We traveled for 10 years before we turned our travels into a career. It was a valuable time for us. We spent 10 years experiencing travel for the pure love of it.
That decade helped us to really appreciate the quiet moments and learn how to travel independently before making a career out of travel.
It was a time we honed our travel skills and these are our best tips we want to share. We learned the hard way, so you don’t have to!
Best Travel Tips from 19 Years of Traveling the World
Traveling independently for a decade and beyond helped us to understand what is important and what is real. While many people are traveling now as influencers and travel bloggers, it’s the time spent traveling for yourself alone that you really learn about travel.
And here’s what we learned from spending time in more than 100 countries on seven continents.
1. Put Down the Cell Phone
It may seem easy, but this is our number one travel tip!
We watch so many groups of people spending so much time capturing the perfect selfie at a monument or stunning scenic lookout, that they forget to see what is in front of them.
A photo is nice to have, but it’s how you feel in the moment that you will remember forever. It’s a marvelous world that is full of noise right now.
Travel gives you the opportunity to block out the noise, so put down your smartphone and be present instead.
You will have a far more fulfilling and memorable experience.
Who cares about the likes, let’s get real about our lives!
Takeaway: Travel was about being in the moment and it was those times that we truly had the life-changing experiences
2. Don’t Go Into Debt
This is one of the most important tips for traveling we can give you. Don’t spend beyond your means.
You’ll regret every moment of your travels if you come back from a trip of a lifetime only to face a mound of debt.
Instead of spending a fortune of international travel, enjoy getaways in your own backyard. When Dave and I were dreaming of traveling the world, we explored a lot of our home province of Ontario, Canada.
We stayed out of debt by packing up our bikes and camping gear for cheap weekend getaways.
We lived frugally while we explored our own backyard and had great adventures. We didn’t mind that we weren’t flying to international destinations because our lives were full.
When we had enough money, we could finally travel the way we wanted without the stress of bills looming over our head. By exploring our own backyard cheaply, we saved a lot of money to travel the world.
Takeaway: If you don’t have the cash to travel, don’t do it.
Read more international travel tips: How to Travel on a Budget
3. Hire Local Guides
To do an epic adventure you need skill and experience.
Dave and I have taken on a lot of epic adventures in our lives, but we worked our way up with baby steps. And more importantly, we hired professionals to help us out when we needed it.
We’ve trekked 100km in the dead of winter through the Canadian Arctic watershed, climbed to Everest Base Camp, gone white water kayaking through class III rapids.
We weren’t qualified to do any of these independently, but with expert guides, were learned new skills and accomplished these challenges safely.
Takeaway: Seeing a photograph on Instagram by someone, doesn’t mean you are qualified to do that thing.
Read our traveling tips: how to climb to Mount Everest Base Camp
As a travel couple, this is our number one piece of advice for good travel when traveling together.
It can’t be one person dictating where you are going and what you are doing.
Dave and I like spending time together but we don’t necessarily like the same things. Don’t be one of those couples that constantly take separate vacations or go their separate ways when they travel.
We’ve seen those couples throughout our lives, and most of them are not together anymore.
If you give and take and try things that you don’t want to do, you may find out you like it. And you’ll make your partner really happy.
Sure, go separate ways sometimes and spend the odd afternoon apart, but don’t live separate lives. Find common ground to make your travels work together.
If you follow this advice, it will make for nice and easy traveling as a couple.
Takeaway: You have to be willing to give and take.
Check out our travel tips blog for couples: How to Survive Traveling as a Couple
5. Invest in Travel Insurance
This is seriously one of the best tips we can offer for travel. Buy travel insurance.
A lot of people say to us, “I only need travel insurance if I am going to somewhere remote.
Heck, my brother went to Florida and broke his arm. If he didn’t have insurance, he’d have been stuck with a hefty hospital bill. Accidents can happen anywhere.
Dave and I were on a luxury cruise two years ago and he slipped on a set of stairs and broke his back.
If we didn’t have insurance, we would have been stuck paying nearly $100,000 dollars for the air ambulance and hospital bills. We can say with certainty.
Get travel medical insurance.
One important thing to note is that most travel insurance policies and platinum card plans don’t include medical evacuation coverage, so you should definitely consider purchasing a protection supplement such as Medjet.