I first moved overseas more than seven years ago, and I’ve been incredibly fortunate to live in and travel through many different countries. Along the way, I’ve learned many things about both travel and myself, so here are a few of my biggest travel lessons:
Tours are cool
When you’re 21 and have a backpack on your back, it’s easy to sneer at the idea of going on a tour. After all, tours are for old people, travel noobs, and the kind of people who wear fanny packs and zip-off pants…right? Wrong.
Not only are tours cool, but I also love the idea of cheap holiday packages or even (GASP) a cruise. When you get to the ripe old age of 29, you quickly learn that the less you have to do to get yourself from Point A to Point B and the less planning you need to do for your trip, the better.
Take the travel insurance
Trust me. If you don’t take travel insurance, you could end up regretting it for the rest of your life. I used to sell travel insurance, and yet when I broke my elbow in Guatemala I was completely uninsured. I had had travel insurance for so long and hadn’t had a problem so I let my policy lapse and didn’t bother repurchasing a new one. Luckily, I was only out a few hundred dollars.
However a few months ago, I ended up needing emergency surgery. It was fully covered through my travel insurance, saving me thousands of dollars. Lesson learned. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. You can easily compare travel insurance options online, so don’t’ make the mistake of travelling without coverage.
Slow travel is best
Honestly you guys, I’m old. I’m tired. I just can’t repack my bag and check out of my hostel or hotel every few days. And the idea of going through airport security multiple times on the same trip? Forget about it. I would much rather spend a week or even ten days in two cities than touch down in multiple cities simply so I can say I’ve “done” them.
Spend a little more
I’ve done my time on night trains and 24-hour bus rides. I’m not staying in another room with 12 other women (five of whom will snore, and two who will pack loudly in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning.) Last time when I was flying to Chiang Mai I considered taking the night bus which I had always done in the past. Instead, I flew straight out of Bangkok two hours after I arrived and I was in Chiang Mai an hour later. Best travel decision I’ve ever made.