Tips & Advice / Travel

10 Pieces of Travel Advice You Won’t Find in a Guidebook

10 Pieces of Travel Advice You Won't Find in a Guidebook

When it comes to travel tips and advice, I’m always excited to share. I mean, duh, I’m a blogger, and I love nothing more than writing up a kickass post to help others have awesome adventures. I adore writing about my favorite products to make life easier (Mack’s earplugs, people, they will change. your. life), apps that I’m really loving (Periscope, omg I’m obsessed), or suggestions for getting past security with ease (shoes off, liquids and laptops out, coats off, BAM). But what about the other kind of travel advice? The advice that’s less about what to pack, what to buy, or what to do, and more about the experience of travel. I put together a list of 10 things all you travel lovers out there will appreciate to help you get the most out of your adventures.

Comfort trumps all. When it comes to clothing or shoes or your backpack or gear or anything else — if it’s not comfortable, don’t take it. I have accumulated a small collection of booties for the very reason that they are stylish and also comfortable as hell. More than likely, you’ll be wearing or carrying things around for hours on end, so if you can’t even make it 90 minutes with something, give it a serious second thought.

Check The Flight Deal every damn day. Or, if you’re like me, multiple times a day. Even if you don’t book a ticket, it’s nice to dream. ps you’re welcome.

Pack as little as you dare. Travel is easier when you have less to lug around — security, bus rides, and adventuring in a new place. When I went to Vegas with just my purse, it was liberating. You don’t have to take light packing that seriously, but if you want to take advantage of whatever may come your way, less is more.

Roll your clothing. It saves space. I’m not just saying that like it’s common knowledge, I actually did an experiment on this!

If you need travel advice, turn to social media for help. It’s full of city locals and bloggers (um, hai) who are super excited to help and give their advice. In the very least, they can help point you in the right direction.

Streets of people

Remember that not everyone in the world speaks English. Learning a few simple phrases in a new language will go a long way. I didn’t really sit down to learn Icelandic before my trip, but I always said hello and thank you in the native tongue (“halló” and “takk”). People will appreciate that you don’t just assume they speak English and that you put in an effort to communicate in a way that is different for you.

You will meet some amazing people if you just say hello. Introductions can feel weird sometimes because we’re nervous or feel like outsiders, but it’s a small risk worth taking. You could either not say hello and continue living your life or you could say hello and have met someone cool. They might not really be interested in talking, in which case, whatever, life moves on. Or they could end up being one of your friends for life, in which case, ~awesome~. You really have nothing to lose.

Every now and then, put down your camera and just enjoy. As a travel blogger, I know I should be taking a crapload of photos, but sometimes I like to put down my phone and my camera and just experience things. I believe the best way for me to write about something is to actively engage, and if that comes at the sake of a few photos, so be it. You’ll appreciate your travels more if you check in from time to time and be 100% present.

Most people are inherently good. Not all unfortunately, but most are. Go with your gut, be smart about it, and don’t be afraid to trust.

Travel with an open mind and open heart. You will have your best travel experiences if you travel this way. I talk a lot about goals, I’m sure many of you have bucket lists filled with things you want to cross off, but as much as you can, try to go to new places ready to experience anything. Don’t let your expectations get in the way of an amazing adventure.

What’s the best travel advice you’ve got that isn’t in a guidebook? How did you learn it? Do any of these tips resonate with you?

Photo credits:
Death to the Stock Photo

42 thoughts on “10 Pieces of Travel Advice You Won’t Find in a Guidebook

  1. Hi Theresa – I just discovered your blog, it’s wonderful. I just joined travel blog community and am happy that I did 🙂
    I like your suggestions. I recently did my first weekend escape to another country, I wert to Paris in France for three days and was so happy that I Packed as little as I could. The feeling was very liberating to wander around with a small back-pack and not worrying that something valuable could be stolen, because there was nothing to steal! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing.
    – Ruta

  2. “just say hello” – one of the best tips in this post! it’s truly insane how deep, fulfilling, and fast a friendship or human connection can develop between even the most culturally opposite of people just by saying hi. I started speaking to one stranger or new person a day at the start of the year. it’s changed my life (really!) and has improved my ability to speak the local language x1000.

    • Wow, that sounds like such an interesting resolution! I think that talking to strangers is a skill, and so the more you practice it the better you get at it (and the less scary it feels). Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. My best piece of travel advice is to just wonder! You never know what you will find and often it lets you get off the beaten track. Even better, you see a lot more of a place then taking a bus/taxi/train everywhere.

  4. A nice read, and great advice. Especially about learning the native language. I allways learn how to say; hello, thank you, I don’t understand and do you speak english (or french, swedish and any other language that I know better than the native one.) It gets you very far. Once in france I got an elderly gentleman to speak english to explain where the Statue of Liberty was at the time. I had tried to speak french but could not understand some parts. Finally _he_ switched to english and explained that the statue had been lent to Japan for the football world championships..

  5. I think I like your “put the camera down and enjoy” tip the best, just because sometimes I really struggle to live in the moment because I’m always thinking about the next thing or the thing after that etc, but sometimes it’s so worthwhile just stepping back and seeing where you are and what’s around you through your own eyes in that moment – if that makes sense? Great post 🙂

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  7. Great post! I’ve so been enjoying following your stuff since the blogcademy. Now I want to figure out how to go on a trip with just my purse! haha 😀

    • 🙂 Thank you!! Start with short trips for just the purse and then go from there, based on how you feel. Going off of my previous experiences, I think I could do it for a week or two, but I wouldn’t have known that if I’d never tried it out for just a weekend!

  8. Hi I love your blog. I went to Europe with no plans and far too much stuff. I think I left half of what I brought and pared down to the essential in a month. I did say hi to everyone, and I kept a notebook with names and adresses of anyone who mentioned that they would put me up. I stayed free in Paris, Vienna, Oslo, Copenhagen, Manchester, Glasgo, Arnhem and many other places because of it. Going without plans allowed me to experience adventures I would never had imagined.

  9. Pingback: 10 Pieces of Travel Advice You Won’t Find in a Guidebook | Get Lost With Sangria

  10. This is a wonderful resource! Thanks for posting! I reblogged it on my own newborn blog and added a horror story of my own – packing comfortably will be number one on my checklist from now on! Thanks again!

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  12. I love this list so much! And I couldn’t have agreed more on this! Language is respect, daring to meet people and exchange is growth, enjoying the moment is much more valuable than always living it through a camera, and less is more.
    And I found out I am not the only weird one checking out flight deals every day!!! haha this tip just made my day!

  13. Love your blog, thanks for sharing these tips! The ‘comfort trumps all’ point is particularly relevant for me as I’m trying to pack for a year abroad– just the advice I needed to hear and will pick just one pair of heels to bring instead of the whole collection.

    • Haha, it’s hard but probably for the best! It’s like suddenly when you’re packing you get this intense emotional bond to all your clothing and footwear that you never had before. Good luck with the year abroad! Something I never did when I was in school and sometimes wonder if I should have 🙂 Love to hear about people getting to take that opportunity.

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