“What would you have done differently?”
That’s what we wanted to know from some of the biggest travel bloggers out there. People who have made it work, and who have been travelling for a really long time.
Dana and I recently made one of the biggest decisions of our lives: to pack up and leave our home, our friends, and family to see the world. It wasn’t the first time either of us had decided to move abroad, but this was definitely the most ambitious trip we had ever attempted.
In addition to the emotional challenges of leaving anywhere you’ve been for a few years (or perhaps your whole life), there are loads of logistics that come with starting a life of travel.
A couple months into our own journey, we already know that there a LOT of things we wish we had done differently. A comprehensive step-by-step guide to moving country is in the works, but to keep from being bogged down in the details, we wanted to hear from from bloggers and adventurers and ask them one question: what’s one thing they wished they had done differently when starting out on a life of travel?
Dan from Dan Flying Solo
“Have the basics of the language and a basic grip of the local politics, social and historic facts.”
The biggest regret I usually have is not learning enough of the local language or a good grasp of the local cultures. This can be hard as one of the main reasons we travel is to learn and much of that will be done on the ground, but by having the basics of the language and a basic grip of the local politics, social and historic facts can really help you set the trip up for success and when interacting with the locals beyond a face value basis shape those interactions to be more understanding of any current situations, this is especially true in countries that may have faced events in recent years.
About Dan James: Dan is a travel blogger exploring the world, meeting amazing people, and getting lost with his camera. Dan’s experiences are highlighted by his passion for connecting with people all over the world and getting an inside look in every place he visits.
Anna and Tom from Adventure in You
“One of the things we regret not doing is going out of our way to search for local meet-ups or events.”
As we pretty much travel all year round, we realize that some of our best experiences in a place are when we go out of our way to get to know the locals. One of the things we regret not doing is going out of our way to search for local meet-ups or events. In Barcelona for example, there were loads of local Facebook groups and apps which promoted events, things to do, and parties.
We only found out about it as our trip there was about to end! So now, whenever we’re in a place for an extended time, we make sure that we search for local Facebook groups and make an effort to integrate with others as soon as we get to a place.
About Anna Faustino and Tom Rogers: Anna and Tom met as solo backpackers while traveling around South East Asia. They are the creators of the popular travel blog, Adventure in You. Their blog is focused on sharing their travel experiences to ensure their readers have the best experiences while traveling. They’ve also established a blogging course to help others who want to pursue their travel blogging dreams.
Matt from Expert Vagabond
“The one thing I know I would regret not getting before a trip is travel insurance.”
I do my best to avoid regret in life, I like to know I have everything covered before I go on my next big adventure.
The one thing I know I would regret not getting before a trip is travel insurance! I’ve met plenty of people who travel without travel insurance and I’ve contemplated doing the same.
But after over 6 years of constant travel, hearing horror stories from other travelers, and getting into a few dangerous predicaments myself — I’m a firm believer that everyone should carry some kind of health/property insurance when traveling.
About Matt Karsten: Matt is a full-time adventure travel blogger & photographer who’s been exploring the world for the last eight years. In his travels and experiences, he encourages his readers to break out of their comfort zones, immerse themselves in different cultures, try new things, and see the world from someone else’s perspective.
Dan and Audrey from Uncornered Market
“Developing a set morning routine—meditation, yoga, basic exercises, etc.—that would be the same no matter where we were in the world.”
We’ve been through the cycle of selling everything and either moving abroad (San Francisco to Prague) or departing on a journey around the world a couple of times. For the most part I think we’ve done a pretty good job with the logistical details and making sure we have our paperwork in order. One thing that I regret not doing before leaving on our round-the-world trip was developing a set morning routine—meditation, yoga, basic exercises, etc.—that would be the same no matter where we were in the world. I think this would have helped create a sense of grounding and routine that would be a good balance to the constant change of environment and stimulus around us. And, it would have positive mental and physical benefits.
Now that we are based in Berlin we’ve been able to create that morning routine. We find that when we stick with it when we travel, even if it’s only abbreviated version, we feel the benefits. This gets the day going in a deliberate and positive way instead of feeling rushed into it.
About Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott: Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott are the the husband-and-wife storytelling team behind the award-winning travel blog Uncornered Market. Through their stories, advisory, and speaking they are creating a movement of travelers who live at the intersection of adventure, deep travel and life experiences, and caring for our planet and its people. More than 90 countries later, they are still going…and still married.
Nick and Dariece from Goats on the Road
“One of the main things that I regret not doing was starting my own travel blog before our first trip.”
One of the main things that I regret not doing was starting my own travel blog before our first trip. We ended up sending emails to family members anyway. Many of these emails were over 1000 words and included photos. Basically they were all potential blog posts! Eventually we did end up starting our own travel blog, but not until after two years of travelling the world, when we could’ve produced all of that amazing content. Today we’ve been running our blog and travelling the world for five years and it completely supports our travel addiction. I could just imagine that if we had started it two years earlier, we would’ve been even further along!
About Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift: Nick and Dariece are a 30-something couple from Canada who have been travelling for eight years. They’re also the adventure-loving, wine-drinking, culture-seeking videographers, photographers, writers and creators of Goats on the Road.
Lauren from Never Ending Footsteps
“One thing I regret not doing before I started travelling was building a profitable business.”
One thing I regret not doing before I started travelling was building a profitable business. I knew I wanted to travel for as long as possible, and I suspected that working online would be the key to doing so, but I decided to just leave and see if anything happened once I was on the road. Fortunately, I did eventually start making money from my travel blog, but reaching that point meant skipping out on a lot of cool travel experiences. I worked hard on my site while trying to see as much of the world as possible, but that usually meant turning down travel opportunities to sit in front of a laptop. For the first four months of my trip, I was always that boring traveller who never looked up from their screen and said no to every invitation.
If I’d waited until my site was doing well before I left, I would have had a source of passive income, been able to work less, and then make the most of the travel opportunities I had at that time.
About Lauren Juliff: Lauren is a travel blogger and author of How Not to Travel the World. She’s been to more than 80 countries over seven years of travel and now writes about how you can do the same. She has also written about traveling with travel anxiety and has developed a course to help others overcome their fears and pursue their travel dreams.
Will from The Broke Backpacker
“Opening several bank accounts and putting a small amount of money into each.”
Something I regret not doing before I hit the road long-term was opening several bank accounts and putting a small amount of money into each—I only have one working account and when my card gets blocked, which happens pretty often, it’s a real pain in the ass.
About Will Hatton: Writer and hustler. Adventurer and vagabond. Master of the hand-stand pushup. Conqueror of mountains, survivor of deserts and crusader for cheap escapades. Will has been on the road for nine years, travelling to far-flung lands on a budget. He is passionate about teaching others how to ditch their desks, hit the road and achieve real freedom by earning money online. Currently, Will is on a four-year journey from the UK to Papua New Guinea; travelling through truly special countries such as Iran, Pakistan and Bhutan while running his businesses online.
Jeremy from Travel Freak
“Not buying travel insurance! I was a naive 24-year-old traveler who still thought I was invincible.”
Not buying travel insurance! I was a naive 24-year-old traveler who still thought I was invincible. Luckily, I was traveling in countries that provided excellent medical care—even for expats and foreigners—and when I ended up in the hospital, my expenses were covered. As soon as I realized that anything could go wrong at any second, I purchased a plan and now I won’t travel without it. It’s saved my behind, and my bank account, more times than I care to recount!
About Jeremy Foster: Jeremy is a travel photographer, blogger, and professional adventurer. He has been traveling the world for eight years, asking the hard questions, and learning about both the world and himself in the process. He his travels have taken him to around 40 countries on six continents—he’s hiked glaciers in New Zealand, partied until sunrise on the beaches of Montenegro, taught English in China, conquered the highest bungee jump in the world, traversed Europe by train, and climbed inside the great Pyramids of Giza. You can find him on the edge of his comfort zone and jumping from high places in remote regions around the world.
Adam from Travels of Adam
“I wish I had understood more of the way the bureaucracy worked.”
When I moved to Berlin, I wish I had understood more of the way the bureaucracy worked. Culturally, I was able to figure out a lot of the habits and how society functions (ie, recycling EVERYTHING!), but with the bureaucracy, it was always a challenge. Finding healthcare, knowing how and when to pay my taxes or even which taxes to pay. A lot of that I had to learn as I went along, which put me at a slight disadvantage as I was always late or paying small penalties for little mistakes. When you don’t grow up in a place, it’s hard to understand how a society functions at the technical level.
About Adam Groffman: Adam quit his corporate job in Boston as a graphic designer for a major international book publisher in 2010. For the next 15 months, he traveled around the world, visiting Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia before ultimately making a permanent move to Berlin, Germany.
Robert from Leave Your Daily Hell
“As I prepare for my next trip… I’m focused less on packing and more on mindfulness, less on expectations of what awaits me and more on the intentions I’ll have when I touch down.”
After nearly a decade of traveling, I’ve got the physical aspect of travel preparation down—but I don’t always get it right emotionally. As I prepare for my next trip (which will actually begin about 24 hours from when I’m writing this), I’m focused less on packing and more on mindfulness, less on expectations of what awaits me and more on the intentions I’ll have when I touch down.
Looking back, most of the difficulties I’ve faced with traveling have had nothing to do with what is or isn’t in my bag, or how much knowledge I have about a particular city or country. It always boils down to the place my mind and heart are, and more often than not, my refusal to reset one or both when circumstances call for it. I wish someone had to told me this 10 years ago!
About Robert Schrader: Writer and photographer Robert Schrader runs two travel blogs: Leave Your Daily Hell and Japan Starts Here. He’s on his way out the door for a week-long road trip though Oman, and will follow that up with an autumn color trip to Japan’s Kansai region.
Is there something else you’d want to add to the list? Did any of these surprise you? Which of these do you relate to?
Let us know in the comments below!