My 50 Best Travel Tips After 9 Years Traveling The World

Best Travel Tips for Traveling the World
How To Travel The World: My Best Travel Tips
Travel Tips Guide

It’s now been 9 years since I sold everything and left the United States to travel the world. These are the best travel tips to help you save money and have a great trip.

Curious about how to travel the world? I’ve been traveling around the world for 9 years now. And I have many useful travel tips to share from my journey.

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

The experience has been a wild ride — traveling to over 50 countries, meeting countless people, and I’ve learned a ton since I first left!

Having adventures like hitchhiking across America, camping in Greenland, trekking through Afghanistan and much more — the world has been an amazing teacher.

I eventually turned writing about my journey into a successful travel blog, and continue to travel on a regular basis as part of my dream job.

But to celebrate my travelversary (travel anniversary) each year, I update this guide with a collection of my best travel tips to help you save money, stay safe, and inspire others to get out there and explore our world.

And feel free to share your own favorite travel tips in the comments at the end!

My Best Travel Tips: The Ultimate Guide

Travel Tips from a Professional Traveler
Top Travel Tips from a Professional Traveler

Making Travel Easy & Fun

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 To Avoid Crowds

Rise before sunrise to have the best attractions all to yourself while avoiding large tourist crowds. It’s also a magical time for photos due to soft diffused light, and it’s usually easier to interact with locals getting ready for their day.

Want those postcard Instagram shots? You need to get out there before everyone else shows up. Sketchy areas are less dangerous in the morning too. Honest hardworking people wake up early; touts, scammers, and criminals sleep in…

3: Observe Daily Life Around You

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 train of thought 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.

Travel Tips to Have a Good Trip
Relax, and Enjoy Yourself

4: Laugh At Yourself Sometimes

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. Relax!

One time a whole bus full of Guatemalans laughed with glee when I forced the bus 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!

5: Slow Down To Enjoy Your Trip

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. I promise you’ll have a much better time!

6: 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. Just be very careful with voluntourism and do your research, as there are many scams out there too.

READ MORE: 40 Travel Jobs To Work Overseas

Travel Photography Tips
Travel Tip: Take Lots of Photos!

7: Take Lots Of Epic Travel Photos

Pay attention to this travel tip. 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”. Great photos are the ultimate souvenirs.

They don’t cost anything, they’re easy to share, and they don’t take up space in your luggage. Take plenty of photos of yourself too, they’ll be more important than your postcard shots later. Just remember that once you get your shot, it’s important to get out from behind the lens and actually enjoy the view.

8: Don’t Get Discouraged

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 to do isn’t possible, only to prove it wrong later when I don’t listen and try anyway. What’s the worst that can happen? Failing isn’t the end of the world!

9: 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? No one knows who you are out here, you can totally reinvent yourself.

READ MORE: Useful Travel Photography Tips

International Travel Tips for your Journey
Travel Tip: Keep an Open Mind

10: Keep An Open Mind

Don’t judge the lifestyles or customs 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, opinions, religions, customs, and interests. Ask questions. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but you may be surprised what you’ll learn from the people you meet during your travels.

11: 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. And you never know what amazing things you’ll find around the next bend…

Travel Planning Tips & Tricks
Travel Tips to Help You Plan

Travel Planning Tips

12: Be Flexible & Don’t Over Plan

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 because I liked it so much.

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. Be flexible and open to change your plans if you learn about something along the way!

13: Learn A Few Foreign Words

There’s no need to be fluent in order to visit a foreign country. However, taking the time to learn a few phrases in the local language can improve your travel experience. Hello, please, thank you, nice to meet you, excuse me, sorry, and “can I take your portrait” are some of my favorites.

Not being able to communicate while traveling can be frustrating, but remember that this is your problem, not theirs. Raising your voice doesn’t magically help Mexican’s understand English. Try hand signals, images on your phone, or Google Translate!

14: Take An Extra Credit & ATM Card

Having your bank card details stolen can suck, but especially if it happens when you’re visiting a foreign country. If your card gets frozen, stolen, or the ATM machine eats it, you’re screwed! Unless you happen to carry backup cards…

I always pack a 2nd bank account/debit card plus a backup credit card, which you keep separate from your wallet. This way, if your wallet gets stolen, or your ATM card gets declined, you are still able to have access to money during your travels.

Best Ways to Travel the World
Be Prepared for a Great Trip

15: Write Down The Address Of Your Hotel

Sometimes, after a long flight playing games on your smartphone, your battery could end up dead. And if you didn’t write down the address of where you’re staying, how will you tell/show the taxi driver?

As ridiculous as it sounds, I’ve done this a few times and it’s awkward. Falling asleep or forgetting to charge my phone. I’d also recommend writing down your hotel room number somewhere after you check in.

16: Read A Book About The Country

Before you travel to a new country, I recommend reading a good book about it, to learn more about history and culture before you arrive. This could be as simple as a Lonely Planet guidebook, or maybe a popular novel by a local author.

Your on-the-ground travel experience will feel much more fulfilling if you already know some details about the area you’re visiting. Don’t worry, you’ll still discover plenty of new stuff, but you’ll have a foundation to start on.

17: Splurge A Bit While Traveling

I’m a huge fan of budget travel, as it allows you to travel longer and 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 budget 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. Enjoy yourself!

Travel Packing Tips
Travel Tips to Help You Pack Smarter

Useful Travel Packing Tips

18: Pack Ear Plugs & An Eye Mask

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.

A comfortable eyemask is another wonderful investment to cure jet-lag. If you’re looking for other gift ideas for travelers, make sure to check out my ultimate travel gift guide for those travelers in your life (or, just a treat for yourself!)

19: Take A Scarf Or Sarong With You

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, a wrap for conservative countries, and much more. I can’t tell you how many times a scarf has come in handy for me on my travels around the world.

20: Bring Your Own Water Bottle

If you haven’t noticed, humans are destroying the planet with plastic waste. Constantly buying bottled water is incredibly bad for the environment! But tap water isn’t always safe everywhere either…

My solution to both save money and help save the environment is to pack a filtered water bottle on all my adventures. This way you can re-use the same bottle thousands of times, and never pay for expensive, wasteful bottled water again!

Traveling Tips to Meet People
Hang Out with Locals!

21: Pack Less Stuff In Your Backpack

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 40 liters.

As a full-time vagabond, everything I own fits in my travel backpack. 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.

22: Carry Spare Passport Photos

Obtaining visas for certain countries can be a real pain, and some can require multiple passport sized photos. Have you ever tried to find a place that shoots passport photos in Tajikistan? It’s not easy!

Before you leave your home country, get a bunch of passports sized photos (10?) printed up and bring them with you, just in case. It will save you a lot of time and hassle in the long-run.

23: Bring An Extra Camera Battery

There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a perfect photo opportunity, but powerless to capture it because of a dead camera battery! When I first started traveling, this happened to me more times than I’d like to admit. 

These days I don’t go anywhere without a spare battery for my camera, charged up and ready for action. That way you’re always ready for epic travel photography situations like cotton-candy sunsets, wildlife encounters, or postcard-worthy street scenes.

READ MORE: My Complete Travel Gear Guide

Cheap Travel Tips
Travel Tips to Save You Money

Money Saving Travel Tips

24: Book The Cheapest Flights

Flying can often be one of the most expensive parts of an international trip. But with practice, you can learn how to book super cheap flights and save tons of money. For example, by booking 2-3 months in advance.

Sign up for cheap ticket alerts, keep an eye on mistake fares, and take a look at alternative airports that might be near your final destination. Read my free guide to finding cheap flights and learn all the latest tricks!

25: Go On Free Walking Tours

One great money saving travel tip is to join free city walking tours when you first arrive. These tours allow you to orient yourself in an unfamiliar city, scope out some good photography locations to return to later, learn facts about the city, and maybe make some new friends too.

Just keep in mind that the tours are free because the guide is expecting a tip at the end, so don’t be too cheap and make sure to thank them for their time with $5. It’s a wonderful way to save some money while traveling!

Try Local Food to Save Money
Travel Tip: Eat Local Food

26: Eat Local Food Frequently

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. Eating street food is an awesome way to save money while you travel!

I’ve only been very sick twice in 9 years of constant travel. Don’t be scared of the food. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with popping into McDonalds if you’re feeling homesick, but why fly across the world to eat the same stuff you can get at home? Live a little!

27: Avoid Expensive Hotels & Resorts

You don’t need to stay at expensive hotels while traveling. In fact, you can save hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on your trip by staying in more budget-friendly accommodation, like hostels, local guesthouses, or Couchsurfing — an online community of people who share their couches with strangers for free.

Sleeping in backpacker hostels can also be beneficial to your wallet, as renting a dormitory bed costs a fraction of what a hotel would. $30 a night versus $100 a night really adds up! Plus it’s a wonderful way to meet fellow travelers.

READ MORE: How To Choose A Travel Camera

Staying Safe while Traveling
Travel Tip: Don’t Be Afraid

Helpful Travel Safety Tips

28: Don’t Be Afraid Of Other Countries

The news media loves to report on tourists getting killed or kidnapped. However, 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. Understand that “if it bleeds it leads”. Most people in foreign countries 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.

29: Always Get Travel Insurance

No one ever thinks they’ll get sick, injured, or robbed while traveling. But it happens when you least expect it. During my travels, I’ve sliced up my head on a volcano, contracted Dengue fever, and lost my laptop to thieves.

With travel insurance you don’t have to worry about huge hospital bills or stolen gear when it eventually happens. For all kinds of trips ranging from a weekend up to a few months long, I always recommend picking up a travel insurance policy with World Nomads.

READ MORE: 25 Important Travel Safety Tips

Preparing for World Travel
Are You Ready for New Experiences?

30: Stash Extra Cash For Emergencies

To cover yourself in an emergency, make sure to stash some extra cash 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 hiding spots include dirty socks, under shoe inserts, in a toiletry bag, around the frame of a backpack, or even sewn behind a patch on your bag.

31: Back Up Your Files & Photos!

When my laptop computer was stolen in Panama, having most of my important documents and photos backed up saved my butt. I’ve met many travelers who’ve had a hard drive fail on them, losing thousands of priceless travel photos.

In addition to photos, keep digital and physical copies of your passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, health insurance card, serial numbers, and important phone numbers ready for an emergency. Backup your files & photos on an external hard drive as well as online with software like Backblaze.

32: 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 healthily, use sunscreen, and exercise often (check out this body weight routine, no gym required!). And, yes, flossing too I guess.

READ MORE: My Favorite Inspirational Travel Quotes

Useful Solo Travel Tips
Travel Tip: Get Off the Beaten Path

Solo Travel Tips

33: Travel By Yourself Occasionally

While traveling with friends is a lot of fun, solo travel is when you’ll REALLY learn about yourself and what you’re made of. Traveling solo forces you to figure things out on your own, meet new people, and tackle unfamiliar situations. 

You’re also free to pursue the activities and experiences that you truly want to have while traveling, with no objections or limitations from others holding you back. It’s a wonderful way to learn new life skills and increase your confidence.

34: 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 while travelling (or traveling). 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.

35: Stay In Touch With Loved Ones

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 traveling solo means many of those new relationships are fleeting. Someone is always coming or going. So maintaining a strong connection with the people who know you best back home is important for your mental health.

Making Friends while Travelling or Traveling
Hanging Out with some Dudes in the West Bank

36: Make Friends With Locals

Make it a point to avoid other travelers from time to time and start conversations with local people. One of my best travel tips is to make eye contact and smile more. Maybe stop to ask for directions. This is a fast way to make new friends.

Also, check out websites like MeetUp.com or CouchSurfing.org and similar good travel websites to see what kinds of activities are going on nearby, and join one. Take the time to hang out with locals who actually live in the country you’re visiting. People enrich your travels more than sights do. 

37: Listen To Podcasts For Long Trips

Podcasts are awesome. It’s like your own personal radio station full of 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 fascinating interviews with experts. Here are some of my favorite podcasts that I play regularly: This American Life, The Moth, Tim Ferriss Show, Radiolab, and Smart Passive Income.

38: 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. You never know what you’re missing unless you say yes!

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 to do so.

Advice to Help You Travel More
Get Out There & Travel More!

Bonus Travel Tip: Travel More!

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed over the past 9 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 I did. 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 the latest 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.

How Am I Able To Travel So Much?

Check out my popular budget travel resources page for even more travel tips on saving money, location independence, working while traveling, gear guides, and improving your photography.
More Travel Planning Resources

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Book cheap flights on Skyscanner, my favorite airline search engine to find deals. Also read my tips for how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Car Hire is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Book Accommodation

Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent local apartments on Airbnb ($35 discount!). Read my post for tips on booking cheap hotels.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.

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My 50 best travel tips to help you have an amazing trip!
My 50 best travel tips to help you have an amazing trip!

What are some of your favorite international travel tips? Did I miss anything? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 9 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel more with crazy stories, photography, and useful tips from my journey.
Matthew Karsten
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575 thoughts on “My 50 Best Travel Tips After 9 Years Traveling The World”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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.

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

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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. :)

  17. 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

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

    • 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

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

  23. 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.

  24. 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 :)

  25. 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! :)

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

    • 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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!

  38. 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.

    • 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.

  39. 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!”

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

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

  41. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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…

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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?

  45. 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!

  46. 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!

    • 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.

  47. 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!

  48. 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. : )

  49. 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.

  50. 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. :)

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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!

  54. 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 :)

  55. 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.

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

  57. 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,

  58. 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.

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

  60. 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.

  61. 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!

  62. 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.

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

  64. 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

  65. 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!

  66. 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! ☺

  67. 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!

  68. 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!

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

  72. 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!

  73. 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!!

  74. 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.

  75. 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

    • 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

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

  77. 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.

  78. 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!

    • 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!

  79. 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

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