27 Golden Rules For Not Ruining Your Trip and Becoming a Master Traveler

By Nomadic Matt | Published October 7th, 2013

nomadic matt's golden rules of travel
Every industry has their own “best practices” — proven rules and standards that guide the industry. Travel is no different. There are many rules to live by that help us navigate the unknown world with fewer costly mistakes and help quicken the pace in which we melt into the local culture. They make travel easier, better, and less stressful.

I have my own rules.

Below are my 27 golden rules for travel. If you follow them, you’ll be a master traveler, able to travel the world with swashbuckling zeal and expert ninja-like knowledge…all without breaking the bank so you can keep cutting a path forward through the world for longer:

Get a no-fee ATM card – Why give your money to the banks? Get an ATM card that doesn’t charge any fees and use that extra money for more traveling. Over the long term those $2-5 charges really add up. I use Charles Schwab as my bank but you can also find many others that offer no-fee accounts — or use a one that is part of the Global ATM alliance, and pay no fees within that network. There is never a reason to pay a bank fee.

Be adventurous – You only live once. You’re going to get chances to do wild things you’ve never dreamed of doing when you travel. Don’t hold back. Count to 3, say “screw it”, and take the leap. You didn’t come this far for nothing. Say yes when someone asks you to go rock climbing, salsa dancing, spelunking, or try the world’s hottest pepper despite not liking spicy food.

Get a rewards credit card – Why pay for travel when you can get it for free? Use a travel rewards credit card to earn points and miles that can be redeemed for free travel. Additionally, sign up for a no-fee card like Capital One’s No Hassle Card, Chase Ink, or United’s MileagePlus to avoid overseas transaction fees. Through travel hacking and using these cards, I’ve gained hundreds of thousands of miles every year – that’s enough for even a family of four!

Always carry a back up – Always carry a back up bank and credit card in case one is lost, stolen, or hacked. That way while you are fixing the issue, you still have access to your money. Instead of the problem crippling your trip, it merely is an annoyance.

Travel aloneTravel alone at least once. It will teach you to be self-sufficient, encourage independence, allow you to get to know yourself, and make you more outgoing by forcing you to talk to strangers. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to find yourself on the road.

Join a frequent flier program – Get rewarded for all of those flights you’ll be taking by joining a frequent flier program. Then you’ll earn miles, perks for flying, and free flights. Don’t miss out. Miles are like money – and you wouldn’t waste money, would you?

Learn basic phrases – Locals don’t expect you to be an expert, but learning a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way to endearing you in their hearts and making them go the extra mile for you. It will bring a smile to their face that you tried and might even lead to some friendships and invitations out to events. “Hello”, “how are you”, and “thank you” go a long, long way no matter where you are in the world.

Stay in hostels – Get to know other travelers and experience the communal spirit of traveling by staying in hostels a few times. They aren’t all the dirty party places you see in movies. Most hostels are very clean, offer breakfast, have wi-fi, organize events, have comfy beds, and know the local area very well. They also aren’t just for young backpackers; you’ll find people of all ages (and even some families) staying there. Try them out. You may like it.

Use tourist boards – Local tourist offices are a wealth of knowledge. When you get to a new destination, visit the tourist office and ask the staff an insane number of questions about the place. They know exactly where to do what and when. Visiting one is often one of the first things I do in a new city.

CouchsurfGet a free place to stay and get to know locals with a hospitality network. Using these networks allows you to stay with a local for FREE and get the inside scoop on an area. I’ve met some amazing people through hospitality networks who have shown me a side of life I never would have known otherwise.

Try new foods – Culture is often best experienced through food. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Get out of your comfort zone and experiment. You might actually like it (those fried caterpillars in Zambia were delicious!).

Be flexible with your plans – Travel is a series of happy accidents with way leading to way. Don’t skip going to that random city with the friends you just met because your itinerary says something different. You’ll regret it. Go with the flow and be open to new things — that’s when the magic happens.

Pack light – Take it from a former (and sometimes current) overpacker: you never need half the stuff you take. Put all you need in a pile and then remove half of it. The lighter you travel, the easier you travel.

Take extra money – Something always happens. I never thought I would fly last minute to go to Fiji, need to replace my camera in Italy, or buy an extra iPhone cable in Australia. Always take extra money just in case. You may not need it but you don’t want to be without a little extra when something bad happens.

Say yes a lot – Don’t limit yourself. Say yes to new experiences. Adventure and exploring the unknown are what travel is all about.

Get lost – Meander through a new city without a map. Get lost — because in the end, you aren’t really getting lost, you’re just discovering new experiences. So put down the map and wander. Eventually, you’ll find your way.

Call home – Your parents miss you. Don’t forget to call and say hello.

Get a phone – It will be easier to stay in touch with friends (and call home), meet up with other travelers, and contact hostels with a phone. SIM cards and pre-paid phones are cheap, so there’s no excuse not to stay connected.

Travel slow – This isn’t a race or a competition. I know you want to get a lot in with your limited time, but you see a lot more when you see a lot less. Travel slow and experience each place. Don’t race from train station to station; that will set you up for a stressful, unenjoyable time. With travel, less is more.

Live somewhere once – Stop at least once. Get to know a place. Learn the language. Make local friends. Explore. Become the local. Living in a foreign place gives you a different perspective on life and a real sense of what it’s like to be an outsider.

Avoid taxis – They just cost a lot. Don’t use them unless you don’t have any other option.

Bring a water bottle – Not only are all those plastic water bottles bad for the environment, but the cost of each one adds up over time. A water bottle here, a water bottle there and you’ve spent $50 this month on water. Get a metal bottle and drink the tap water.

Buy travel insurance – You never know what could happen on the road. Get travel insurance so that if something happens to you or you break your camera, you’re covered. It’s only a few dollars a day. Don’t be an idiot.

Bring basic first-aid – Cuts and scraps happen and you can get what you need anywhere in the world, but it’s still good to carry bandages, antibacterial cream, and some hydrocortisone cream just in case. Also carry duct tape — you’ll never know when it’ll come in handy.

Get off the beaten path – London, Paris, and the temples of Kyoto are all amazing for a reason, but get off the beaten path, go away from the crowds, and explore on your own. Find something new, stick out, meet the locals, and discover. The road less traveled is usually a good one.

Take photos of your friends – Years from now, you’ll want to look back at your younger self and see all the people who changed your life. Nostalgia can be a wonderful thing. Make sure you take photos of your friends. You’ll want them later.

And finally, the most important tip of them all….

Ignore all my tips and do whatever you want – It’s your trip. Go where you want, when you want, and for how long you want. Don’t worry about this or that. Make mistakes. Learn. Make more mistakes. Have fun and become a better traveler. At the end of the day, you won’t look back and think “if only I had more miles” but instead “Damn, that was a lot of fun.”

So get out there and have some fun.

You deserve it.

comments 86 Comments

“Ignore all my tips and do whatever you want.” That’s a great way to round out your travel tips (most of which I practice). In the end, the same travel experience may be quite different for each individual, and that’s part of the point; traveling helps us discover our passions and our limits.

Some wonderful tips Matt! I believe when traveling abroad we should not assume that everybody speaks English. It is wise to be prepared for anything that may occur. You may need to ask for general assistance, directions, and locations for food and transportation. You may also need to be able to communicate in an emergency and notify people of your medical condition as well as any special needs you or your companions may have. So it is important to learn few words in the local language and the most important phrase is ” do you understand English?”.

To echo two of my favs

Travel alone
Learn basic phrases

And a bonus third is to slow down. Sometimes I have a real urge to move on but fight it off and end up having an even better experience.

That said, it’s your trip. If you want to whirlwind Europe in two weeks go for it!

Great post! We are preparing to do a lot more traveling and we cannot wait!

Liked the last one the best!

Rewards credit cards are awesome. Not only do you get points for free travel but some of them even give you double the points when you use it in foreign countries. You can even transfer the points to cash in some cases!

Two more things to add:

1. when in doubt: SMILE! –> it opens many doors and makes you feel better
2. don’t become a slave of your expectations –> the less you expect the more life delivers

Ill be putting a majority of these into action on my trip! Thanks

Andrew

The capital one venture card is the best card out there. Just got two free flights from Chicago to tel aviv with that card and there are no black out dates.

Kevin

Travel should not be a luxury so whenever i travel with my family on vacations or on business trips I use hotelsmixmatch.com they will give you ’80% off your hotel which is just crazy to me and they are a underground company so that’s why they can afford to give those low rate. If you have time just check out their magical search Box and you will be blow away with the rates they give you thanks to my friend nick for telling me about them

Emma

Hi, i have just tried accessing this hostel mixmatch that you speak of with no luck. Do you hqve a link? THanks

Robert

I have really lost my fire for travel, before i have even gone on my first trip. This blog always reminds me why I want to travel in the first place.

sc

Drinking tap water might not be smart in certain places but i guess that’s what the last rule is for :)

I can’t help but to smile when I reach through the the 27 ‘rules’.
Love the last one, everyone’s experience and expectation is different.
Ultimately as long as you are enjoying… who cares what rules to follow. :)

I can’t agree more that getting off the beaten path is often the best thing you can do! :D
Getting away from the typcial tourist spots often lets you experience the “real soul” of a country / city / place.

As for free ATM cards … I think it depends where you are from.
I’m German and as far as I remember we can’t get free ATM cards. In fact, we are charged THE MOST among all other Europeans. Even if I just go to Austria I have to pay a huge fee. Sometimes even within Germany if I use another bank’s ATM. It’s crazy!
As I’ve not been back home in 6 years, I don’t know if things have changed in the meantime, but I wanted to mention it! ;)

Tinka

@zoomingjapan @ Majida/Hanel Travels
There are options for a ‘free’ ATM cards in Germany and Switzerland:

Germany:
http://www.dkb.de/privatkunden/dkb_cash/
With the Visa Credit Card you can get cash worldwide free of charge

Switzerland:
https://www.postfinance.ch/en/priv/prod/acc/plus/detail.html
With a private account plus, you can get cash worldwide for free at Visa Plus ATMs, just using the yellow Post Finance Card (no problem so far for me, Central America, NA, Asia, Europe etc.). BUT the account cost 12CHF/month, if you have more than 25.000CHF on it, it’s free of charge.

As I said I have both accounts and using more the Post finance account, because I’m currently living in Switzerland.

@ Matt: I’m a bit more ‘seasoned’ traveller and I find you blog very useful, always something to learn. Next RTW trip will be booked with only one way tickets, so will keep an eye on your travel hacking tips.

NomadicMatt

Thank for the helpful links for people!

Great post full of practical advice and of course the all important, hell it’s your trip do what you want to do! Lots of great pointers though very interesting

Ha, love the last one ;) I also like the one on saying YES, I need to work on saying that a lot more. All of these tips are great, thanks for sharing!

Happy travels :)

Missed “Self Catering” food. We have started to book even hotels, which don’t necessarily provide breakfast. Why, you may ask, there is nothing better than a hearty breakfast!! Well yes, but did you notice, how much of one eats, only because the stuff is available on the buffet!
I admit, that we don’t do it always, but have done it tome and gain, also depending on the trip, If I am a conference and combine sightseeing then I am glad to be taken care o, till I leave the “house” for whatever reason, otherwise like to experiment by buying the stuff at the local markets and the general stores. For one you get variety and not the similar stuff on the buffet every day, you eat in proportion etc.
We have also taken the advice to eat out for lunch – less expensive, other variety. If you meet up with friends, it can be a but difficult.
Peeled fruits on the way are a must – oranges- they are juicy, can be peeled and can be shared. Have some dry fruits and nuts with you too!
When going Indian, there is this favorite no fuss take away: filled roti (less greasy) or Paratha (can be greasy) : they can be rolled up and put away conveniently , however avoid meet filled ones!

@zoomingjapan: same goes for us here in Switzerland! I don’t think, things have changed and in many of such aspects, Europe to me is backward! Free Wifi is still an occasion to celebrate, no free ATM cards (however did you try the MAESTRO cards- less expensive, in fact for us Swiss, the least expensive according to a recent report) etc, etc,

Wonderful rules, especially the 27th one. Thanks for sharing.

Karl

Take a cooking class in any foreign country you visit. You learn so much…starting at the market where you will buy your food.

Karl

I take felt tip colored pens and give one each to a child. Some say it promotes begging. I say b..s…it has opened such pleasant and sometime very memorable exchanges with the child or with the parent…lovely experiences.

Great tips Matt, thanks you for sharing

Beto

For those of us following your blog for some time, most of these tips have shown up on previous posts over time – but they never get old. I need to get a Schwab card somehow – I have a BofA card but their Global Alliance unfortunately doesn’t reach South America, where I am headed soon. Therefore, I’m switching to use another bank’s card that at least charges me less than BofA for international withdrawals.

NomadicMatt

It’s good to remind people!

Kevin

Great article especially the rule about having 2 credit cards. I lost my wallet in an amusement park in LA with both my credit card and my money. Hopefully found it 10 min later. As I’m from Europe I’d have been in huge trouble without money. Next time I’ll bring 2 CC, 1 in my wallet and the other one stay in a safe place at the hostel.

Marriott Marty

I liked the smile comment. On learning a few phrases, if you can communicate some in a second language (for me Spanish) askng whether the local speaks Englidh or Spanish has been useful (even in Paris). Showing that you have studied another language separates you for the mass of monolingual Americans. And occasionally you will find someone who speaks your second language. So add a second langauge to your “do you s

Can not get a no-fee ATM card in China.

Getting a no fee ATM card is a very interesting topic. I have one that has no fees from Sweden. Now living abroad an get my earnings… elsewhere… I am also very interested in a ATM card that is free somewhere else.

I am also very interested if it is possible to “travel hack” with frequent flyer miles with credit cards somewhere where they accept foreigners.

Bonnie

I love your book and your blog. Thanks so much.
My question: I notice you did not recommend the Chase Sapphire for credit card. That is what I have because of no international fees on purchases and because I thought they gave more airmiles. Is that no longer true?

Michelle

If possible, talk to the locals. Some of my best experiences are learning from and connecting with the very young and the very old. Locals will often share with you the best local places if you ask them or show interest in something. I did an incredible hike thanks to my Austrian Postbus driver friend’s advice. The German woman on my train said she never sees tourists hiking where I went despite the fact that it was a beautiful hike with the path right across the street from the popular waterfall parking lot.

John

Save masses of time packing and repacking clothes.

Learn to love elastic bands.

1. Roll all your clothes individually into a tube shape and place elastic band around each tube.

2. All your clothes will be quick and easy to find and fixed in place and fast to pack and unpack.

3. Elastic band socks and underwater in bundles.

4. Elastic band like items together in your bag.

5. Carry lots of extra elastic bands.

6. You can now pack and unpack in a flash and this method saves heaps of space in luggage.

7. Bag searches at airports are easy.

8. Also carry at least two big blue Ikea bags rolled up. They are waterproof rain protection, excellent day or shopping bags, and if you need to pack fast just throw all in it and run. Also if your main bag is damaged beyond repair these are the perfect immediate replacement.

Andrew

I get the environmental thing, but in many places drinking the tap water is bad advice. I think I’d be careful about that one…

NomadicMatt

You’re right. It’s not safe everywhere but there are purification methods you can use such as a Steripen.

There are exceptions to every rule in the world.

…there are also exceptions for smiling. I can think of a handful of localities where a smile to a stranger (especially between a man and a woman) can send some unwelcome messages or simply make you look crazy.

perry

Thanks Matt for your post but with all due respect I question drinking the local water as a global statement, if the locals are drinking bottled water…. Further I would like to add a couple of my own cardnial rules 1- dont just smile but always show respect , most of the world revolves about saving face – everybody loves to talk about themselves so ask where do they live , family etc,hopes and dreams -you will be enriched and rewarded in the process. #2 hate do defer to the darker side but as a general rule almost never trust someone who approaches you with info . tips , accomadition , tours etc as opposed to someone YOU approach looking for the same info. Hard, but has rarely failed me in 25 yrs #3-try and keep your expectations realistic regardless of the guidebooks and brochures ,the sun will not shine everyday so embrace the unexpected.Happy traveling

Beverly

I was starting to feel like a “bad” traveler because there are, to be honest, a lot of those rules that I just can’t do. For example, I’m not a hostel type of person and eating bugs is something I just would never do. But the last one made up for it! We just got back from 3 weeks in Italy, we had booked all our hotels in advance, but we traveled by train all over the country, went to cities and small towns, walked a lot and had the most wonderful time. So even if you aren’t an “adventurous” traveler, you can still have a great experience!

Jana

I’m traveling with my handicapped service dog to the UK and was surprised to find from Heathrow Animal Reception Centre that they charged a $530 USD fee if she wasn’t certified through a certain service dog organization (which is impossible to do). She is registered through another one and even has a certificate from her dog trainer. So check out EVERYTHING carefully before you travel. And register with the US embassy of wherever you travel.
PS
I didn’t have the $530 so I put her on the Go Fund Me website and we raised the money!!

Nye P

The only thing I don’t agree with is the water comment. I don’t like to use bottled waters. But in certain countries it is best if you don’t drink the tap water and bring your own bottled water.

NomadicMatt

That’s very true. It’s not safe everywhere but there are purification methods you can use such as a Steripen.

Christine

I think the most important quality when traveling is having an open mind and, as you noted, being willing to ditch your own carefully laid plans for something spur-of-the-moment. Traveling alone is a great adventure for anyone…you are forced to open yourself up and locals are more willing to engage you as well.

NomadicMatt

Couldn’t agree more!

Elaine Cundiff

Call home

We do often but not to our parents who would be 108 now if they were still alive. We call our kids & grandkids often and send photos on Facebook to help keep in touch.

Leigh M

I don’t stay in hotels when I travel any more, unless it’s absolutely necessary or I’m only staying for one night. I like to rent apartments or houses for at least four days. This way, I get to really see the neighborhoods and get a tiny taste of what it’s like to live someplace. I also save a lot of money on food this way, as I prepare most of my own meals. When I do eat out, though, I like to ask the server what their favorite thing is on the menu and, if I can afford it, that’s what I get. I’ve eaten some interesting and excellent meals that way, and made a friend of the server by respecting his opinion.

warrior passport

Great list Matt! I would add…
Never follow a hippie to a second location.
Go with your gut when you meet people.
Do get lost in the daytime. Just bring water and a mountain of patience and your perpetual smile and you are set.
Dont get lost at night.
if you have to travel with more than a rucksack, you must be moving there.

“you don`t own anything you can`t carry on your back in a dead run”

If you are staying in hostels – the reception staff will often be local , young or young at heart and have a great ideas and inside tips as to where to go locally for food, drink free things , hidden attractions, the best trips .They can be more honest than the Tourist office staff ! Just ask it’s free and friendly.
Self catering Kitchens in hostels can save you a stack of money. There will nearly always be some left behind items( pasta , herbs , tinned foods ) you can use in making a meal and them pop to local supermarket for beer and wine to go with! .

Mike gindling

I did get lost and roamed though Quito, Ecuador. I got robbed of my camera equipment. that did not stop me. I went back to my room and got a small point and shoot and went back into Quito and retook a lot of my shots.
I had extra money so I bought another I better point and shoot and enjoyed the rest of my 2 weeks in Ecuador. I lugged a large 150-500mm lens around with me that I could not used, but when I got to the amazon basin I let a couple from Switzerland borrow it. They gave me a Swiss army knife for my kindness which replaced the one that was confiscated at the local airport.
So following some ideas can get you in trouble, but others can save your trip. I plan to still roam without a map, but will be extra careful where I head.

I have used your blog time and time again, in preparation for my study abroad experience. Now that I’m living for six months in Spain, I can really relate. Your advice has done me wonders. I agree that learning a few basic phrases is important. Although I’m advanced in Spanish, I have seen plenty of tourists struggle through the language! I’m still looking into the “solo travel” part though…. :/

Ann

I’ve been a world traveler for decades now and have followed most of these rules with great success.

(Have to agree about the bottled water in some parts of the world, though. It can be *interesting* to get sick in another country, but of course it’s never fun.)

I’d like to especially encourage people to take lots of photos of friends. It’s easy to get distracted by the local colors and shapes and shadows, but you’ll be very happy in the years to come that you took a moment to focus on your traveling companions.

Here’s my story—

In the summer of 1982 I traveled in Spain for a month with a German friend. She insisted that we take photos of each other, and she frequently stopped strangers on the street and asked them to snap both of us together. “Our memories!” she’d say to me when I got grumpy about posing one more time.

We’re still friends now, more than 30 years later, and we love looking at those photos that show us when we were young and thin and sassy.

So shoot away!

Fantastic list, Matt. The points about saying ‘yes’, learning the local language, and being open to talking to people. Being willing to be friendly and say hello to someone that I might never have really had a conversation with, and doing it in their language (it was to a Persian-speaking beer store owner in Brussels), led to me sharing some of the most expensive and rare beer in the world with them (Westvleteren 12). And it’s one of the highlights of my life and something that I can brag about among my beer-drinking and beer-making friends. To anyone out there who is questioning whether to say ‘hi’ to someone or to take that first leap: shut up and do it!

Great post Matt! My favorites were “stay in hostels”, “try new foods” and “pack light”. When I visited Spain I did all three.

I arrived in Madrid and stayed at a hotel for two days while I got acquainted. From there I went on for 29 more days, going from province to province and staying at hostels. I would call from one to the next, make reservations and move on.

I always tried to eat where the locals ate. Why? Because that’s how you really get to know a culture. Besides, it’s an excellent opportunity to make friends. As far as luggage goes, I always carry one bag (with enough clothes for 3-4 days) plus my camera equipment. That’s it.

And if I may add a tip, buy a guide book, plan your trip at home and stay away from structured tours if you can. That way you’ll be able to stay as long as you like at the places you like and leave promptly from those that you don’t

I know a few people in the comments have been reacting to your tip on drinking the tap water wherever you go.

There are solutions that people can use to ensure that the tap water is safe to drink, like boiling the water, using UV based purification, like the Camelbak All Clear or Steripen or other filtration technologies like the Lifestraw.

Hope this helps.

Awesome ‘rules.’ I can really echo the “bring a back up ATM card” tip. An ATM in Bodrum ate my card over the summer, and I had a bus to catch, so no way to figure out how to get it back. Luckily, I had a second card. It had fees, but it was better than having to wait for another card to be mailed to my house, then to me!

These are all great tips indeed, especially the last one. Thanks for sharing!

Wonderful post. Basic phrases are a big one for me. I always feel like an ass if I can’t at least say hello and thank you in the local language.

1. Try to visit places the educated locals hang out. Perhaps you could sit down with them with some of your doubts and then can guide you.
2. Respect local customs and culture.
3. Make friends
4. Become broad-minded and leave your prejudices home!

Great post! Thank you.

NomadicMatt

All good points.

Josh

You have some great tips here. It’s nice to get a different persons take on what is important to make a travel experience as good as it can be. I agree that it seems like no matter what trip I go on I always over-pack but sometimes I think that might be better than buying things while you are on your trip.

NomadicMatt

There’s nothing that can’t be bought on the way.

Hey Matt,

With over 15 years of solo nomadic world travels under my belt, I agree with you on almost all of these great tips.

Personally, I don’t like insurance or hostels. But I do agree with you that everyone should at least try a few hostels. And it’s probably wise to have travel insurance.

thanks for hte great post. Cheers, Lash

NomadicMatt

You never know what can happen to you on the road. Better to be penny wise than pound foolish (or however that saying goes).

I agree with all of these – especially the pack light and get a no fees ATM card. However, we’ve been travelling for four months without a phone – Skype works wonders if we need to call anyone :-) I’m guessing it’s probably saved us a lot of money too.

This is a really great list Matt. I think that one of the most important ones on here is “Traveling alone at least once”. I think that doing that is how people find out about most of these things. If you never actually take the plunge and make yourself do them, then you’ll never learn that as a traveler.

Also, the ‘say yes’ philosophy is really a great motivator for a traveler. Making yourself do it is important. We must try new things in order to grow.

G Will

United’s MileagePlus to avoid overseas transaction fees

i have mileage plus visa with chase and they charge transaction fees.
do i have the wrong one?

NomadicMatt

They recently made the card no fee.

Paul

I agree with you that it is best to avoid taxis in developed countries. However, to me one of the best things about traveling in the so called “third world” is that I can take taxis to get around. In Europe and the US I find constantly having to find the right bus stops and standing up on a bus for long distance exhausting.

I have also had some very interesting conversations with taxi cab drivers.

Also occasionally – particularly if you traveling with someone else- consider hiring a taxi for a day trip in the third world. They are not that expensive- $50 or so for a whole day in India, for example- and there is nothing more luxurious to me than having someone take you around.

Adrienne Morton

I loved this post, and YAY FOR TRAVELING ALONE! But my favorite part was that you used the word swashbuckling. :) Thanks Matt!

Liam

Great list. I especially agree with packing light and travel slow.I have to say that in a lot of countries drinking the tap water might be ill advised. Common sense should prevail though i suppose.

Thank you for your advises! I travel quite a lot and its a great list to start planning from it. ) I am happy that I found your blog. I will read it now. ;)

nice information, It’s a good advise for my next trip. Thank you for sharing :)

These tips are golden! I’m definitely keeping this in mind when I take my next trip, if only to remind myself before making a decision that could lead to a lackluster day. Might be a good idea to try at least 5 steps each day and see if it makes a difference. Great article.

Thanks for your post Matt! That tips is important for my trips :) Hug!!!

I see that advantages of trip protection insurance every day. I do vacation rentals on South Padre Island. Many of our vacationing families are multi-generational with elderly parents and young children. Children get sick or injured all of the time and the family is able to cancel their vacation and get a full refund. Senior citizens frequently have medical issues and will have to cancel or delay their travel. If you have children or elderly parents I think it is very wise to consider this protection.

Marie

I’m overseas right now and I agree with everything but one…”Get a metal bottle and drink the tap water.” Never drink the tap water. I had Amoebic Dysentry once so I know. Get a bottle and fill it with filtered water.

NomadicMatt

It depends on the country you are in. In many countries, the tap water is fine. In many countries, the tap water is not fine.

Indeed golden rules. One rule I myself experienced a lot is ‘Travel slow’. Trying to visit as much as possible, put lot of undue pressure on travel plans. I had to postpone entire schedule once. Take enough rest in between and travel slow.

coffeecream

stay in hostels, try new food, talk to local people and pack light . clothes takes up most space, by taking only few clothes and save space and save energy .

Travel slow is the best advice. I nearly burned out on travel early on trying to see everything. Better to see less and enjoy it more. And get rest! Great tips.

Nice one Matt, I’d say smile lots, experience the thrill and adventure of travelling solo, be up for new stuff and ignore everybody else and go where you like, do what you want and have a great time.
You never know. You might want to do it again!

These are so helpful! Sometimes it can be really intimidating starting out traveling, but i think it’s really important that everyone had to start somewhere.

PZ S

Sounds silly but somehow label your photos of friends old & new when you get a chance. Sorting through boxes of physical prints from early travel & even more recent digital files, the names of people who I thought I’d always keep in touch with elude me. My experiences don’t fade but sometimes would like to be able to remember a name.

Wicked post… always nice to see that after almost a decade I’m on my way to becoming a master traveler… :P There’s certainly some great tips here that I’ll have to factor in still, but hey… it’s all a learning process, right?!

My personal favourite is telling people to always leave extra room in their backpack/suitcase… You never know when you might have to pack in five minutes to make a train, or help carry something for a friend. Or… I guess… have enough room to buy new things, but that of course can be a double-edged sword. :P

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