78 Full-Time Travel Tips To Take On The Road With You

I love to travel.

If you’re reading this article, you probably do too.

When I left the country for the first time back in 2013, I had no idea what to expect. By the end of my two-month experience teaching in Belize, I knew that I wasn’t going to be getting a job and living in the U.S.

Since then, I’ve lived, worked, and traveled in over 15 countries. I’ve learned a lot during this time about what to do (and not do), and I’d love to share some that insight with all of you.

 

On Money

1. Be smart with your money. A lot of people think, “Oh. I’ll keep spending because I’ll never be back in this place again.” If you do that too often, you’re going to run out of money fast. Sometimes, the best nights and the best stories happen without spending a cent, so consider getting off the beaten path before you blow your budget.

2. Make money while you’re traveling. We’ve been able to travel full-time for two years now because we work as freelancers while we go.

3. Set a clear budget. Know your budget, and stick to it as much as you can.

4. Use cash. Money feels a lot more real when it’s physically disappearing from your wallet. It’s a lot easier to overspend when it’s just one more card swipe rather than a trip to the ATM.

5. Save. A lot of people who travel full-time don’t make money a priority, but you should do your best to save money every month. Caring about retirement is cool.

6. Don’t worry too much about what other people or employers might think. People might tell you that extended travel is a bad idea, but we’ve been able to pay off our loans, save money, and advance our careers while traveling. The amount of remote workers is going up every year, and people are much more open to working with them than you may think.

7. Be wary of anyone asking you to pay a deposit. If you give one in a foreign country, you’re just asking to lose a bunch of money or spend time arguing trying to get your money back. Even more so if you don’t speak the language.

8. Don’t trust someone just because they’re from your country. We thought we could trust a landlord in Colombia because he was American, but he was the worst one we’ve dealt with.

9. People will do just about anything to get as much money out of you as possible. If they seem like a hustler, they are.

10. Airbnb is great for protecting yourself from scammers in the rental industry. You can read reviews, rent from trustworthy people, and have a third-party mediator.

11. You get significant discount on Airbnb the longer you rent. We almost always get at least 20% when we rent for a month.

12. Take pictures of your apartment when you arrive and when you leave. If there’s ever a dispute, you’ll have evidence.

13. Know the tipping expectations. If they don’t tip, then don’t tip. If they tip, then tip.

14. Make sure you have an emergency fund. When you inevitably f*ck up and need to buy a new flight ASAP or drop money on something serious, you won’t have to worry about charges going through, over drafting, or anything else.

15. Always have a credit card on hand. If you can’t have an emergency fund, a credit car is the next best thing to ensure you’re never stuck someone you can’t get out of. They buy you time and are also necessary for some car rentals and other international purchases.

16. Separate the important stuff. Both you and your partner should have debit and credit cards, so if one of you gets pick pocketed or loses their wallet it’s not the end of the world. If you’re traveling alone, leave a second debit and credit card in your apartment when you go out to avoid being stranded without cash or access to your accounts if something goes wrong.

 

On Packing

17. A deck of cards almost always comes in handy. There’s a ton of different two-person games to play, and it’s a great way to hang out with people you don’t really know.

18. Invest in sturdy boots. We do a lot of walking when we’re traveling, so I always bring a good pair of walking shoes with me.

19. Always bring a portable charger. No one wants to choose between photos of an exotic destination or music on the ride home. portable chargers are cheap and one of the most important items if you don’t want to be stuck staring into space on a bus, train, or plane.

20. Pack a headphone splitter if you’re a couple. Great for watching tv/movies or listening to music/podcasts together, especially when one person’s phone inevitable dies.

21. Don’t overpack. Pack everything you want, then remove half before you leave. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

22. Limit your luggage to one on your back, one on your stomach. We go with a big backpack and a small backpack and always have everything we need.

23. Packing a speaker is a great idea. I use my portable speaker all the time.

24. Consider a portable projector. Your apartments might not always have a TV, so look into portable projectors if you want something bigger than your laptop screen.

25. Always travel with an extra outfit in your carry-on bag. If your luggage is lost, you can at least feel fresh the next day when you start the miserable hunt to get it back.

26. Never put anything valuable in a checked bag or under the bus. Laptops, cameras, cellphones, and passports should all be in one bag that’s in your sight at all times.

27. If you’re sleeping in a bus, train, or air terminal, wrap the straps of your bag around your arm or leg before you pass out and get robbed.

28. Practical above all else. A cute sundress may look amazing, but jeans and a black tee will be appropriate for more events and seasons. Every article of clothing counts. If you don’t wear it in the first month, donate it or throw it out.

29. They don’t really wear shorts in a lot of countries. Americans love shorts. A lot of other countries don’t. Unless you’re going to be on a beach, skip them on your packing list.

 

On Travel

30. Don’t get caught up trying to see everything. When I first started traveling, I felt like I had to see and do it all. You just have to accept that you can’t see everything so that you can actually enjoy yourself.

31. Try not to say no too often. I find myself turning things down too much at times. I try to remember that I’m traveling to see and try new things.

32. Don’t romanticize traveling without a plan. It might sound adventurous and fun, but in reality it just means wasting hours at a coffee shop trying to figure out your next steps. We typically have the big stuff (i.e. accommodation) planned before we get somewhere.

33. Don’t rely on tour agencies to give you the facts. In a lot of countries they are willing to sacrifice your wellbeing to make some money.

34. Don’t rely on ratings alone for restaurants and businesses. Read reviews even if a rating is high because TripAdvisor has become less reliable over the years, and sometimes the average or bad reviews paint a different picture.

35. Take pictures of the mundane stuff. Beautiful landscapes are great, but snap some of your meals and partner and new friends you meet… those are the ones that will bring back the most memories in years to come.

36. Don’t be afraid to haggle, but don’t be a dick about it. Negotiation is expected in a lot of countries, so get comfortable doing it. Just don’t push it too much if it’s not a significant amount of money.

37. Don’t give to kids. Parents use them as beggars all the time, and though it’ll tug at your heartstrings it’s better in the long run not to support it. If you really feel terrible about yourself, find a reputable organization you can donate to instead.

38. On Airbnb, always verify that you’re actually renting an entire apartment and not sharing it. People list shared apartments as entire apartments all the time. Really read the description, and send a message to clarify before your book.

39. If someone seems like they don’t really know how to use Airbnb, don’t rent from them. If they struggle with the tech, they’ll probably struggle with providing a good experience.

40. Don’t buy too many souvenirs. They take up space and will usually fall apart or be thrown away the minute you get home.

41. You can find a lot of good information in Facebook groups. In more popular cities, there’s almost always an expat group of some sort where you can ask more specific questions.

42. Four full weekends is almost always enough time in one city. We typically stay in each city for five weeks, and it’s enough to enjoy a mix of visiting the big sites and getting off the beaten path.

43. The internet isn’t always right. Sometimes I show up in a city where everyone says you can’t drink the water, and it’s perfectly fine (looking at you, Sibiu.) Or, the media will sensationalize a culture (like Dubai) and we’ll show up to find that it’s way more normal and relaxed than the online articles make it appear.

44. When you start planning a trip, dedicate a gmail folder to it and move all confirmation emails directly to the folder. Then, when you’re traveling it will be much easier to find the one you need in the moment.

45. Before you set out on the next leg of your journey, screen shot addresses, phone numbers, and tickets or bar codes. You may find yourself without service or internet, and having the essentials safe on your phone can be a godsend.

46. Popular digital nomad destinations aren’t always the best. Medellin is praised as one of the best, but I’ve preferred almost every other city I’ve lived in to it. Do your own research, and don’t lock yourself into one place for too long.

47. Check tourism boards and ticketing websites for every city when you arrive. There’s often plenty of cool festivals, shows, and events that you’ll never hear about otherwise.

 

On Transportation

48. Always, always, always know the visa rules for every country you’re traveling through. We lost a lot of money because we didn’t know that we needed a visa to transfer airports in India on a layover. Don’t make a mistake like that.

49. Pay attention to whether your driver seems drunk. After a tuk-tuk driver almost drove us all off the side of a mountain one night, we’re much more careful about adhering to this rule.

50. Downloading movies and shows from Netflix to your phone is one of the best forms of entertainment. I used to only use music and podcasts, but now movies and shows are my go-to for long trips.

51. A Spotify subscription is worth it. We pay $10/month, and it’s 100% worth the money to have access to downloadable music and podcasts.

52. Being on the plane overnight is better than being in the airport overnight. After spending a night in the Mexico City airport, I’ll do whatever I can to avoid it again. If you have to travel overnight, try to at least be on a flight.

53. Sometimes it’s better to spend a little bit of extra money on transportation. The more I travel the more I realize it’s often worth it to pay a little bit extra for comfort, speed, convenience or all three.

54. Always let someone know if you’re getting off the bus at a quick stop… otherwise, there’s a very real chance that your bathroom break could end with you getting left behind in the middle of nowhere!

 

On Day-to-Day Life on the Road

55. Stay active, and sign up for gym memberships when possible. Unlike the US, most gyms in other countries don’t require craze fees and contracts. I always sign up for a month-long membership when I get to a city, and it helps keep me healthy and sane.

56. An endless vacation may sound like fun but even that comes with problems. Stick to a routine and stay productive. It will keep you from spending too much money, drinking too much, or getting traveler burn-out.

57, Buying groceries and cooking at home is cheaper and healthier than eating out. Going to restaurants regularly can be tempting, but try to cook at home during the weeks and save the meals out for a treat on the weekends.

58. Make an effort to look good. When you work from home and live out of a suitcase, it’s easy to get sloppy. Dressing nice can make you feel like a totally new person… even if it’s just for a trip to the grocery store.

59. A lot of medicines are widely available and significantly cheaper in other countries. You can usually find what you need in a pharmacy and get it over-the-counter without a prescription.

60. Project Fi is a decent worldwide phone plan, and there are ways to use it without having a Google device. I pay around $23/month for texts, $0.20 per minute for calls, and $10/GB of data on my iPhone. I believe it’s only for Americans at this time, but other countries have better phone plans anyways.

61. Sprint’s customer service sucks. We had them for over a year and didn’t have many positive experiences with them… but the Open World Plan for traveling in Latin America is still the best and cheapest option out there.

62. Apple products can be difficult to find at reasonable prices. I paid $90 for a $20 charger when I was in Mexico. Consider bringing an extra if you’re going somewhere that doesn’t typically carry Apple products.

63. Your apartment or hostel door will get stuck. And you’ll be left wondering how you’re going to get in when it’s late at night or freezing outside. Luckily pulling the door toward you as you unlock it will solve the problem and get it open again 98% of the time.

 

On Making Friends

64. Do your best to meet new people. If you’re traveling with a partner, it can be easy to fall into your comfort zone. You have to make an effort to be social. People won’t just come up to you and ask to hang out, but if you initiate a conversation 99% of the time you’ll make a new friend.

65. That being said… there’s a difference between going out of your comfort zone, and being uncomfortable. Some people just suck to hang out with. If you get a bad feeling, don’t be afraid to leave the situation.

66. If someone makes it a point to tell you they’re a “traveler” and not a “tourist,” stay away from them. They’re often d-bags.

67. Volunteering at local nonprofits is a great way to meet people and feel good: You might have to do some digging to find opportunities, but it’s a good way to learn about the community.

68. Not every silence needs to be filled. I’ve noticed a lot of solo travelers tend to overshare because they don’t want the conversation to stall. Let it flow naturally and don’t try to control it, and it may end up on some great unexpected topics (or, just people asking you if you voted for Trump for the millionth time).

 

On Food

69. What’s everyone else ordering? If everyone at the restaurant has fish, don’t get the burger. Also, don’t be afraid to point at someones meal and ask the waiter what it is.

70. Sometimes you just need a little taste of home. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing McDonald’s or Starbucks every now and then, and you shouldn’t let anyone shame you out of it!

71. Don’t complicate things. When you try to change an order or ask too many questions with a language barrier, things will just get more muddled. Accept that you just probably won’t know what’s happening or what’s coming about 50% of the time.

72. Mentally prepare yourself now to pay exorbitant prices for peanut butter. That’s just how life works now. Oh, and you’ll never, ever, ever find grape jelly outside of the US.

73. One meal out is almost always enough. Split it and tell yourself if you’re still hungry, you can order more food after… I promise you’ll never need to.

 

On Common Sense

74. Keep your hands on your pockets in crowded areas, especially when you’re transitioning off a bus in a crowded area with a lot of bags. I got pick pocketed once, and now I’m always super careful.

75. Pat yourself down whenever you’re getting out of a cab before letting them drive off. We’ve left THREE phones in cabs. Now we always pat ourselves down and check that we have everything before letting the car drive away.

76. Always put your pictures/videos in the cloud. It’s easy to download the Google Photos app and directly upload all of your photos at the end of each day. After losing every picture from three weeks in Thailand when I got pick pocketed on the last day, I back everything up.

77. ALWAYS check the meter before the taxi starts driving. Too many drivers will start it with the last fare still running, or won’t turn it on at all and demand a crazy price at the end. If there isn’t a meter in your taxi, check the estimated trip price on Uber before agreeing to one with the driver, and always confirm a final price before you get in. Actually, just avoid taxis when you can, but be extra careful while in them if you can’t.

78. Learn the emergency number for every country you’re in. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s important to be aware that it’s not 911 everywhere.

 

Unfortunately, I’ve learned many of these travel lessons the hard way. DON’T be like me, and take these 78 full-time travel tips to heart before you pack your bags and hit the road.

Of course, If you have any tips or tricks that I missed, let me know in the comments!

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Slight North

Collect memories, not things. 

Mexico vs. Colombia: Which Should You Visit?

I love Latin America.

The people, the culture, the nature, the language; all of it is amazing.  

We spent almost all of 2017 (and the beginning of 2018) traveling in Colombia, Peru, and Mexico, and I hope that we can return someday to see even more of both South and Central America.

Unfortunately, what many people have to base their opinion on when deciding where to travel in Latin America is what they see in the media.

While there certainly are places that you probably shouldn’t visit in both Mexico and Colombia if you value your life, the reality for both countries is much different than what you might expect.

So, let’s take a look at traveling in Mexico vs. Colombia to see which option might be better for you.

 

Tourist Attractions

Although I don’t feel the need to seek out every tourist attraction that a city or country has to offer, I do enjoy seeing the sites as time allows.

If there’s one thing missing for tourists in Colombia, it’s probably a wide range of true tourist attractions as compared to other countries in Latin America. Some of the most popular are…

While there are certainly other things to do, these are the ones I found that most people tend to visit.

 

the colorful streets of Guatape, Colombia

 

If tourist attractions are your thing, you won’t be disappointed in Mexico.

Some of the most popular are…

  • The beaches and islands of Quintana Roo (Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, etc.)
  • Mayan ruins like Coba, Chichen Itza, and more
  • Underground Cenotes
  • Colonial cities like Taxco, Puebla, and San Miguel de Allende
  • Laguna Bacalar
  • Boat cruises and scuba diving
  • Many national parks

I had to really limit myself on the Mexico one just because there’s so much to see. For me, their list of tourist attractions beats Colombia’s any day. 

Mexico vs. Colombia Tourist Attraction Winner: Mexico

 

Ease of Tourism

Because of the sheer volume of tourist attractions in Mexico, there are a ton of different choices for all types of travelers. Whether you want to do everything on your own or do an organized/prepaid tour, there are always options available to you.

Since Colombia is still in the earlier stages of its tourism industry, everything can be just a little bit more difficult to figure out. There isn’t always a ton of information about what to do, and there aren’t many of easy options for organized tours if that’s what you’re looking for.

Mexico vs. Colombia Ease of Tourism Winner: Mexico

 

Infrastructure

Latin America isn’t exactly known for having the easiest infrastructure to navigate, but I found Colombia and Mexico to both have pretty good infrastructure for whatever you need.

In the bigger cities, you can almost always find nice grocery stores, access to public transportation (Mexico City and Medellin both have metros), modern highways, shopping malls, taxis, Uber, and options for quality healthcare.

Mexico vs. Colombia Infrastructure Winner: Tie

 

Nature and Hiking

Both Mexico and Colombia are beautiful countries with a lot of nature to see.

However, what I found in Colombia (at least in Medellin) was that the nature was a bit difficult to access if you didn’t have a car. With that said, there are plenty of really nice places around the country for you to enjoy. Whether you visit Santa Marta, Jardin, or Salento, there’s a lot of beautiful scenery.

The main advantage that Mexico has is that the country is significantly bigger than Colombia, so there are just more options. We swam in cenotes in Tulum, spent days on the beaches of Playa del Carmen, relaxed at Laguna Bacalar, and hiked near active volcanoes in Izta-Popo National Park. Overall, the nature in Mexico is way more varied, interesting, and accessible than it is in Colombia.

Mexico vs. Colombia Nature and Hiking Winner: Mexico

 

water swings at Laguna Bacalar

 

Nightlife

Colombia is famous for their nightlife scene. No matter what city you’re in, you can find wild bars, clubs, or parties to go to. This is especially true in the cities that tourists tend to go to, Medellin and Bogota.

Poblado has the best nightlife in Colombia, but you can find one just as good in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Additionally, Mexico City is one of the biggest cities in the world, so you can find whatever you’re looking for there as well. They also have a much better rising craft beer scene in Mexico City, which I enjoyed taste testing during our trip.

Both countries have great nightlife, but Mexico just comes out ahead on this round. 

Mexico vs. Colombia Nightlife Winner: Mexico

 

Safety

Both countries have been plagued by drug violence over the years.

However, Colombia has managed to reduce it significantly (at least anywhere that you will likely see), and there’s no question that it’s an incredibly safe country for you to visit as long as you’re smart.

On the other hand, Mexico is still fighting its war on drugs. With that said, the violence tends to be concentrated in specific areas of the country that you can easily avoid. We never felt the least bit unsafe at any point during our two months in Mexico, even while visiting a city (Taxco) in one of the states (Guerrero) that the United States has on its no travel list.

In both countries, common sense prevails. If you’re seeking drugs, prostitutes, or any other nefarious activities, all bets are off.

Mexico vs. Colombia Safety Winner: Colombia

 

Food

I love food, and it’s one of the most important things to me when I’m traveling.

There’s a lot of good Colombian food (bandeja paisa, anyone?), and there’s also quite a few different international options for you if you’re in the bigger cities. Even in the less touristy neighborhood of Envigado in Medellin, there were definitely some really good restaurants.

However, for me, Colombian food doesn’t come close to Mexican food. Being from the United States, I’ve always enjoyed Mexican food, so it was pretty great to be able to get really amazing and cheap Mexican food wherever I went. There’s also a ton of really great options for international food as well in Mexico City, which sealed the deal.

Mexico vs. Colombia Foor Winner: Mexico

 

shrimp tacos in Mexico

 

Overall Winner of Mexico vs. Colombia

There’s really no question for me when it comes down to which country I recommend visiting. The score says it all, and Mexico wins this showdown 5 to 1. Although I loved the time that I spent in Colombia, Mexico just comes out ahead.

Whether you’re a long-term traveler or someone looking for an easy and fun vacation, Mexico has it all.

 

PS still not sure which country to see? Keep reading our Colombia vs. Peru take down to explore more options in South America!

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Slight North

Collect memories, not things. 

Islas Ballestas and Huacachina Oasis: A Photo Diary

The Islas Ballestas and Huacachina Oasis are both only a few hours away from Lima, and make for a perfect weekend trip from the city. Water, sun, and sand are very different from the mountain treks and high altitude hikes we are used to in Peru, but I’m definitely not complaining! Check out our photos from the weekend, and click here to get all the travel details!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Slight North

Collect memories, not things. 

5 Reasons to Visit Belize

A few years back, I spent a couple of months teaching and traveling in Belize. Before I left for the country, I basically knew nothing about it.

For those who have never heard of it, it’s a tiny little country around the size of New Hampshire and with a population of less than 400,000 people. Although it may be small, there’s a ton of stuff to do.

Here are five reasons why you should visit Belize.

 

#1 You Can Get Around With English

For those who don’t speak a language aside from English, traveling in a foreign country can be a little bit intimidating. While many people in a lot of countries speak some English, it can still be tough to communicate exactly what you want or need. However, you don’t need to worry about that if you visit Belize. 

In fact, English is their national language.

As a former British colony, the language that they learn and use in the public school system is English. With that said, you’ll likely hear a bunch of different languages depending on where you are in the country. Belizean Creole is probably the language that’s used most widely, but you’ll also hear a lot of Spanish depending on where you are (in addition to more indigenous languages).

 

#2 The Local Culture is Still intact

In a world that is increasingly globalized (read: Americanized), it’s refreshing to visit a country in which the local culture is still very much intact. In Belize, you won’t find many American establishments.

As of 2016, there were 36,899 McDonalds restaurants in 120 different countries… but not one in Belize.

You can basically count on beans, rice, and seafood everywhere you go. Despite not having the best food scene in the world, you truly leave everything that you have at home and enter into a different world when you travel to Belize.

 

 

#3 The Beaches are Incredible

Whether you’re in the north or south of Belize, you’re always close to beautiful beaches when you visit this country. There are beaches like Placencia in the south with a seemingly endless amount of islands (cayes) that you can visit. I only made it to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, but you also have St. George’s Caye, Tobacco Caye, Long Caye, and many many more.

Also, if you’re into diving, you can also visit one of the most famous diving sites in the world: the Great Blue Hole. Although I didn’t get to visit while I was there, I’ve only heard amazing things.

Seriously, look it up.

 

#4 It’s Easy to Travel

Getting places in Belize is simple.

There are basically only five major paved roads, and the country is tiny. If you need to go somewhere, just hop onto one of the many buses that run throughout the country. On these old school buses from the U.S., you can get almost anywhere in the country in less than a day of traveling, and for a pretty reasonable price too. Just a fair warning though, the buses can get pretty crowded during peak times (and by that I mean strangers basically sitting on top of you).

If you want something more comfortable, you can always take the taxis (or a helicopter if you’re really feeling yourself).

 

#5 Nature

Let’s put it this way; Belize is not developed.

They aren’t really an industrialized nation, they don’t have a ton of commerce, and their population density is super low. While this doesn’t make for a prosperous nation (not yet, at least), it does mean that much of their nature has been left untouched. As wildlife is one of the biggest attractions for tourists in the country, the government works hard to protect their forests, wild animals, and birds.

In fact, Belize is home to the world’s only (as far as I know) jaguar preserve.

If you want to explore beautiful rainforest and incredible animals in their natural habitats, Belize is the place for you.

 

The Takeaway

Although a little-known country to many, Belize is one of the most underrated places that I’ve been. It doesn’t get nearly as much love on the tourist circuit as somewhere like Costa Rica or Nicaragua, but it’s one of the most unique countries in the world in that much of the country is relatively untouched.

If you want a unique, authentic travel experience, you should definitely visit Belize.

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Slight North

Collect memories, not things. 

My 5 Favorite Things About Traveling

I love traveling.

After I left the country and taught English for two months in Belize, I knew that I wanted to keep doing it after college. Since then, Di and I have found different ways to travel over the last three years.

We started by teaching English in Abu Dhabi for two years and were able to travel to several countries.  We then kept it going by working remotely as freelance writers. Over these three to four years of traveling, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world.

Here are my five favorite things about traveling.

 

1. Trying New Food

Numero uno. Food. There’s a lot of downtime when you’re traveling full-time and working. The best thing to do in that time? Eat. Whether you’re traveling in your own country or abroad, there are always new restaurants, foods, and beers to try. Some of our favorites have been limonada de cocos in Medellin and ceviche in Lima (I didn’t even know what ceviche was before I moved here. Now, I love it.)

 

2. Making Myself Uncomfortable

It’s easy to fall into my same routine every day. Wake up, work a little bit, read for a bit, watch TV, go to sleep. One of the best things about traveling is that there is always something new to try. Something that takes me out of my comfort zone.

In Belize, it was that I was living and teaching in a village of people experiencing poverty that I had never seen before.

In Abu Dhabi, it was a lot of things. There was a new culture, a new (read: barren) landscape, blatant racism, and overindulgence at every turn.

In South America, it’s the absence of English. I’ve never lived somewhere where almost nobody spoke English. I’ve had to learn a lot of Spanish and get comfortable speaking in a different language.

At every turn, there’s something to learn about myself and the world around me. Which brings me to my next point…

Read: The Truth About Traveling Full Time

 

3. Everything is New

Traveling makes me feel like I’m a kid again. When you’re a kid, everything is new. You’ve never been to the park down the street, you’ve never been to your parent’s favorite restaurant, you’ve never seen your favorite band play live. Over time, that magic fades. You go to the same restaurant or bar every Friday, you go to the local park every Saturday, you go to the same breakfast spot on Sunday. Rinse, repeat.

For me, travel helps keep the spark alive.

I get lost in a new city, hear a different culture’s music, wonder why there’s fireworks and parades every single day (looking at you, Peru), and experience the world much in the way that I did as a kid.

 

4. I Appreciate Home More

Despite what I say about the magic fading when I fall into routine, one thing that traveling has done for me is that it’s helped me learn to appreciate everything that I have at home that much more. When I’ve been out of the country for eight or ten months, there comes a point where all that I can think about is home.

Skyline Chili, baseball games, football games, backyard cookouts, parties, ice cubes (and fresh, clean water) from a refrigerator, pasteurized milk in a jug, and everything else that makes home such a great place (like my family and friends, I guess).

There’s nothing like leaving the country for an extended period of time to help me appreciate the little things that I can only find at home.

 

5. Nothing Really Matters

 When you’re living out of a backpack, people come to have certain expectations about you.

Maybe they think that you’ve worn the same clothes for a few days or a week without washing them. Maybe they think that you don’t have a stable career path. Maybe they think that you’re flaky. Those expectations are what makes life traveling that much easier.

Since people already expect it, I go ahead and wear the same clothes without washing them for several days. Since people already think I’m flaky, I don’t have to have a cell phone plan. Since people don’t think I have a stable career path, I don’t really have to explain what I do.

In essence, I don’t have to worry about a lot of the small things that I would have to worry about if I were at home in a normal living situation.

 

As I travel more and am exposed to new cultures, foods, languages, and people around the world, I can’t imagine who I would be if I had never left home.

Let us know what you love the most about traveling in the comments section below!

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Collect memories, not things. 

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