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 travel 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.

READ MORE: Favorite Quotes About Travel

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.

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 Cars 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!

READ MORE TRAVEL TIPS

I hope you enjoyed my top 50 travel tips after 9 years of traveling! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

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 with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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Comments (575)

  1. Hi! Brilliant profile and some very useful tips, me and my girlfriend are quitting our jobs, selling the house and also going to travel the world, apart from the savings you have and money from your house how else did you fund your trip for 7 years, we need help thinking of a way to fund our travels to keep travelling, many thanks, Jack.

  2. Probably some of the best travel advice on the web. Simple, to the point and answers what many people are concerned or over think about when they plan on traveling.

  3. This was a beautiful and truly inspiring article! I will definitely bookmark this for much-needed reminders about the important things in life as I go about my journeys. It is so easy to forget some of these things!

    You had me at #1 – patience is SO important. When traveling, it is so easy to get nervous or stressed out when things don’t go according to plan, but sometimes that just enriches the journey itself.

    I need to learn more from #3 – laughing at yourself can be a really hard thing to do, even in the comfort of your hometown. But it is such a valuable skill! I’ve found that I only really started improving in my Spanish for example when I stopped getting so nervous about sounding like an idiot, and just put myself out there and talked to people!

    And your advice about podcasts is great, I started listening 3 years ago and never looked back! It is such a great way to take advantage of your time that would otherwise be wasted during boring commutes. I’ve found that it is also extremely helpful to listen to language podcasts to help you feel more confident and get out there and start meeting the locals! I did this for Spanish, and now I’m learning French! Although This American Life is always fantastic, too :)

    Thanks for sharing such valuable advice, and happy travels! I look forward to reading more of your articles!

    • The language podcasts are a great way to learn a bit before your trip! Music is nice and all, but podcasts are so much more productive during road trips or long flights.

  4. You advices are good thank you so much! I am currently trying to foccus on traveling and to work only from my computer but it is a bit harder than I thought haha! Thank you so very much! It would mean the world to me if you could check my blog and giving me your feedback… thank you again!

  5. While searching the internet casually planning my next trip to Senegal and getting really overexcited I find myself disappointed. This article, like many others does not take into consideration something that I find very important- cultural sensetivity! When traveling to a new place I find it very important to observe and respect the customs and cultures of the places I am in, for example this becomes very important for me when discussing what to pack. While traveling you become a cultural ambasador, the people around you who you meet will develop a certian sense about the people of your country while interacting with you, this means that you should observe and respect the clothing and body choices of the country and its people. For example, Senegal, a 95% Muslim country in which I would never wear short shorts, tank tops, or expose my midrift. In Senegal I would also never consume alchohol because it is something that goes against the religious and cultural beliefs. I fear that by not expressing a need to follow the cultural customs of a county people are spreading steriotypes and affecting the communities negatively for years to come. Be respectful and observant wherever you are!

  6. Getting ready to sell all my shit & do what you do!! I am not a very experienced traveler but I am just jumping in! Excited/terrified!!

  7. Very nice tips! I was afraid to travel because thought that I needed more money to save first. My friends tried couchsurfing and at the same time worked at farms or elsewhere. I’m going to travel to Great Britain next spring – I hope my first couchsurfing experience will be fantastic!

    • That’s how it happened for me too Ben. Friends showing me how little it costs to travel in some parts of the world. It really can be affordable if you make the right choices!

  8. Excellent blog post, and thank your for sharing some very helpful thoughts!!! Best of luck with your travels!

  9. What an amazing and well-detailed blog post. I read your blog post on travel gear and the tools and tips you have mentioned are just amazing. I just wanted to say, awesome work.

  10. It’s sounds like an adventure. I’m 34 and ready for a adventure myself. I’m tired of my job and the town I’m living in. I’m ready to study different cultures and get out of the US materialized culture. Your story is motivating and inspirational. I’ve got a good bit in savings and ready to take off. I’ve always wanted to travel and the way this year has gone, it’s my time. Safe travels friend

  11. Getting day lost is the best advice for adventure. Trust people they will care for you. Enjoy the experience, chill out😎

  12. So amazing. I love contacting to local people, have traditional cuisines and know more about their culture.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences

  13. My advise is to travel now! Don’t wait! You may not enjoy the same things at 50 as you did at 40 and so on. Do now what you love! We went on a sailing trip at 50 and I was glad I didn’t wait until retirement. It was awesome, but it took a lot of energy to help sail a big boat!

  14. I’ve enjoyed reading this tips that you got here Matthew, some of them I was already practicing in my own travel. Definitely smile a lot and be friendly to people – interactions and stories I’ve heard and awesome part of all my travel, most of the time started with a simple „Hello” that I said to some local people and we become friends. Be open, world is full of great people that will be happy to greet you and invite you to their home so you can hear their story, things about the place you are in that you won’t find in the tour guides and often for great local food and local alcohol.

  15. I believe in the Smile and Say Hello part. I think if you show warmth to people, you can attract their attention and make them talk to you more (especially in a foreign place)!

  16. Hi Matthew,

    I will be visiting a friend in Thailand next month. Your tips help me to decide what to do since its it my first time to travel.its an urgent travel but i have o grab it cos
    I am going to stay in her house. Its a big saving for me.I am very excited.i hope you could visit my country next time.
    From Philippines.

    Best regards,
    Angeline

    • Great to hear Angeline! I hope you have fun in Thailand. I lived there for a few months, it’s a great place to start your travels.

  17. Hi Matthew,
    I first clicked on a link for 33 Best Travel Jobs to Make Money Travelling at 11:30 this morning to distract myself from AS results day tomorrow (when really I should have been drafting my personal statement for UCAS… Oops?). I have since ended up spending 4 hours binge-reading various articles and travel resources on your website, have started planning a backpacking trip around Spain with my friend for next summer, and am still no closer to completing my UCAS application!

    We chose Spain because we both took Spanish in school so we can be less dependent on audio guides or tour guides, and (hopefully) can be more understanding of the culture. Also, it’s not too far away from the UK so our parents shouldn’t be too against the idea! We don’t know if we have the stomach to go to a bullfight whilst in Spain, but after reading this, it is certainly something to think about.

    I can almost guarantee that I will still be on your website at 5 o’clock this afternoon, but I just wanted to say thank you for taking my mind off results day, for advice on budgeting and saving money (definitely an eye-opener for two 17 year olds!), and for all the great travel tips and hints.
    Can’t wait to read more (and possibly plan a trip to Russia…)!
    From Sian

    • Hey Sian! Glad you’ve been enjoying the site so much. I love these kinds of comments. :-)

      Good luck with your travel planning! Those first few trips are always the best. Enjoy!

  18. Hi Matthew,

    I’m so glad to know about you and I should say it sounds like a big achievement with happy ending.
    Thanks for sharing your expectations with us :)

    I’m almost 37 and I’m planning to take off sometime soon just like yourself and explore the kingdom for awhile.

    True! The real hold back is actually our internal fear of unknown but hopefully with a little more research it will get better.

    It would be lovely if you could tell us a bit more about finance of the game and some practical examples of what’s involved in real situation. Even if you could name a place and a duration as well as how much it would roughly cost or maybe an overall.
    Also i was wondering how is life as you return in terms of your personal achievement and even financially to get back to work or look for a new beginning.
    Working as a professional i find it hard to take a leave for that long and i guess my biggest fear is if it worth it? !

    Last thing I was wondering if there is a website or a certain community of people who are travellers were you can meet up with new people and pair up or do you even think it is going to be a good idea to do so?

    Once again thank you,
    Regards, Moe

    • Hey Moe! Well, most people (myself included) started by saving money first. Here’s an article explaining how I did it: https://expertvagabond.com/save-money-for-travel/

      As for how to keep going once you’ve started, that’s going to vary for everyone. I built a travel blog, others find different types of location-independent work.

      To meet new people, staying in backpacker hostels usually helps, but there are also websites like Couchsurfing.org and MeetUp.com that have opportunities for meeting others.

      Hope that helps a bit!

  19. Great list! For me #9 is the most important one. I myself still need to work on #1 and #19. However, I don’t agree entirely with #24.

    While I think this is certainly great advice when you have a lot (or even unlimited) time for your trip, I usually take trips of about 3 weeks and I like to make sure that I get all the highlights of my destination in my trip. And for this some planning in advance may be necessary.

    But when I leave for my round the world trip 3 years from now I will definitely do it the way you suggest. :)

  20. A great list! Waking up early and meeting local people are my favorite from your list and things I strive to do when traveling.

  21. Such an inspiring list! This is a validation of what I have just thought lately – to travel more, instead of confining myself in the four corner of my room… realized that life is too short to hold back. Thanks for this. :)

    Best,
    Roy

  22. Wonderful items from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff prior to
    and you are simply extremely great. I actually like what you have
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    in which in which you are saying it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to stay it sensible.

    I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is really a wonderful web site.

  23. Hah, the old sock trick! Classic. #20 is my favorite :) But I also have to admit it’s gotten me into some awkward moments more than once.

  24. Good tips! Especially about packing light and staying in shape. Will definitely check back here often!

  25. Great article, Matthew. Do you still stand by Evernote? Finally got around to checking it out after reading about it in 4HWW and the reviews are dreadful at the moment. 1/5 in itunes.

  26. Wow what a fantastic article. I’m currently 10 months on the road and agree with all of this. Handy to have a few streams of income coming in on the side so you can keep going if you can manage it!

  27. Hi Mattew, I’m travelling for a while now and your tips are so true! We can see that travelling is a really part of your life. Hope you enjoy your day and please continue to write such great articles!!!!

  28. Wow that was a cool read and thanks for the tips and ideas for travelling the world ! A very cool article , I really am ready for travelling the world, I know surely the experience would bring myself to newer horizons to the years ahead !!!

  29. Really useful article! I’m about to embark on my own adventure, and I’m equally excited and terrified. I probably wouldn’t have thought of some of these (like bringing earplugs!).

  30. Great tips Matthew. Only suggestion would be to bring actual linen or turkish towel instead of scarf. They have more use cases than scarf.

  31. Question: Do you have problem getting visas when you need? I know not every country has US and Canada’s visa requirements, but have you ever had any trouble getting a visa because you don’t have a conventional job or “ties” to your home country?

  32. Hi Mathew.
    Thanks for the tips in your post…Starting out, did you ever have moments of self-doubt? Especially when the effort wasn’t quite paying off.

  33. Happy travelvasery!!! All your tips are amazing. I’ve found them useful in all my travels. Trying foods have always been a fear. I don’t want to have a growling or bloated stomach in a foreign place. But I will overcome that fear and try mire street foods.
    My best travel tip is keeping an open mind. We read so much about places and have an already formed opinion of the place before we even get there. Most of the times, it turns out not to be all true. And even when it’s trues, I’ve learnt to find beauty in the different cultures I encounter. After all, how boring would the world be if we were all similar.
    Thank you for this!

  34. I love all of these tips! Especially “getting lost on purpose”, I agree with this wholeheartedly – it’s the theme of my blog :)

    Some of these tips I think all travelers could take heed of, it’s easy to lose your cool, travel too fast, worry too much and take things for granted.

    I love the early morning tip too, even though I’m a night owl I try to get up early to enjoy the quieter hours of the day.

    Thanks for the great read!

  35. 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. Go to Vietnam

  36. For us one that I always tell everyone is Adventures are priceless. Don’t be fixed on it cost X because your adventure will be worth way more. Good stuff, Travel on!

  37. All useful advice. Particularly the cash one for me, as I tend to be credit card dependent back home so I am trying to get in the groove of carrying money around. Great post :)

  38. Awesome tips, a lot of them actually followed by me. So yeah, I feel nice that I ain’t going wrong anywhere on that front. Whilst checking your profile, it has indeed surprised me that you haven’t visited India yet !!! Why Matt why ??? ;) Just kidding. But I wish you visit here soon and explore this diverse country, with lots & lots of people & traditions.

  39. Planning is king. In fact, planning is what makes a great trip.

    We start traveling months in advance, and when the time comes, you can use your time wisely, instead of trying to find out what to do next, or checking that great place you just missed because you didn’t even know it was there.

  40. I have traveled extensively and I agree with about the whole list. I love seeing the world and getting to know it’s people. My favorite trip is #7. My favorite personal memories are sitting at a roadside cafe in Havana or Guatemala City or Galle, Sri Lanka and watching the world go by.

  41. Great tips! We’ve just started our round the world adventure with our two year old and have also found scarves to be an invaluable item! It’s great when you have a baby with you too, when she falls asleep in the tuktuk i can keep the dust and wind at bay and perfect for temple visits and sun protection. Thanks!

  42. I love seeing these posts. However, If you are travelling Asia and haven’t visited India, Then you are missing a lot.

    Thank you and have a nice day :)

  43. Hey Matt. Great post. I just left on my own around the world trip and appreciate the tips. It’s nice to not be doing this alone as it can get scary and daunting at times.

  44. Well, Very informative travel tips & you capture amazing photos. You can add middle east trip into your travel experience. Middle east have some wonderful places to visit, One of them is Khasab Oman.

  45. So true about earplugs! I always have them on me and they always come in handy. On planes, trains, in noisy hostels. They’re such a necessity.

  46. Wow what a great tips man.. Surely will keep this in mind for the travels to come in my life..

    Regards,
    Lubuzine

  47. Great post!
    when traveling especially outside your comfort zone it is very important to relax, take your time to soak it all in and then all pieces of the puzzle will fall in place and the world suddenly opens up for you to enjoy.

  48. Backing up everything is KEY. I always make it a point to save all images and upload new photos I took to the cloud before going to bed while traveling. Awesome tips!

  49. Really awesome post. We are currently traveling around the world and a lot of these tips are helpful for us. We love number 21- Slow Down. This is something we need to work on.

    • slowing down may be very difficult because we want to cover a lot of ground in relatively short time, it is better to concentrate one fewer things and really enjoy them to the fullest

  50. I always follow your adventures but I mostly love this specific post. It gives me more energy to keep travelling !

  51. I really like your tip about not judging lifestyles that may be different than your own when traveling. Last year my husband and I made a visit to West African (where I’m originally from) and although it was a new place for my husband (Texas born and raised), he dove right in and tried things that were different for him. I will be sharing this post with my husband for the next time we plan on traveling to a different country.

  52. as a person who is a magnet of misadventures and mishaps, i need all the information that i get.. sometimes it can get to a point of analysis paralysis..

    better be overprepared and if mishaps still happen.. then i guess it’s destiny xD

  53. Great blog. Thanks for sharing.

    I was wondering, to expand your blog, have you considered taking on traveller “employees”? Your blog would benefit from added content and they would benefit from being part of your established blog and from your direction and experience. This may be a silly idea that you have already dismissed, but it seems to me that it could be a win\win.

  54. I’m starting my leisure travel in March this year. I spent 26 years in the military and traveled for “business” quite a bit. But now I’ll go at my own pace and choose my own destinations. These are some very good tips. Maybe I’ll see you in Europe. I’ll be the bald guy with glasses.

  55. getting up early is very important. I am not a morning person and everytime I take to travel I really spend 2 to 3 days of time on one city when I can rather finish it off in a day. It’s just the passion to travel that still drives me even though I am forced to spend more on hotels for overstay.

  56. This is my dream, this is what I will do, NO EXCUSES! I’ll save up some money and travel as soon as possible.

  57. All great tips, so important to open yourself up to the experiences – haven’t tried the couchsurfing yet….

  58. I really like your tip about getting lost on purpose! I think that is the best part of traveling. My husband and I have been thinking about doing some traveling in the next few months so we will have to keep these tips in mind. We don’t really want to pay for parking at the airport so we will have to look into getting a shuttle. Thanks for the great info!

  59. Thank you for sharing this. It’s so helpful to me. This is one article but gives a lot of informations. Once again, Thank you.

  60. Great list! May and I are definitely learning all about the benefits of waking up early. Earplugs or noise cancelling/isolating headphones are also a necessity.

  61. Travelling surely is one of the best learning experiences in life. We do not only discover the world but also discover ourselves. The fact that making travel plans is difficult, cannot be declined. At such a point, these kinds of blogs come super handy. These are great tips on travelling, I loved all of them especially tip 9 (taking a lot of photos) and (Eating the local food). Thank you so much sharing an awesome trips.

    • I agree! What you just said is so true! I may be only 16 but after i finished school ill be able to travel with my friend ?

  62. Thank you for sharing these awesome tips. We have been researching for a while now are are as set as we will ever be to start our roving retirement lifestyle in March. Everything that we own will be in our car (think HUGE backpack) and we are starting our travels by driving around Mexico for as long as it takes and then everywhere else on the way down to Panama. From there we will take a flight across the gap into Colombia and Ecuador.

    Your tip about stashing money in several places and the one about the scarf really hit home – thank you very much. Keep enjoying the adventures, the people, the world – we can’t wait to get started so we are going to do a vacation week test run down to Saltillo (from San Antonio) in December!

    • Hi Rosalind! Thanks for sharing your plans. I love the idea, and have always been a big fan of road trips.

      Have fun in Mexico, it’s one of my favorite countries.

  63. Very nice tips! I was afraid to travel because thought that I needed more money to save first. My friends tried couchsurfing and at the same time worked at farms or elsewhere. I’m going to travel to Great Britain with my husband next spring – I hope my first couchsurfing experience will be fantastic!

    • Good luck Lois! Couchsurfing can be a lot of fun if you find the right host… keep an eye on reviews from other couchsurfers to get an idea of what your host will be like.

  64. awesome article that contains informative content I think it is one of the beat travel tips thanks for sharing that type of awesome blog.

    keep travel, save travel :)

  65. Thanks for the tip to get up in the morning so that you can get to all of the best attractions and avoid the crowds. You also mention that this is the best time to get photos taken. I think it’s important to choose a vacation that has your tour attractions close by your hotel room so that you don’t have to spend all of your vacation time driving around.

  66. “The new car, remodeling project, and iPhone can wait’
    Physical things we buy are easily forgettable as soon as owned, but experiences are eternal

  67. All those points make so much sense. I just returned from a 3 day all-girls trip to a hillstation and had I not gone, I don’t think I would have understood this post in its entirety. I just went for three days, and I think the universe has revealed so much. And you’ve been out there for more than 2190 days… Now that is something I cant really fathom. Just yet!

  68. Great article. Thanks for the tips and advice.
    Very inspiring stuff..:)
    P.S. Loving the high quality photos too.

  69. This was awesome to read! I especially loved the part about laughing at yourself. It’s taken me a long time to learn how to do that in the face of being flustered or overwhelmed or doing something stupid. Thanks for sharing and for writing such great tips and lessons learned!

    • It took me a while too Kate. Travel certainly teaches you patience and understanding — these days there isn’t much that phases me! I think it’s a good thing. I’ve made so many mistakes after all this time, what’s one more in the big scheme of life?

  70. Hello
    My friend John i thankfully for your help in making a difference travel tips.
    I love to travelling the world, but I don’t know how to get do this, please inform me travelling jobs.

  71. These tips cover the things that many of us tend to overlook when we travel. My favorite tips from the list are the importance of meeting local people and taking down notes while on the road. I think the most vital thing about traveling is immersing ourselves in local culture – even if you just have dinner in a local home for one night, or stop for a chat with a street vendor. These interactions with locals is what makes a trip truly meaningful and life-enriching, and you should always carry a notebook to take down the little details; what they looked like, how they spoke, what they were wearing and any interesting facts about their lives.

  72. Hello, Matthew. Your post is really awesome. The way you write and describe your adventures is very inspiring. I also launch my own travel blog. I spend a lot of time on your website learning how to enhance my blogging style and skills. Thank you very much!

    • Traveling could be fun and the more I learn from your blog, the more I get to know more possibilities to travel. Have you been to the Philippines yet? I can probably introduce you to my friends there to help you explore the wonders in more than 7,000islands. I enjoy reading your blog. Very detailed.

  73. Hi Matthew,
    Wow, you have been travelling for 4 years, quite a motivating thing especially for me as I want to travel the world like you.

    I also have a travel blog.
    Can you share me as to from where I should start my journey?
    I live in India

    Your response will be appreciated.

    Thanks

    • Well said Chloe,
      This cock fighting business thrives in some of the villages and hamlets of India as well.

      Although, government does occasionally put a ban on it, yet it still finds its existence few months later. Sad indeed.

      As humans we should be sensitive enough towards these cute little birds.

    • You are funny! Did you even read the blog? Cock fighting is a cultural thing that goes back to ancient times, part of experiencing the world. Not sure why you’re even on this page, as you should just stay home and whine/watch life from your sofa.

      • It may be cultural but in no situation is anything to do with animal abuse ok with me. I don’t care what the reason is or where I am.

  74. Such a long list of useful and effective travel tips. I love your points…..I am sure following these wonderful tips will enable me to enjoy my next travels better and make completely hassle-free….Thank you very much for such a resourceful post….:)

  75. Wow! I didn’t see your blog before and I’m impressed… I’m still working to buy my freedom some day. Thanks for being such an inspiration. I will never forget: STASH EXTRA CASH… haha!

  76. I started traveling more often recently and I think those are great tips for people on a trip whether they have a tight budget or lots more money to spend.

  77. I’ve only been reading your blog for the past couple of days but it has become my bible! I’m a Venezuelan in her late twenties trying to overcome all the “obstacles” that don’t let me take the big leap. Work, career, money, you’re right, in the end it’s only fear!, (although money can be a real pain in the A$%) I’m living in Argentina ATM but I’m planning to start my journey as a traveller soon by going to the country side. I’d like to get a good camera first (any recommendations for absolut beginners btw?) . Keep the good posting mate! I love your blog! =)

  78. Great tips! I also always bring a scarf with me when I travel. Good points on the stashing cash…I hadn’t thought of sewing some behind a patch. You learn something new every day :)

  79. I love very much to travel and every month i travel to different countries for my business purpose. this tips good. Your post was awesome and very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yes JS.

      That is actually the dreadful pic of cock fighting which are actually made to fight by their respective owners in lure for money.
      Most of the times, there is a blade tide on the feathers of cock and they are forced to start fighting by inciting one another through pecking which finally enrage each other to put on a full show of might and power.
      Sad indeed

  80. I have found every one of these things to be so very true in my travels, as well. Couchsurfing, being unafraid, and observing daily life resonate especially strongly with me. I love that you started in Guatemala City — I just got back from there last night!

  81. Great list! I also love to travel and I have to agree with most of your travel tips. My way of traveling is just little bit different, as I am traveling on really low budget and all I need for one yea of traveling is something like 3000€.
    I love hitch-hiking and that is my advice. Try to travel this way and you will have incredible experiences with local. In some countries like Iran you can travel in 50€ per month and have always full stomach and meet so many nice people…

    Also your packing in 38l backpack is pretty easy as you are not sleeping in tent. But I have to agree, that it is really not needed to have too much stuff with you, as many people are traveling with.

    Good luck and see you maybe once somewhere in the world. :)

  82. You’re my absolute favorite writer. Succinct, honest, warm and informative. Spot on stuff. Thank you!!!!!!!!!

  83. I would add this as a sub-category: travel as much as possible by bus or by train. Maybe by hiring car rides locally, if you’re really gutsy. But there’s nothing like mass transportation as a way to get face-to-face with the people of the place. I’ve had incredible travel experiences this way. My advice for newbies: If you’re just starting out on a big travel adventure, start by booking your first tix online at a 3rd party seller like acprail.com. Then, when you’ve dipped your toes in and want more spontaneity, book at local rail and bus companies on the ground.

  84. All these tips are practical and yet sometimes forgotten. Thanks for sharing them. I’m a new traveler and just Started my journey visiting 5 countries now since November 2015. I visited UAE, Kingdom of Bahrain, Hongkong, Nepal and India and I want to travel more and more. I’m currently working in an oil & gas company here at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, miles and miles away from home in the Philippines. I’m entitled to an annual vacation of 45 days, so I planned to spend most of these days travelling to different countries. Travelling really show us what the real world is, I wish to do it full – time but still can’t afford to get go of my job..

  85. 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

    • I agree with you Lilia,

      The best way to indulge in happiness and fun is to overlook what others have to say and be confident of yourself.

      Yes, that gives you a chance to love yourself all the way to the core. After all, we should enjoy such moments as they will never come back again. They often become best found memories which we keep through photos and videos.

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

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