What’s Your Greatest Regret?

By Nomadic Matt | Published June 27th, 2011

regretsMy biggest regret is that I never studied overseas while I was at university. So continuing on with question #4 of 6 in my series on reader travel experiences, this installment’s question is about your biggest travel regret. It seemed most people regretted not starting earlier or not going longer. Besides those two responses, here are some others:

“Sometimes I feel I have tried to do too much while traveling and that I don’t allow myself to immerse myself into the culture or sometimes I become too lazy that I find I don’t really do enough to get a feel of the place.” – Rob

“Missing out on hiking Franz Josef glacier in NZ.” – Crystal

“I didn’t begin earlier.” – Maria

“My biggest travel regret was my first trip to Europe 12 years ago. I hired a car and did the grand tour of Europe, 6 countries in 20 days. Spent the vast majority of the time on motorways, trying to make the next destination. Saw next to nothing except European motorways.” – Rod

“I’ve been around Southeast Asia three times and never been to the Philippines! I’ve also been to Indonesia three times and never visited Sumatra! I’ll be going though!” – Slice

“That we didn’t leave sooner.” – Amy

“Not studying abroad. I didn’t start travelling until I was 22. I wish I started at 18 or sooner.” – Mike

“I would not have pre-booked a package of flights. Although I may have saved a bit of money, I sometimes wonder how my path may have veered more from my original plan if I wasn’t thinking about those future flights.” – Stephanie

“My biggest regret is coming back to the U.S. and letting myself get sucked in and stuck too long. Now I have to dismantle my life, job, responsibilities and try to be free again.” – Niki

“Allotting two or three days to cities that deserve weeks.”- Allie

“That I didn’t discover budget airlines sooner! I used to think Expedia was the only website you could book flights on and that if they didn’t show a certain airline, it simply didn’t exist. Boy was I wrong!” – Tom

“Not getting post cards in every city!” – Krisan

“Delaware.” – Erin

“Not traveling earlier in life. I didn’t start until I was 45, and can kick myself in the a** for not doing it sooner. The excuses, “I can’t afford it”, “I don’t know the language”, “Screw the French” was just so wrong!!” – Terry

“Not getting the names or contact information of people Ive met along the way.” – Kerra

“I wish I would have stepped outside my comfort zone a little more while I was on my first trip. I also wish I would have tried more local food but I was on a strict budget. Looking back, I would have gladly paid a few extra hundred dollars to experience that part of the local culture.” – James

“Not studying abroad in college when I had the chance. The thought of going away on my own to a foreign country for several months (and leaving behind my boyfriend, now husband) was just too frightening for me at the time. I also regret not traveling for a few months after college. For some reason I was so quick to want a job and be in the real world. Now I’m not sure why I was in such a hurry!” – Emily

“Not starting taking advantage of all that free time I had during college to travel more.” – Courtney

My biggest travel regret is focusing too much on the “sights” and forgot to interact with locals and fellow travelers. I’ve realized that the people you meet on the road are always the ones that makes the trip worthwhile.”- Plif

“Running out of money.” – James Clark

“Not taking advantage of all the work visas available to travelers when I was younger.” – Audrey

“My biggest travel regret it the same, every time: going home. This time, I’m not going to do it!” – Alex

I asked my readers a series of 6 questions about travel. Read their answers to the other 5 intriguing questions:
Why did you start traveling?
What is your greatest travel memory?”
What’s the one item you can’t travel without?
What’s the worst thing that has happened to you?
What advice would you give to new travelers?

comments 20 Comments

Loving these responses and also getting a good laugh, especially about budget airlines and Expedia. So many people think this and it’s an amazing feeling when you realize that it’s NOT true!

I have no travel regrets, just lessons learned:-).

Sofia - As We Travel

It’s great to read this and learn from other people’s mistakes!

Funny to see that my regret was similar to many other contributors :) Looks like we all share a common thread… we wish we left earlier and stayed longer!

Taking too many clothes…!

thanks for including me on the list ;-)

NomadicMatt

You’re welcome.

You hit it on the nail!! NOT studying abroad is my BIGGEST travel regret. I was too busy falling in love. *sigh*

NomadicMatt

There’s nothing wrong with falling in love though.

NomadicMatt

Here! Here!

NomadicMatt

I would never even want to think about how much money I spend on “partying.” Ignorance is bliss.

Adrienne Morton

You got that right, Matt!

My biggest regret probably has to do with not carrying a camera for a good part of the first few years traveling. I had this principle where I thought carrying a camera takes away from the experience of actually living the adventure. But, then, a couple of years later when you want to look back at those gorgeous places and the people you traveled with, you might change your mind. I did.

The second probably has to do with not mingling enough with the local cultures. I now know there’s a big difference between touring a place and living a place… studying abroad, moving in for a long period, or things like Couchsurfing or local friends of people you know really helps with that.

My biggest regret was not taking full advantage of my study abroad opportunity in Barcelona when I was 20. Going abroad for the first time was a huge change for me and I clung to American culture and my American friends in the program… Maybe I was just too young and homesick at the time to realize what I was missing out on by not imersing myself in a new culture and way of life. I hope my RTW trip with my husband next year will be different!

NomadicMatt

That regret seems to be popular among people….

Taking a gap year. I regret not studying abroad (like many others on this page). I regret not getting a passport sooner, and not using it more when I finally got it. I wish I caught the “travel bug” sooner. I wish I pushed my comfort zone sooner. For a moment I thought it was “too late” and that I’d missed my opportunity. I was wrong, I admitted it, and I changed it. I just got back from a 5-month adventure across 15 countries. Amazing!
Regrets are temporary.

I regret not taking a gap year. I regret not studying abroad (like many others on this page). I regret not getting a passport sooner, and not using it more when I finally got it. I wish I caught the “travel bug” sooner. I wish I pushed my comfort zone sooner. For a moment I thought it was “too late” and that I’d missed my opportunity. I was wrong, I admitted it, and I changed it. I just got back from a 5-month adventure across 15 countries. Amazing!
Regrets are temporary.

I used to work at the study abroad office at my campus, and we always told students that one of the biggest regrets from college grads is that they didn’t study abroad – guess this post gives further evidence of that :)

I also wish I’d studied abroad when I was in college. I had all the materials and was seriously considering two or three countries for a semester-long program, but I honestly felt so overwhelmed by all the choices that it just seemed less stressful to stay stateside. That said, I try not to look at life as a series of regrets but lessons learned, so even though I wish I’d studied abroad in college, I’ve taken advantage of other opportunities to travel now that I’ve decided that’s a priority in life (regardless of how overwhelming it can seem) and I advise college students to study abroad when I speak at conferences and workshops.

scott.arsenal

anyone interested in going to the philippines?

Kevin G

No regrets. Don’t have time for them. …they only take away from today..living in the past..or future..is folly IMO.

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