, worry about the other stuff later.

    Reply
  125. Thomas Robertson
    May 28, 2015

    This is such a great, diverse list of tips! What would you say is the most under rated tip on this list?

    Reply
  126. Jackie Sullivan
    May 27, 2015

    So many great tips, even as a family travelling I can still relate to so many of them. Getting off the beaten path is always a goal of ours, it can be a challenge at times, so I’ll be searching your blogs for extra tips. Our children tend to break the ice wherever they go, as they are not shy, so making friends and chatting to the locals is very easy. Although I have found the locals are not as friendly in more touristy areas, and it is tougher to get a smile out of them… Do you find this too?
    Also love your suggestion regarding Backblaze, I have been trying to decide on the best backup for a while now, this definitely looks like a great option.
    We are currently staying near Lake Arenal in Costa Rica atm, do you have any tips on places to visit that are less touristy? I’ll be searching through your blogs later anyway, and taking your advise on ‘getting lost’ today, who knows what we will find.
    Thanks again for such a great article, Jackie

    Reply
  127. Darby
    May 27, 2015

    In Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy they say to always bring a towel, but I do believe that scarves are superior to towels. You can wrap them around your head without them falling off. Good advice.

    Reply
  128. Jae
    May 25, 2015

    Matthew, it’s great tips! I totally agree with your real practical advice! Nowadays, my travel bag is lighter and lighter. And I’m thinking I’ll convert to the back pack( not a big one), so my hands can move freely. Always, looking for zipper short pants. More travel more want to go out explore the world!

    Reply
  129. Jane
    May 25, 2015

    Hi Matthew
    I quit my job and I set off once I was 50. I have been travelling for 2 years now and I LOVE this article.
    Every single point is spot on.
    And despite not agreeing with it, I went to a cockfight in Colombia. I wanted to know about all aspects of the culture and as you put it, to learn why some things are acceptable to others. Safe travels, Jane

    Reply
  130. Ben Jamin
    May 24, 2015

    You can tell you have been traveling for a while as what you say is very true. Some good advice here keep it up

    Reply
  131. Monika
    May 24, 2015

    I just have to agree with all of those items on the list! I must say I haven´t tried everything, but I know I will…eventually :) Great tips :)

    Reply
  132. Anthony
    May 23, 2015

    Matthew, I feel totally jelaous… Even though I’m only going to be 19 in a few days, I’ve set up a diary of places I’m planning to visit! Yet there are a couple of obstacles.. I have to finish the university, get a well paid job and yeah, that is gonna take some time. (I’ve got no money whatsoever). But I love the way you do things and it is actually the same how I want to progress! Just sit in the plane or a car and drive away wherever my driving skills will lead me to :) You’re my inspiration, sir. Thank you!

    Reply
  133. Hendrik
    May 16, 2015

    I wish I could go to Milan, Italy to watch my favorite football team playing on the field. Someday maybe……….

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 23, 2015

      Milan is a wonderful city! Unfortunately I never had a chance to watch a game there.

      Reply
  134. Carl
    May 12, 2015

    Good suggestions. I’d add to try and give the local language a go. Even if you mess up and are completely incomprehensible it often serves an ice breaker, and local appreciate the effort.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 23, 2015

      Exactly. Locals appreciate that you’re trying. Well, most do. I generally try to learn about 10 of the most common words, which is usually enough to get by. Trying to learn every language for every country is just not practical if you travel a lot.

      Reply
  135. Taralynn Reynolds
    May 5, 2015

    I love this article but really wish there wasn’t a photo of cockfighting included. I’m all for being open minded while traveling but supporting abuse of animals is not something I’d consider attending ever, anywhere. There’s a reason why these activities are illegal here. Please consider changing that out.

    Reply
    • Mads
      May 19, 2015

      I completely understand your view and agree(kind of). But what you think is animal abuse, might not be considered the same in another place. After all, two males battling to the bitter end isn’t that rare in nature either :-)

      Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 23, 2015

      You’re missing the point Taralynn. I’m not supporting animal abuse, I’m just showing the reality of a different culture. You don’t have to agree with it, but I’m suggesting you take the time to learn more about it rather than making blind assumptions. Because things like this aren’t as black & white as they seem.

      Yes, there is a reason why it’s illegal here. But there are also reasons why it’s accepted there.

      Reply
      • Andy
        July 7, 2015

        I respectfully disagree with you. There are some things that are wrong whether someone is there to witness it or not. Imagine those chickens were two men. Is forcing them to fight until one is dead (while people watch and bet on the outcome) inherently wrong? Even if people naturally murder each other all the time? Even if a fictional culture found it acceptable? I realize people are used to considering animals as things, but they are actually individuals, even if their abilities are “less than” compared to humans. That is all the life they get, as is ours. I get the point “Keep an open mind” but take care it’s not so far open that your common sense falls right the hell out and you lose your compassion too.

        Reply
  136. ivy kriste
    May 5, 2015

    I think keeping a hard copy of your tips will be an added advantage for a solo traveler. Thanks for the inspiring tips.

    Reply
  137. bryaph
    April 29, 2015

    Hey :) I loved your post! I will read it more often until I start. My trip around the world will start next year, first I will have to earn some money.. But I’m really thankful for all of that tipps you get in the internet! Thanks for what you’ve wrote, I liked your points :)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 23, 2015

      That’s the hardest part, saving money for your trip. But keep reading travel blogs for tips & inspiration to keep you on track! That’s what I did when I was first starting.

      Reply
  138. Ale
    April 28, 2015

    Hi! Matthew. You rock with your post, I love the words and the so upbeat ideas you just shared. I can’t wait to see the world again next month, will be travelling to Hong Kong and probably try these profuse advice.

    Reply
  139. Steven
    April 27, 2015

    GREAT great article. I just bought my flight ticket to Colombia a few days ago and after reading this, I’m more excited than ever! Thanks for the useful tips!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 23, 2015

      Awesome Steven! Have fun in Colombia, I still haven’t been, but keep hearing great things about it!

      Reply
  140. kenny
    April 25, 2015

    Hi matthew
    i am sorry i have never travelled out of my country nigeria..So i dont know if i can join u in any of your trip, it sounds funny but i mean it.

    Reply
  141. Kiran A B
    April 25, 2015

    Thank you Matthew for these tips. I would like to start traveling like you, meet many nice people and explore the world. Your 30 tips are definitely going to be of lots of help. Thank you.

    Reply
  142. Jessica Lane
    April 22, 2015

    Great post Matthew- Solo travel scares a lot of people understandably particularly trusting strangers with couchsurfing etc. How do you fight through the initial fears to even begin travelling like yourself?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 23, 2015

      It was scary for me at first too. I still remember my first local bus ride in Mexico, when it broke down and I couldn’t understand the language, or what was going on. Embrace your fear, and conquer the challenges one step at a time.

      I like to remind myself that many others have already done most of these things before me. So it can’t be that bad! If they can do it, so can I.

      Reply
  143. Christy
    April 21, 2015

    I waited until I was in my 40’s before I stopped making excuses and just started going where I wanted, all on my own. I have so much more to see and I can’t wait!
    Thanks for a great list/article.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 23, 2015

      You’re never too old to head out and explore the world Christy! I’ve met great people in their 70’s staying at backpacker hostels.

      I hope when I’m that old I’ll be just as fun as them!

      Reply
  144. Michael D
    April 20, 2015

    Hey Matthew,
    I have done loads of travelling and your post is spot on. Great advice!

    Reply
  145. Lynn
    April 20, 2015

    This is a great post with great content!

    My husband & I are going to set off on a 6 month journey around the world this fall & can’t wait.

    Reply
  146. Bilal-Abdullah
    April 15, 2015

    Hi Mathew, I am a big travelling and culture geek. I have been collecting books and articles on different cultures and countries since I was 7 years old. I don’t want to be rich or famous, but surely do want to travel the world. Your answers to these questions or “Links” that can answer these questions and save you botheration are much appreciated- to help me and viewers in making big plans of world travel. You could always use my email, too.
    How old are you now and how old were you when you started traveling- ( I am 27).
    How much have you spend during all these 4 years travel. (#1 important)
    what do you do if you get sick or injured in a foreign country.
    How do you manage if no one speaks English in another country.
    Do you require visa of every country you travel ( I am a U.S citizen).
    What countries have you travel till now.
    Any more ” Detailed” guide and suggestions on “traveling cheap” will be tremendously helpful ( I am a poor Ph.D student).

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 23, 2015

      Hi Bilal! I started traveling when I was 29, and spend an average of $1000-$1500 a month on travel. Less when I first started, more now. How much you spend depends on your travel style and where you’re traveling. Central America is much cheaper than Europe for example.

      I’ve been sick only a handful of times, here’s a post about when I got Dengue Fever in Mexico. It sucks to be on your own when you’re sick, but doesn’t happen often.

      Every country is different for visas. For United States citizens, you can find visa information at Travel.State.Gov. Some countries allow you to get a visa on arrival, others you need to apply for in advance.

      Reply
  147. Howard Johnson
    April 15, 2015

    Intersting post…I am planning my trip to UK end of this year, then definitely I am gonna follow your post to make my trip a memorable one.

    Happy Travelling and keep posting

    Reply
  148. Ebony
    April 13, 2015

    Thank you Mathew for your post! I love to travel and truly appreciated this. Its always interesting to see different takes from different travelers as they maneuver through their own personal travels. I will be bookmarking this page. Thanks again!

    Reply
  149. Dila Mujo
    April 13, 2015

    Hai Matt.. Great Tips from you. I’m a solo traveler. I went to few countries and planning to quit my job and travel the world. Still working on my blogs and hope to finish it very soon.

    One question.. Were you in Thailand sometimes last month? Saw someone in Don Muaeng airport with no hair and filming with go-pro. After reading your blog and look at you gadjets that you bring, are you the guy that i saw in Thailand?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 13, 2015

      Hi Dila, that’s funny! I was in Thailand last month, it very well could have been me. I was filming some stuff when I was there too. Good luck with your blog and future travels!

      Reply
  150. rachel
    April 13, 2015

    very helpful tips, I saw your photo of cockfighting and wonder if it was from Philippines? Stunning photos of beautiful people and daily life from around the world.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 13, 2015

      That photo is from Nicaragua. But I can certainly hear the cockfighting matches here in the Philippines every Sunday…

      Reply
  151. Conner
    April 10, 2015

    Thank you for the great article! It’ll come in handy in a few months when I travel (hopefully) to Europe for a couple months! Being only a freshman in college I lack a lot of international travel knowledge and your article will definitely help!

    Reply
  152. Aaron
    April 9, 2015

    Great tips and advice, I am venturing out on my own travels in 5 weeks and need all the help I can get, I am such a newbie traveler and sometimes things can get quite overwhelming, this post has helped heaps, thanks.

    Reply
  153. itchyfeet
    April 9, 2015

    Great Pointers! Started traveling 3 years ago 2x-3x a year. A few with guided tour and few backpacking trips with friends I met from travels. First time next month, going SOLO for a month to Spain-Portugal. Nervous but more excited. One thing I’ve learned from traveling, ive learned to live within my means and be less materialistic. In the words of my OZ friend, yolo that sh*t. =)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 9, 2015

      Wooo! Congrats on trying it solo. Group travel is fun, but the challenge of going it on your own is a totally different experience.

      Reply
      • Mariana Bobadilla
        May 7, 2015

        Matthew:
        Beautiful blog.
        I would love take a year off and travel the world, but I think it’s easier for a man to go on his own that there’s for a woman. Do you have an input on this?
        I’ve been planning this for a year, i’m saving but I think what is holding me is to go on my own.

        Thank you for all the tips.

        Mariana

        Reply
        • Lindsay
          June 27, 2015

          Great Article Matthew!
          I was going to comment on the general post, but I just saw Mariana’s comment and decided to reply to it and incorporate my comment :)

          Mariana: I’m a 28 year old female who has been traveling nonstop for nearly 3 years. More than 2 of those years have been solo! I completely agree with this list–couldn’t have said it better myself! I have to respond to your assumption that it’s easier for a man. I actually disagree with this. I’ve travelled alone through places like Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Cambodia, among others, and have never had a major issue. I’ve found nothing but kind, helpful people along the way and haven’t had trouble meeting people to travel with whenever I felt uneasy being alone. Hostels are amazing for easily meeting travel buddies! Just be friendly and open.

          In some ways it’s easier. You’d be surprised how many people/strangers look after you when you’re a solo female. Also, as a woman, I’d say we have the advantage of having an excellent natural intuition. We tend to be a bit more cautious and listen to our inner voices better than the average dude. This goes far when galavanting around the world and can keep you out of many compromising situations.

          Also, there are loads of blogs (including my own) these days featuring the voices of solo female travelers. If you’re looking for confidence, check them out!

        • Matthew Karsten
          June 27, 2015

          Thanks for sharing your own experience Lindsay! This is very similar to what I’ve heard from other solo-female travelers.

  154. Steve
    April 9, 2015

    Mattew, it’s incredible people such as yourself that inspire other people to get out an explore life. Well done!!!!!!
    Keep going my friend.

    Reply
  155. Rob
    April 8, 2015

    I find your #16 comment regarding drunk Australians offensive… accurate but none the less, offensive. Happy travels cobber.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 9, 2015

      Stereotypes are funny, but of course not always true. Maybe you’re the exception Rob. If it helps the sting, Americans are loud and obnoxious too. :)

      Reply
  156. Tanmay
    April 7, 2015

    Agree with them all, Great post. I can’t thank enough to you for writing this and Glad I came across just before my 1st long road trip across UK.

    Thanks once again Mathew.

    Keep Roaming.!!

    Reply
  157. Lyuthar
    April 3, 2015

    Hey Matthew!!! It’s my pleasure to read your post regarding world travel. You share great recipe for travelers which help other individuals as well.

    Reply
  158. Noe Garcia
    April 1, 2015

    I love all this advice THANK YOU!
    Very happy I found this website, I have been hesitant to drop everything and travel but SCARE of the what-if…
    Awesome post!

    Reply
  159. Jessica
    March 24, 2015

    This article is great! I wrote up my top 6 last night but cool to see where people overlap! What a beautiful life!

    Reply
  160. Curtis
    March 24, 2015

    My better half and my self are planning a 1year trip around the world I am interested in India the most and her in Mongolia, Is there any advice for the two you could give, We like to get lost and off the beaten path. We both like the idea of woofing :) so any places and advice would be grateful thanks

    Reply
  161. Gerald
    March 20, 2015

    Great Article! I wish I had this kind of adventure. Traveling around the world and meeting amazing people with different culture.

    Reply
  162. Carrie
    March 19, 2015

    Great list of travel tips that can help anyone, no matter if a weekend trip or a around the world trip.

    Reply
  163. Hannah
    March 19, 2015

    Great list, I am still working on a handful of these yet after 2 years of traveling. Pack less, don’t plan much, and patience are all things I still need to work on. Safe travels!

    Reply
  164. Aijika
    March 14, 2015

    Hi Matthew,

    Interesting blog, i love the way you adventurous and eat for other country.
    You inspire me to be adventurous.
    And i suggest try you to travel in asia. there’s so many good things about there.

    Reply
  165. steve
    March 13, 2015

    Amazing , especially from an American, if only all your compariots acted the same. As someone who started world travelling 40 years ago, the noticeable change from most travellers has been the opposite to all you suggest. Most now seem to want a lifestyle similar to the home country rather than soak up the local culture. If there is a big mac and a coca cola they have that rather than even try the local delights. Another tip, take a silk sleeping bag liner, packs really small and keep those bugs off and cool too.

    Reply
  166. Julie
    March 11, 2015

    Amazing article! So many great tips for new and experienced travelers! That’s definitely things you should do while going somewhere you don’t know. I think the most important is to be able to leave your comfort zone, stay open minded, and actually do everything to know the culture and the people.

    Thanks for these useful info!

    Reply
  167. Ratna
    March 10, 2015

    Should’ve done that a long time ago . Really helpful tips btw . So much tips that i havent done . Thanks broo really nice content . Really helpful
    Surfing A Globe

    Reply
  168. MikesRoadTrip
    March 9, 2015

    Hey Matthew! Some great tips here…even for the experienced traveler. :-)

    Reply
  169. Molly Kate
    March 3, 2015

    Great site! Looking forward to following you in the future!

    Reply
  170. Ashley
    February 27, 2015

    Loved this! I’ve done a bit of traveling myself. Most recently Costa Rica for three weeks. Which was my first backpacking experience. I absolutely fell in love with it. I was used to going to all inclusive vacations and staying in these hotels that require tour guide for everything you want to see. Never again. The freedom from backpacking is Unreal. The people you meet this way and the things you see.. it can’t be beat. My goal now is to save as much money as possible for a year, sublet my apartment, and quit my job. I want to travel for as long as possible and see as much as I can. What is your advice for a woman traveling around the world solo?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      March 16, 2015

      Wooo! That’s awesome Ashley. There’s nothing like that first experience to plant the seed for a lifetime of meaningful travel.

      As for traveling as a woman, I really can’t help much with that, but check out the travel blogs of my friends Jodi, Kiersten, and Kristin for tips.

      Reply
  171. David
    February 22, 2015

    Matt,
    Very cool read. I do travel quite a bit but of course I want to travel more! Definitely have used a few of those excuses you mentioned.
    Keep it up!

    Reply
  172. Luke Johnson
    February 21, 2015

    Hey this is amazing! I love this site so much, it inspires me to actually make a move to travel. But out of curiosity, I think everyone will also love this, could you maybe give some sort of quote (preferably made by you) to carry around with me? You’re inspiring enough, but I’d appreciate that a lot and, by the way, I might even get it tattooed, why not? xD

    Reply
  173. Will
    February 17, 2015

    Great article Matt, you continue to inspire with your stunning pictures and epic adventures – keep up the good work!! :)

    Reply
  174. Guillermo
    February 16, 2015

    Hi Matthew,
    Thanks for sharing your notes and experiences.
    I am gathering information for a Gap Year in 2016, and I am feeling pretty excited about it.
    Cheers from Buenos Aires!!

    Reply
  175. Liam Stanton
    February 12, 2015

    Great pictures!

    Reply
  176. cathy
    February 7, 2015

    LOVE this post! I just wandered into your site for the first time. So many excellent tips that resonate with me. I just hit county number 54!! Okay – going back in to read more : ) cheers!

    Reply
  177. Vic
    February 4, 2015

    Hey Mat,

    Have you visited Philippines already? Try Coron Palawan.

    Cheers!
    Vic ;)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 5, 2015

      Just arrived here actually. Thanks for the tip!

      Reply
      • Charles Rahm
        February 23, 2015

        Don’t miss Palawan! It truly is one of the nicest places on Earth. I skipped Coron, but just around Puerto Princesa and El Nido is beautiful enough already. :-)

        Reply
  178. Uptourist
    February 2, 2015

    I got to say that I love tip #10. I needed it at times when I feel that I can’t go to place that I always wanted to visit. I guess it pays to just keep on looking for a way.

    Reply
  179. Darby of Green Travel Antics
    January 28, 2015

    I think it’s critically important to take care of your body when traveling. It’s so easy lose track of what you’re eating when you are moving around, but it’s hard to enjoy what new places have to offer when you’re vomiting or lethargic.

    Reply
  180. Charles McCool
    January 26, 2015

    Fantastic tips. Get off the beaten path, Yes! and always!

    Reply
  181. Nora
    January 17, 2015

    Great tips and even better photos. Keep blogging Matthew! :)

    Reply
  182. Kristin of YesNomads.com
    January 17, 2015

    Hi Matthew
    Thanks for sharing these tips. They are really good! Love your images, especially the first one.

    Reply
  183. Daria
    January 14, 2015

    Hi Mattew! Great tips, and thanks for recommending Couchsurfing.org – surprisingly I have never passed by this useful source!

    Happy travels 2015!

    Reply
  184. Damon and Jo
    January 13, 2015

    “Those people who wait to travel never will. ”

    Love that you said. It’s what we’re all about, which is why we’re often caught telling people to “shut up and go.”

    Reply
  185. Mauro
    January 6, 2015

    Hi!
    you’re great , I like your travels and the pics in this article are stunning!!
    Big compliments!

    Reply
  186. Omar
    December 29, 2014

    “I thought I’d rocket through Nicaragua in a week or two, but ended up living there for 4 months.”

    You sir, are my hero.

    You have listed everything I wanted to know, thank you. I hope someday we meet.

    Reply
  187. Meera M
    December 28, 2014

    Great travel tips!!! I totally agree and Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  188. alicia
    December 27, 2014

    Hi! Thanks for great info and inspiration! For traveling/backpacking; would you choose a small laptop or a tablet with keyboard for blogging,e-mailing and saving pictures?

    Reply
  189. natasha
    December 25, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your travel tips with us! I totally agree with what you wrote, people who really want to travel but never do because they are afraid. Yet, they enjoy listening to my stories wishing they had the courage to do it, such a shame.
    Best of luck and keep writting:)

    Reply
  190. amant houris
    December 23, 2014

    It is very nice article & very very nice tips I wish i can in one day write an article like this. that mean I travel the world and when I finish writing the article.
    I’m from algeria

    Reply
  191. Syakir
    December 15, 2014

    Wow, nice tips. It is so good for me as a newbie traveller.. Thank you so much

    Reply
  192. Kris
    December 11, 2014

    I added these to my Evernote so I can read them easily on the road once in a while as a reminder!
    Thanks Matthew

    Reply
  193. Priit Kaasik
    December 5, 2014

    Great tips indeed! I traveled in Northern-India few years back and one of the most interesting part of the trip was a Shimla-Manali jeep tour. The best thing about it? Landslides! Instead of staying and passing time in a roadside motel, use the time to visit off the track villages. Try to give a hand in agricultural work for example and share a drink and a snack. You’ll be likely invited to homes and you’ll get a very special experience. Carry some pictures from your home, because English may be rare, but pictures may say more than a thousand words. They will enjoy the experience as well.
    I could give some information about some special places to visit or stay in this area, but well… I didn’t take notes :(

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      December 18, 2014

      I agree Priit! Sharing family photos is a wonderful way to break the ice and communicate with local people, even if you can’t speak the language.

      Reply
  194. Tom Farrington
    December 5, 2014

    Yes, love the bit about talking with the locals. I have been in Indonesia for a month and my favorite part so far has been talking with the local people, learning their language, and trying to communicate. I’ve learned so many inspirational and emotional stories from the people here. It changes what it means to be human, when you can interact and empathize with people from different cultures and who speak different languages.

    Reply
  195. Raj
    December 3, 2014

    Wonderful write up here… Can agree much with your patient tip and keeping an open mind while on the road. Very often we expect a lifestyle on road as we get at our home place, but we have to remember the road is the best teacher in life provided we know how to deal with the situations good or bad that arises as a result of travel.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      December 18, 2014

      I’ve become much more patient over the years after so much travel. Shit happens, it’s not the end of the world.

      Reply
  196. Fabiana
    December 2, 2014

    Out of these the one about waking up ealy is the one I do the most, you are 100% right. The best things happen early in the morning.

    Reply
  197. Daniel
    November 29, 2014

    Hi I will get penson soon I think. Im 31 and Im thinking. Why stay? No girlfrend and free. But I dont want to live like this. I want to trevel. I will get like 10000 dollar/m.

    Will I make it on this?

    Reply
  198. Tara
    November 24, 2014

    What is your suggestion for dealing with pets? My hubby and I want to travel long-term but we love our cats. What solution do you suggest? Thank you!

    Reply
  199. Fabio
    November 23, 2014

    Hey Matthew, how are you? (maybe “where are you” would be a more appropriate question.. ;-)

    I’m starting to plan a long budget travel and your blog has been a great source of inspiration. However there’s a little problem here: for philosophical reasons I’m vegan. No meat, cheese, eggs, nothing from animals.

    Judging by your experience, do you think I’m gonna have a hard time?

    Thanks a lot

    Fabio
    São Paulo, Brazil

    Reply
  200. John
    November 18, 2014

    Awesome travel tips!! I hope to start traveling soon abroad, but as an American I wonder if there are some places more hostile towards Americans than others, whenever I talk to friends about this (who don’t travel though) love to tell me how much everyone hates Americans..just curious what your thoughts were on this? Any words of wisdom appreciated!!!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 20, 2014

      It’s the same in the United States. We all have stereotypes about other nationalities. Mexican’s aren’t all cartel members, the French aren’t all rude, and Americans aren’t a bunch of gun-nuts shooting up schools. One of the best reasons to travel in my opinion is to see these differences for yourself, and prove the stereotypes wrong. However traveling extensively might give you a wake-up call that only in America do people think America is the best country in the world. You get a different view of your country looking in from the outside. In general the attitude isn’t hostile, but be prepared for a few interesting conversations from time to time.

      Reply
      • John
        December 9, 2014

        Cool! Solid advice and good to hear from an experienced traveler. Thanks for taking the time to reply, appreciate it! Really enjoy the site!
        -john

        Reply
  201. Wendy
    November 17, 2014

    I was completely turned off by this list when I saw “Keep an open mind” next to a photo of a cockfight. I have worked with animals (and people) rescued from this disgusting “sport” and what they’ve been through is absolutely horrifying. There is no need to keep an open mind about a practice that profits off of the torture and deaths of innocent animals. Also, in about 99% of the cockfighting cases I dealt with, drugs, guns, and human trafficking were also involved behind-the-scenes.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 17, 2014

      That’s exactly what I mean about keeping an open mind Wendy. Just because this might be the case near you does not mean that’s the situation everywhere. These are farmers at a very popular, family friendly, completely legal, village festival in rural Nicaragua. Assuming your personal values are the most moral and everyone else is wrong, is close minded. However if you visit and talk to these people rather than assume things, I guarantee you’ll think differently. You still may not agree with it, which is fine, but please don’t blindly assume they are criminals.

      Different cultures, different laws, different values.

      Reply
      • Jamie
        November 19, 2014

        Heck yes. Love this response!

        Reply
      • Fabio
        November 26, 2014

        Hi Matthew. I agree with Wendy and I also was disappointed when I saw it.

        What if instead of a cockfight you find on a travel blog a picture of a black woman on a bus sitting on a seat for “colored people”, next to a caption “keep an open mind”? Should a 19th century traveler from a land with no slavery consider it a matter of opening his mind when he finally saw it?

        Yes, some things can be just wrong no matter how much popular, accepted, standard or legal they are. Some things can’t be relativised. Cockfights, bullfights, dogfights – they are nothing but torture, abuse and mistreatment of innocent beings. For me too see them for what they really are is the true mind opening stance. Not the opposite.

        Reply
        • Matthew Karsten
          November 26, 2014

          So you’d rather I not show it? Because it’s ugly? I post what I see, and don’t judge people for having different views than my own. In fact I embrace the differences, and want to learn more about them. That’s what I mean about having an open mind — it doesn’t mean I support cockfighting. But I don’t preach against it either. The chicken we eat in the United States gets tortured far more than these animals do… (I hope you don’t eat chicken).

          If you’re so passionate about it though, I suggest you take more action than simply leaving comments on my blog.

          Don’t be another armchair activist Fabio! Go donate money right now to specifically help stop cockfighting. Otherwise your words here are meaningless — and you’re as guilty as I am for doing nothing to stop it.

      • Fabio
        November 27, 2014

        Indeed I don’t eat chicken. Or fish, red meat or eggs. I also don’t drink milk or eat cheese. I don’t go to zoos, rodeos, bullfights, circuses with animals. I don’t ride horses or charriots. I don’t wear leather, fur, wool. And I would never set my foot on a cockfight event (or post it). That’s my way of not supporting it. That’s my activism. I’m not an armchair activist.

        Do you keep an open mind about female genital mutilation practised by some traditions or religions? Sorry, Matt, but I don’t agree with you. Slavery didn’t end (legally) because enlightened people kept an open mind about it. Same goes for child labor, public executions, segregation. Human moral evolves exactly because people assume a critical stance about tradition instead of keeping an open mind. And the fact that it’s happening on a different culture doesn’t make it right, moral or ok. Like you I have a big respect for other cultures, but I don’t let it blur my views of right and wrong. I think cultures and differences must be embraced critically, not blindly.

        Peace.

        Reply
        • Matthew Karsten
          November 28, 2014

          Comparing slavery and genital mutilation to watching chickens kill each other, something they do naturally anyway, is a bit of a stretch my friend. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  202. mark
    November 15, 2014

    Ever been to Paris? I’m from Philippines and haven’t visited other countries yet but I really love to go to Paris.

    Reply
  203. Joan
    November 13, 2014

    Such inspiring tips! Time to start planning my next trip :)

    Reply
  204. Steph
    November 12, 2014

    Wonderful blog! So inspiring!

    Do you have any tips about visa’s whilst travelling around the world? Did you buy them in advance prior to setting out?

    Reply
  205. Railaddict
    November 9, 2014

    Thank you very much for this excellent article. Every single point you write is correct and inspires to organise the next trip.

    Reply
  206. Jerneja Prvinsek
    November 5, 2014

    I loved your post! I’m only 17, but planning to go across the world when I finish high school. Very useful tips, thank you. I can’t wait to get out there! Keep writting

    Reply
  207. Alecia
    November 4, 2014

    Great tips! Thank you for your expert advice.

    Reply
  208. Brenda
    November 3, 2014

    Wonderful and very useful tips. Love your blog

    Reply
  209. Frank
    November 3, 2014

    Agree with the pack less. That would be fine if it was just me travelling because my hair not much different than yours. But try convincing a Latina with nappy hair…
    I’m hoping one day to convince her to shave it off, just like that black girl did in an episode of the Amazing Race a few seasons back. Without the hair could lighten the load in the backpacks by about half.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    Reply
  210. lozzie
    November 3, 2014

    you’ve helped me a lot, thank you! seriously!

    -L

    Reply
  211. lily
    October 30, 2014

    Really useful tips thanks Matthew

    Reply
  212. Jacob
    October 26, 2014

    hey man,

    love your site, its in my top 3 favorite travel blogs. in december i was planning on traveling to nicaragua and costa rica( first time traveling :D). I noticed how you said you ended up staying in nicaragua for 4 months instead of the planned 2 weeks. I have a somewhat similar mindset in where i don’t want to plan too much (though i won’t be bringing a laptop so writing down hostels is essential). but the hostels i have looked at all say to reserve a spot when i went on their websites. Do the hostels down there actually require this? or is it just a mere suggestion?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 17, 2014

      It’s a suggestion. If the place you want is full, there will almost always be something else nearby. The hostel just wants you to stay with them, not a competitor. So of course they’ll say book something now. You don’t need to.

      Reply
  213. okinyi
    October 24, 2014

    Hello guys! I’m from Tanzania in Africa i warmly invite you all to come and explore the beautiful places as well as historical sites. Tanzania is full of honest and kind people you will enjoy to travel in my country!
    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Jenny
      November 4, 2014

      #1 place on my list! When’s the best weather? And the national park – when is it open?
      thank you

      Reply
  214. Bern
    October 23, 2014

    just followed you on instagram! wow, you are inspiring!

    Reply
  215. Sophi Medren
    October 18, 2014

    Hey Matthew,
    These traveling tips are really amazing. I am planning for a world tour with my friends that time we are definitely considering above mentioned points for making our travel memorable.

    Reply
  216. Motasim Billah Hunney
    October 13, 2014

    thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks…….. your blog is the most useful travel site I visited ever….. please keep writing….

    Reply
  217. Margaret Ellis
    October 8, 2014

    Really like your posts. My husband, dog, and I are retired (I am 71) and after years of winter vacations, we are spending 6 months driving around Mexico. Good for you for getting an early start.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      October 9, 2014

      That’s wonderful Margaret! You are going to love Mexico. One of my favorite countries by far. Have fun!

      Reply
  218. Fateme
    October 6, 2014

    Wow,Your tips are extremely great .Take enormous enjoyment of your travel

    Reply
  219. Jake Ryan
    September 26, 2014

    Good Post. Agree with them all.
    Jake

    Reply
  220. Jackie
    September 25, 2014

    My question is…any suggestions on navigating around when English is not present?

    Reply
  221. Sterling
    September 24, 2014

    Really helpful and insightful post. I’m a 43-yr old father of 5 and we’ll be embarking on an ‘RTW’ trip commencing in November. We’re RTW virgins so every bit of useful info that we can ingest is like nutrition for the body. Perhaps we’ll meet in our travels. We’ll be starting a travel blog too so your blog is helpful in more ways than one. Thanks and keep sharing.

    Reply
  222. Samantha Cannon
    September 18, 2014

    Hi I’m only 13 and I really want to travel this has helped me a lot .Keep writing .thank you

    Reply
  223. Eka Zahra
    September 14, 2014

    Hi Matthew, it’s a good article for travelers… thank you for sharing your tips… keep writing… :)

    Reply
  224. Kelly
    September 12, 2014

    I found your blog today and am really enjoying reading it. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it and especially for the laundry post! Kelly

    Reply
  225. Richard
    September 12, 2014

    Like your posting. I”ve started traveling in my 60’s a little long in the tooth but have the time of my life. Should have sold out years ago. Keep up the writing Richard

    Reply
  226. Trine-Marie
    September 1, 2014

    I love this post! And I agree with just about everything. I wish I’d read this before my 6 week road trip across the US. It was my first long trip, and I see lots of room for improvement. Especially when it comes to packing…

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      September 2, 2014

      Glad you liked it Trine-Marie, packing is something we all get better with the more we have to do it.

      Reply
  227. Emma Mills
    August 11, 2014

    Hey Matthew. I am so happy I found this site, it has truly insipired me! I am leaving Essex, England in just two days to go out to Austrailia with an open ticket. I have no idea what to expect and I am not totally sure how I feel about it all either, but for once I just know I have faith in myself to go and make the most of it, because that’s all I can do.
    But seriously, stumbling upon your site has made me more confident in thinking how this will pan out.
    Although I am only staying in one country, unlike what you did which from what I can see was incredible! But, I am only 18 and it’s my first time traveling alone, so I think Austrailia will be big enough for me to start off with.
    P.s. I am going shopping today to go and get myself a scarf !!

    Reply
  228. itchy feet traveler
    August 4, 2014

    Embracing failure and learning to love every bit of it will bring you the greatest inexplicable happiness!!!!

    Thanks for the great post :)

    Reply
  229. Jim
    July 22, 2014

    I couldn’t agree more with #30 (myself included). iT IS so easy to make endless excuses of why it cannot be done. My latest excuse is money. When I look back at every trip I have taken of any distance in the past, I remember having to adopt the attitude of JUST DO IT ! MAKE IT HAPPEN ! AGAIN, I HAVE TO PUT tunnel vision on it and MAKE IT HAPPEN. You opened my eyes to the fact I allowed myself to get back into the trap of one bullshit excuse after another and always next month or later. Later never comes for most people. Thank You so much for sharing your adventures and opening my eyes to the fact I, once again have to MAKE IT HAPPEN !!! I HAVE NO EXCUSE. It took reading your website to realize that. Good luck traveling the road that really does go on forever.

    Reply
  230. melanie
    July 20, 2014

    I thought your blog was interesting and helpful. I love to travel. your mention of being open minded is very true, except when you use cruelty to animals as a form of entertainment. If you have an opinion that it’s wrong that is not being arrogant that is just being a decent human being with morals. If we are to be open minded about animal abuse then we must be equally open minded about abuse to humans. I personally would not go and watch either there is far better entertainment to watch while traveling.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      July 23, 2014

      You’ll have to explain what you mean. How/where am I being cruel to animals?

      Reply
      • Rithika
        August 25, 2014

        She’s talking about the chicken fight photo. For what its worth i know it was for representation only.

        Reply
  231. Gigi
    July 3, 2014

    Those are great tips :) I’m planning on leaving my job and pursue my studies while travelling the world this coming january! I have no idea for how long but at least 8 months ! My goal is to have a better understanding of foreign markets, governments, culture and more …. I’m doing my master in International business management online and in addition to my academic knowledge, I want to further my personal knowledge about the world… Its a a huge dream and project and I can’t wait to be on the adventure :)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      July 4, 2014

      Cool Gigi! I know you’ll have a great time and learn a lot, I sure have. Exploring the world provides a wonderful education you just can’t get in any school.

      Reply
  232. M.zahid Travel
    May 29, 2014

    Wow, Enjoyed a lot while reading.. you have mentioned very nice details.. keep sharing.

    Reply
  233. Balooh
    May 27, 2014

    Amazing tips, well worth remembering!! Going to bookmark.
    Really enjoying going through your blog, feels as though I’m on vacation myself, thanks for sharing :-)

    Reply
  234. Dave Briggs
    May 25, 2014

    Great tips! Your outlook seems to be quite similar to mine (maybe not the parachute bit though!). I’d add limiting yourself to social media once a week only in there. I feel sorry for todays kids backpacking, who must at times feel they never left home as they are so up to date with whats going on. Wha’ts left to talk about when they phone home?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 26, 2014

      Good point. But social media is here to stay. Rarely do people revert to old ways when it comes to new communication technology. How many people write and mail physical letters these days?

      I actually just finished watching the movie “Her”. It really makes you think.

      Reply
  235. Amber28Mummyof2
    May 24, 2014

    Really enjoyed reading these..I am a single mother of 2 and haven’t been out of the country since 2009, I have a burning desire to travel and have no idea how to make it happen..hopefully I will figure it out and be able to share amazing adventures with my children one day.

    Reply
  236. Rebekah Voss
    May 16, 2014

    I love what you say about maintaining relationships back home. It can be so easy to get swept up in the excitement of a new place and feel like you’re on a different planet. But as you say, most travel friendships and relationships come and go quickly – you gotta give love to the folks back home (and ask how THEY’RE doing, even IF you just scaled a volcano).

    Reply
  237. Wandering_Grace
    May 14, 2014

    So many great tips! Thank you…

    Reply
  238. Josef Carlo Mission
    May 11, 2014

    wow, this has been very helpful. you certainly have travelled a lot. those tips that you mentioned will help me on my next destination. thanks

    Reply
  239. R.Mar
    May 11, 2014

    I like this idea of always traveling. I;m curious how do you pay or afford this life style?

    Reply
  240. Gezin op Reis
    May 5, 2014

    Wow one of the best list of “things learned from travelling” i have read recently. Agree with almost all of them. Like the wake up early and say yes often.

    Reply
  241. alexa
    May 1, 2014

    I am in high school, I have been torn for some time on what to do after high school. I want to go to college and have the whole experience that college has to offer. I also want to backpack around Europe with my cousin and take a gap year. I feel that if I take a gap year I will be behind in my life. I also do not want to look back at my life ten years from now and regret not traveling…… If you see this, could you help me in some way??

    Reply
    • Bronny
      August 25, 2014

      Hi Alexa, I understand your concern 100%. I was in high school last year and did not want to take a gap year for the same reason as you and so I did both. I did a 6 month course which enabled me to find out what I want to study next year and get a diploma in Business Management. This course was at my local college and enabled me to get a bit of college experience. I also worked during the first 6 months and now for the second 6 months I am going to be travelling with the money I earned with some qualifications under my belt! It is the perfect combination and I feel that this Gap Year has truly helped me to find out what I want to do one day and more importantly who I want to become as a person. Good Luck! And enjoy whichever decision you make!

      Reply
  242. Rashad Pharaon
    April 24, 2014

    #21 is my favorite – a place (and its people) doesn’t start to really open up until at LEAST a few weeks into your stay. From there it only gets better, as you begin to discover places you didn’t existed (“Wait, there’s a BEACH?!) and things about your new friends you never knew before (“Wait, Truong has a KID?!).

    Reply
  243. Szaboo
    April 24, 2014

    Thank You Matthew! :)

    Im only 21, living in China, Shenzhen, 10000 kms from my home, Hungary. Ive always been a curious person, but never thought i can start exploring this early. Well, im still just on the way, but i see this huge opportunity in my life. However i got something more, cause my hobby-job is graphic designing and videography. Videography is the thing i want to live for, to share my view of the world, and i always knew it works only if i travel a lot. So now Im looking forward travelling with equipment that will serve me well, but still i can fit in my backback(s). It probably means i need to reduce all my stuff as much as i can. Now Im saving money and getting equipment for videography, but i hope than in a few years im ready to go on. :) I will probably need different plans for different matters. If i want to experience a place, i will bring less video equipment, to keep comfort. If i concentrate on video, i will bring more professional equipment, and plan some easier tour. Im just so excited :) Your blog is a perfect start to learn about the difficulties and responsibilities of travelling.

    Let the universe determine the rest. I did it, probably that’s how I ended here :)

    Reply
  244. Raphael Alexander Zoren
    April 8, 2014

    Great tips, Matthew but I must say I’m a little bit disappointed that you chose to feature cockfighting as the image for “Keep an open mind”. Animal cruelty is always a bad practice no matter the cultural background behind it (such as bullfighting).

    Reply
  245. Holyland nepali
    March 30, 2014

    Grt informative and interesting blog love the way you share yours thought and point for traveling
    Kathmandu
    Guest House

    Reply
  246. Stacey
    March 1, 2014

    Thank you for posting this! Some great advice – I’m definatly going to check out those podcasts! :)

    Reply
  247. Brittany
    February 20, 2014

    I absolutely LOVE your blog. Best one i’ve found yet! I’m working on making it to Cambodia this summer and continue to travel from there. My goal is to be a vagabond and see the world, not sit behind a desk and dream ;)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      March 7, 2014

      Thanks for stopping by Brittany! Glad you’re enjoying it. I think everyone should follow their dreams.

      Reply
  248. Felinda
    February 14, 2014

    I just found your site and just wanted to say thank you for your tips. I love traveling and my goal is to travel at least three times a year. A combination of a few small trips and a big one outside U.S. I’m so excited to start reading you blog and learn from them. I’m going to Fiji and New Zealand this coming April and i cannot wait.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      March 7, 2014

      Fiji is really special Felinda. The people there are so friendly and the islands are beautiful. Have fun!

      Reply
  249. Hari Bhuvan
    February 12, 2014

    Great Post. Truly inspiring to travel.

    Reply
  250. Tigerlily
    February 9, 2014

    Thanks for this. Although I am not able to vagabond, I make a point of travelling someplace at least once or twice a year, usually with a husband and two kids in tow. We are off to Singapore and Malaysia (Borneo) in the next few weeks. So many of our friends, and even our family, can not understand why we travel now and with our children no less, suggesting that we should wait until we are retired or that our children won’t appreciate the travel. It’s such antiquated thinking, and I am so glad we don’t give it any creedance. Bottom line is, you never know what tomorrow will bring so seize the day. Our kids, at 11 and 14, have been to 9 different countries so far, experiencing them off the beaten path. We rent homes, we don’t stay at 5 star resorts. No they do not always understand how lucky they are to have the opportunities, but the knowledge they have gained seeing the world is incredible and they assume they will continue to travel throughout their lives. It’s a part of their lifestyle, they don’t see that there are any barriers to travel and have no fear or reservations about going to different places. I think that is an amazing gift to gift to someone…its something I had to learn as an adult!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      March 7, 2014

      Exactly! Even a little travel will open your mind and help teach your children to respect people of all cultures, and gain knowledge about the world that just isn’t taught in school. Thanks so much for sharing Tigerlily. Have fun in Malaysia.

      Reply
  251. Maureen Mizrahi
    February 5, 2014

    Truly inspiring post! thanks for the awesome tips!

    Reply
  252. Jessica
    January 27, 2014

    Great tips, it gets me the travel vibe again! One question I would like to ask: how do/did you estimate the $$ to travel one year non-stop?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 27, 2014

      I knew I was going to be in Central America for the first year. If you’re traveling through inexpensive countries, you can live on $800-$1000 a month. Other areas of the world can be closer to $1500 a month (Europe). This is if you’re staying in hostels, not spending a ton on guided tours, avoiding fancy restaurants, etc. So I saved about $7k and decided to see how long it would last. I was also earning some money selling ebooks about photography & club promoting, which I could manage from anywhere.

      The thing is, you can travel for as long as you want. It doesn’t have to be a year. Save some money, see how long you can make it last. Setting some aside for a return ticket home/other expenses if needed.

      Reply
      • Jessica
        January 27, 2014

        You are right and thanks again! Enjoy Spain, which is my favorite country!

        Reply
  253. PurpleTravelKate
    January 24, 2014

    Love this post! It’s given me a little boost on this Friday morning. :)

    Reply
  254. Roy Faires
    January 19, 2014

    A modification for #1: Expect something will go wrong, because it always does. It’s an attitude adjustment that allows the traveler to take it all in stride, rather than see it as an unnecessary problem. Besides, often I have discovered that solving the problem not only feels good, but may take your travel in an unanticipated and better direction.

    OH, one other “must have” that I have cherished. A small feather pillow that can be compressed in a ziplock bag. This item may result in the difference between a comfortable ride, a deep night’s sleep or being able to block out unwanted sunlight.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 27, 2014

      Very true Roy. Thanks for the tips. I’ll sometimes roll up my scarf to create a makeshift pillow for the same reason.

      Reply
  255. Traveling Ted
    January 18, 2014

    Travel tip #31- Read this post daily. Amazing tips.

    Reply
  256. Jeremy
    January 16, 2014

    I always do my best to get out of the main areas in other countries. Like I’ve told people before when I talk about going to France they assume I went to Paris. I tell them that if I wanted to see Americans I would have stayed home. I love to learn about new people and places and ways of life and you can’t do that unless you get out there and meet people. I really enjoyed your list and whole heartedly agree. Will be hitting Italy later this year and looking forward to it.

    Reply
  257. Ozy
    January 13, 2014

    I love these tips. My favorite one and the one I like to practice the most is getting lost. I love having no idea where I am! Especially with GPS on your phone, it’s always easy to find your way back.

    Reply
  258. Elaine Masters
    January 3, 2014

    Great tips! Getting out of the traveler bubble’s so important. My best travel encounters happen by stumbling into an opportunity & slowing down enough, being present enough to stop & hang out.

    Reply
  259. kati
    December 30, 2013

    wow. 3 years! congrats & thanks for yout tips!

    Reply
  260. raveburbleblog
    December 21, 2013

    Some great tips there Matt. In my case, I travel with a ukulele. Music is an international language and it’s a great way to meet and mingle with locals and travelers alike. They get to laugh at me a lot (I tend to make a few mistakes and they get to learn a bit of ‘French’ when I do) and you get to create some great memories you wouldn’t otherwise have made. Plus, every now and again, you get a free drink or two if they actually like your playing…

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      March 7, 2014

      Great tip! I’d travel with an instrument if I was musically inclined. Unfortunately I’m not. But I can play a mean 5-gallon bucket drum. :-)

      Reply
  261. Sherry Ott
    December 16, 2013

    Great roundup of advice Matt – really enjoyed it! And thanks for introducing me to a new podcast or two!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      December 17, 2013

      Glad you enjoyed the travel tips Sherry. Podcasts are what saves me on those 10+ hour bus rides.

      Reply
  262. SnarkyNomad
    December 2, 2013

    Going with the flow is such a major shirt in mindset for some people, but it’s incredibly helpful. Nothing is going to work out perfectly, so expecting disaster turns a disaster into a plot twist.

    Reply
  263. Stephanie - The Travel Chica
    November 28, 2013

    I am so glad you included #16. I freaked out when I thought I lost mine because they are crucial for sleeping in hostels or a noisy city and overnight transportation. Also, not easy to find on the road.

    Reply
  264. Lakpa Sherpa
    November 28, 2013

    Nice to read your tips on travelling..Some points make me wonder now..that i was infact ‘scared’ to move out and see the new world outside…thanks

    Reply
  265. Ivana
    November 23, 2013

    Thanks for post, Matthew! We have started to travel recently and can only agree with majority of your advice. What we have found practical on the road is to learn a few basic words and phrases of the local language. It helps a lot not only while doing shopping at the market but also while taking picture of a shy person or so. Congrats to 3 years and looking forward to your next adventurous posts!

    Reply
  266. Anne
    November 22, 2013

    Hello! What a great article that I find myself coming back to every now and then, so I figured I should finally comment. :) My boyfriend and I are leaving for our first (and hopefully not last) long term international adventure – in January. We have read blog after blog searching for advice and tips for long term travel. This one hits em all! I especially like #20 – saying yes to invitations. It’s one we’ve heard from Shannon O’Donnell of ALittleAdrift as well – and is so important to everyone traveling to get the most out of the experience.
    Looking forward to keeping up with you along our journey too.
    Anne

    Reply
  267. Franca
    November 22, 2013

    Such an inspiring post! After 17 months on the road I can say I’m still learning everyday something new, your points are ALL valid and should really inspire more people to leave their comfort zone and explore what is out there!

    Reply
  268. Mahima
    November 22, 2013

    Great photos, great tips, great fun to read your post. Now I am seriously looking to plan a long trip to Europe. I am sure your tips would help me a lot.

    Thanks a lot

    Reply
  269. Megsy
    November 22, 2013

    We agree with so many of your points! We’ve been on the road for 7 months and we’ve realised that what we enjoy the most is taking our time and enjoying a place for is food and it’s people. It’s been surprising which places along the way that we had no idea we would fall in love with (the Philippines is a big one)

    Great article hope we will be able to reflect in a similar way when we complete 3 years of travel ;-)

    Reply
  270. Hecman
    November 21, 2013

    Love your post, specially The tip 7, people watching…

    Reply
  271. Agness
    November 21, 2013

    This is of the most inspiring travel posts I’ve read mate, well done! This is just so incredible how much you can learn from your travel. Waking up early sucks, I agree, but it’s sometimes totally worth it, especially when you admire the sunrise over Angkor Wat :). Yes, interacting with locals is so important and yes I also prefer to slow down a bit when being on the road. If this will not inspire people to leave your comfort zone, I don’t know what will. Once again, AWESOME POST!

    Reply
  272. Amanda
    November 20, 2013

    Great tips, both practical and inspirational. And here’s to many more years of travel ahead!

    Reply
  273. TammyOnTheMove
    November 20, 2013

    I couldn’t agree more with you on the volunteering and meeting locals part. I have had some of my best travel experience with locals and whilst volunteering. You just don’t get this if you stick to your Lonely Plant all the time. I need to learn to plan less though. It is almost compulsive and I need to stop it. I think it will make my travels much more relaxing.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 21, 2013

      I’m by no means a hardcore volunteer traveler, but every once in a while is good for all kinds of reasons. In fact, I think it’s about time I look for a project.

      Reply
  274. Samuel Jeffery
    November 18, 2013

    Congrats on 3 years Matt!

    Reply
  275. Alex Clegg
    November 18, 2013

    Had a blast reading all your tips! I had a few questions though
    1) How did you afford to get from place to place?? I realize you took a lot of local transportation and all that jazz, but attempting to get from Guatemala to, lets say Fiji or Thailand, how did you afford the ticket? Was it all from the money you made when selling all your belongings or did you work while abroad?
    2) I LOVE the idea of getting a tattoo(s) from different places, especially getting them the way the locals do! How did you find these “tattoo artists” in these places?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 21, 2013

      I try to avoid expensive flights as much as possible, but sometimes it’s necessary. My trip to Fiji was sponsored by the Fiji Tourism Board, so they covered that flight. These days I occasionally work with countries or brands to help promote their destinations or products in exchange for compensation of some sort. Sometimes that means free flights, accommodation, or payment. But that’s a recent development.

      You can pay for flights with a little “travel hacking” by collecting large amounts of airline miles for free tickets. My friend Clint talks a lot about this on his site: http://triphackr.com/

      Another option is saving for an “Around the World Ticket” which includes many flights to many different parts of the world for a lot less than buying them individually.

      As for tattoos in foreign countries, just ask around when you get there! I heard about the Thai monk from a friend.

      Reply
  276. Jaime
    November 18, 2013

    Wow Congrats Matt on 3 years of travel. Crazy I have been following along for that long. I still remember when you arrived to your 1st destination and the airline lost your bag. My how time flies. Cheers to many more adventures.

    Reply
  277. Michael
    November 18, 2013

    Great advice. My favorite is the ‘get lost on purpose’. Easily the best one. You find the best things that way.

    Reply
  278. Trish and Shawn
    November 17, 2013

    Wow I can’t believe it has been 3 years! What a huge change from the guy that thought clubs and material possessions were of high importance. I love the change and the experiences that continue to morph you into the broad minded person that you now are. Very proud to call you family and love being along for the ride.
    Love, Trish and Shawn

    Reply
  279. Kevin Montgomery
    November 17, 2013

    Ah the good old money behind the flag trick! I’ve also known people that kept a microSD card with backups of important documents under a patch.

    Reply
  280. Sally@Toddlers on Tour
    November 15, 2013

    Let me say first up “I am a bit offended by the drunk Australian’s comment – we are not all like that”

    Anyway some really genuine good tips, love the one about waking early. I love sitting having a coffee while I watch the town come to life.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 16, 2013

      Sorry Sally! But it was all in good fun. :D

      I’m up early with coffee doing that right this moment actually.

      Reply
  281. Michael Devine
    November 15, 2013

    So many great tips! Where do i begin? Yes! Of course! SMILE! I liked all thirty, but that one can really make ( or fix ) a trip . After twenty years in another country ( Costa Rica ) i find that you get aquainted with the Locals /& travellers with a simple smile. Doors open so much easier with a simple sincere smile! That goes as well with being humble & respect the people & the place you are in.

    Reply
  282. Chris Cavallari - Part Time Vagabond
    November 15, 2013

    I love this post! The last point about how people make excuses is interesting. Have you done posts about, say, what to do with pets while you travel, or how to travel with pets? Those could be really good topics to tackle.

    I’ll admit, fear is always the biggest reason I and other travelers DON’T do something. It’s a shame, since I love experiencing new things, and I almost always feel better for it!

    Reply
  283. Jeannie Mark
    November 15, 2013

    Karsten, LOVE this post. It speaks to so many truths as much as it represents your personality and philosophy in life.

    Fear is the #1 reason to never do anything, whether it be travel or something else. The thing is, 95% of what we fear never usually happens. And we’re on the same timeline, I’m on 3 years too! Wah! :)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 21, 2013

      Woohoo! Congrats on your 3 years too Jeannie!

      Conquering my fears and proving assumptions wrong is one of the reasons I love to travel. :D

      Reply
  284. Kristin Addis
    November 15, 2013

    Thanks for linking me! GREAT tips. Love this post and agree on everything, especially taking good notes and saying Yes.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 21, 2013

      No problem Kristin. I’m still not fantastic at taking notes, but better than I used to be.

      Reply
  285. Kristen Bor
    November 14, 2013

    Hi Matt! I recently came across your site, and I really love everything about it. From the design and easy navigation to your great stories….the hitch-hiking series in particular. I myself am in the process of developing a community-based travel blog called Bearfoot Theory. I’m still in the design phase, but your site is definitely serving as a source of inspiration. So thanks! and I’m looking forward to keeping up with your travels! -Kristen Bor

    Reply
  286. Paul Miller
    November 14, 2013

    Loved reading this, thank you for writing this. I’m pretty amazed you’ve been able to travel for three years, how can you afford this? That is the single biggest issue stopping me.

    Paul

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 14, 2013

      Hi Paul! The key is not to think of travel as a “vacation”. Renting short-term apartments or staying in cheap hostels & guesthouses can actually cost LESS than living in the US and Europe. We are brainwashed into thinking that travel means staying at resort hotels, going on tours, and eating out at restaurants every night.

      I’m currently spending an average of $32 a day down here in Mexico, and I’m not living like a bum either.

      As for how I make an income, I’m planning a big article about that soon. But it’s a combination of freelance writing, photography, brand & marketing partnerships, affiliate links, and advertising. But like most long-term travelers I know, I downsized my lifestyle and saved money to pay for the first year. It’s not easy — but certainly possible.

      Reply
  287. James
    November 14, 2013

    Amazing travel tips Mathew! Thanks for sharing it with me.

    Reply
  288. Elys
    November 14, 2013

    These are great tips! Especially the one about waking up early and catching that magic hour. That’s one thing i kept failing to do.

    Anyway, another tip is to take advantage of free things to do everywhere (ie. free entry, free walking tours, etc.)
    I collect these free stuffs on my site Broke Tourist http://www.broketourist.net

    Check it out if you like. May come in handy.

    Cheers, Elys

    Reply
  289. Tenzing Thinley
    November 14, 2013

    Great advice. Cultural competency is a skill that can be developed quickly while traveling – it begins with self awareness and leads to treating fellow human beings with genuine respect. We are in the process of selling all to travel, and we intend to go slow.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 21, 2013

      Very true Tenzing. Good luck on minimizing your lifestyle and future travel adventures!

      Reply
  290. Jenny Smith
    November 14, 2013

    Thank you for this post – every single one of these tips resonate. You’ve nailed them brilliantly. The one about getting up early is a great one, I think. You can really get a feel for a place just by watching it wake up. I’m going to keep this post to remind myself how to make the best out of every day on the road. Thanks again :)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 21, 2013

      Glad you enjoyed it jenny. One of the reasons I wrote it out was to have an easy way to remind myself as well. :)

      Reply
  291. Dave @ NomadSpirit
    November 14, 2013

    Congrats on the 3 years dude! I have been contemplating waking up early for the last month or so after being forced to for a flight. Maybe its time to make the change and learn from my elders (in travel years that is)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 21, 2013

      I always seem to capture great moments on my camera early in the morning. People getting started with their day. It’s easier to pull someone aside for a portrait when they’re less busy with customers so early in the morning.

      Reply
  292. Kathrin
    November 14, 2013

    I agree with soo many of these and we’ve only been on the road two months. You give us lots more to challenge ourselves! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 21, 2013

      No worries Kathrin, glad you enjoyed it. Have fun on your journey!

      Reply
  293. Dan @ A Cruising Couple
    November 14, 2013

    Great tips! We definitely agree with all of these, and couldn’t have said it better ourselves. I think the taking care of your body one and maintaing connections with people back home are especially important. It’s so easy to let those things slip by the wayside, but they are so necessary for overall wellbeing! We need to start listening to more podcasts though, that’s for sure :) Congrats on 3 years!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 15, 2013

      Thanks Dan. There are many great podcasts out there. I love to read, but listening to podcasts lets you gaze out the windows of a bus, which isn’t really possible with a book.

      Reply
  294. Sky
    November 13, 2013

    “An investment in travel is an investment in yourself. ” I LOVE that line!

    Reply
  295. Clint
    November 13, 2013

    I bought the shemagh you recommended before my last trip and wore it just about every day. It is a new staple for all future trips. Great suggestion and tips!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 15, 2013

      Awesome Clint! I see it in your profile pic actually. Small, light, and it has so many uses. Glad you’re enjoying it.

      Reply
  296. Russell Mease
    November 13, 2013

    This is a great list Matthew! Great wisdom from so many experiences. Every time I travel I expand and grow my understanding of the world and of myself.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 15, 2013

      Travel is a wonderful form of education that you just can’t get in school.

      Reply
  297. Lisa
    November 13, 2013

    Hey Matt!
    Great tips! I often travel alone – and agree with ALL of these. Getting to know the locals is my favorite! They guide you to the BEST places to eat and BEST things to do where the tourists are not.
    I always look forward to your updates.
    Safe travels!

    Reply
  298. Tracy
    November 13, 2013

    Great post! Never thought about stashing cash when we travel but I think we will now. Our #1 travel tip is to bring ziploc bags…we don’t travel anywhere without a handful of them. So useful for a variety of things: packing a picnic lunch, storing toiletries, etc.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 15, 2013

      Ah yes. Ziplock bags is a good tip. I carry a few heavy duty Aloksak ones too. Great for waterproofing your phone, wallet, etc. when traveling on boats or for the beach.

      Reply
  299. Ashley Hubbard
    November 13, 2013

    Love this so much! Makes me so excited about leaving for my journey next year and I can’t wait to be able to write my own travel tips :)

    Reply
  300. Denise
    November 13, 2013

    What is going on in that photo of you breaking out of your comfort zone?!

    And yes, Earplugs! So small. So important!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 13, 2013

      I’m receiving my very first tattoo in Thailand (etched by hand), and letting the Buddhist monk pick the design! Not to mention letting 40 strangers watch, when I had no idea how I’d react.

      Reply
      • Bambi Corro III
        January 15, 2014

        Hey Matt, I was wondering what lens you use for your Sony A7 camera? With this endless backpacking of yours, how many are you bringing and what lens you can’t live without? Cheers from Philippines and Singapore!

        Reply
        • Matthew Karsten
          January 22, 2014

          At the moment I just have the kit lens. Waiting for more E-mount full frame lenses to be released. Like the 24-70 F4 Zeiss next month, then may pick up an ultra wide that will work with it too.

  301. Erick
    November 13, 2013

    I love the “Hilary for President” shirt the Thai tat guy is wearing. Great list.

    Reply
  302. Delphine
    November 13, 2013

    Hey Mat !
    Such a pleasure to read your tips !
    So glad to have met you at your beginnings in Mexico three years ago !
    You’re not just a great traveler, you’re an amazing story teller and photographer ;-)
    I know Switzerland’s not as exotic as Mexico, but you’ll be most welcome whenever you wish to treat your body good with a cheese fondue or find new hiding locations for your “emergency hundred dollars” ;-)
    Keep traveling ! Safe and exciting ;-)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 13, 2013

      Hi Delphine! Meeting awesome people like you is one of the benefits of traveling for so long. Save some Swiss fondue for me…

      Reply
  303. @stevewweiss
    November 13, 2013

    Tip 9a: Only post amazing photos. Or do you only take amazing photos?! Love the one of the cock fight (even if morally wrong) and great tips. The one I always say, is it to slow down in a place. I slowed down while in Chile, and even though I wish I would have gone to other places to snowboard, the locals recognized me as a local eventually. Pretty cool feeling.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 13, 2013

      I agree Steve. Slowing down is always more rewarding in the long run. I included the cock-fight photo because I knew it would stir up some emotions. But it’s an ancient practice with a long tradition around the world. Before we judge other cultures we need to take a look at ourselves. :)

      Reply

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