Archive for the “Travel Advice” Category

The Personal Meaning of Travel

Travel means something different to every person in the world. People may have similar reasons for traveling, but they are always just a little different than the next traveler. To me, travel is about freedom. It’s about being able to do anything anytime of the day, any day of the week. I wanted the freedom that I felt I couldn’t get working in an office. But I wondered what motivates other people to get up, quit their jobs, and travel […]

Do You Ever Lie When You Travel?

Walking into a new hostel, hotel, city, or getting on a tour without anyone knowing you, can be liberating. There’s no baggage or preconceived notions that follow you. There’s just you and who you are at the moment right now. Everyone there is a blank slate. In fact, you can fill in that slate with whatever story you want and be whoever you want. An astronaut, a pilot, a fireman, a princess. Most people just choose to be themselves though. […]

18 Lessons from 5 Years Around the World

Five years is a long time to be on the road. Five years spent living out of your backpack, with no permanent home or address. I never thought I was going to travel this long. It was only gong to be a year, maybe 18 months tops, and then I’d go back home, find a “real” job, settle into life, and by now, I’d be married, have a house, 2.5 children, and be complaining about my retirement fund to my […]

That Time I Lost My Passport

I’m a man of routine. Whenever I fly, I put my boarding pass in my passport, and then put both of those in the magazine pocket in front of my seat. I flip through the bad in-flight magazine. I put it back. I tune out to my music. Grab my passport and exit the plane. Except this time, I missed a step. Stepping out of the restricted area at the airport, I suddenly had an awful realization. “Oh shit!” I […]

How to Overcome Your Fears

Fear. It’s what keeps us from living our lives and achieving our dreams. And it is the most common reason why people don’t travel. Whenever I talk to people about long-term travel, they tell me they wish they could do what I do. They tell me all their travel dreams then they come up with common excuses as to why they can’t realize them: They fear not being able to afford the trip. They fear they have too many responsibilities […]

Maximizing Your Vacation Time

Ask anyone what their favorite things to do are and travel will be somewhere on the top of that list. But most people aren’t taking gap years or long term backpacking trips, they are taking short holidays. My recent reader survey showed that over 50% of my readers take a holiday that is 4 weeks or less. So when you can’t spend months in France, how do you make it feel like you just did? When my friends ask “Matt, […]

Hosteling for Baby Boomers

This is a guest post by Barbara Wiebel of Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel. When I explain to people that I usually stay in hostels during my travels around the world, the initial reaction from most baby boomers is astonishment verging on horror. “Aren’t they filthy?” “Don’t you have to put up with a bunch of drunken twenty-somethings who party all night long?” “Are they really safe?” Due to the number of budget hotels and motels available in the […]

9 Reasons to Volunteer on Your Trip

Moving around all the time is exciting, but after months of changing location several times a week, a traveler can long for a place to unpack their bags for awhile and try something different. Volunteering internationally is the way I choose to step off the backpacker trail, and it’s enriched both my life and my travels. I’m giving my time and energy to people who need help, but I’m getting so much back in return that it almost feels as […]

Why It’s Great to Travel Without a Plan

On my first round-the-world trip in 2006, I planned everything. I knew where I was going and staying, for how long, and how I would get there. But over the years, how I plan my travel has changed. Now, I’m a last-minute planner and rarely travel with any set itinerary. Years of long-term travel has made me much better at going with the flow. When plans change or things go wrong, I just roll with it. Life on the road […]

Don’t Have (Travel) Regrets

When I was in university, many of my friends studied abroad. They all came back speaking of life changing stories and experiences. They made it sound like a movie and it was something I always thought of doing. Being in a foreign country, learning a new language, reinventing yourself, meeting girls, and being able to legally drink. For a college student, it sounded like the perfect experience. Except I never went. I was always too afraid. Not afraid of what […]