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My Best Travel Tips

I had the pleasure to be a guest for the podcast, Locally Sourced Joey, discussing running an online business, my favorite things about traveling New Zealand, and of course about my solo travel life.

On the topic of traveling (or travelling as the non-Americans spell it) he asked me in my expert opinion what my best travel tips and tricks for new and experienced travelers was. And I replied with my best international travel tips:

Advice for New Travelers:

  • Just go do it
  • Set realistic expectations
  • Be open minded

Advice for Experienced Travelers:

  • Pack Light!
Traveling Tayler standing at the top of the Sydney Bridge with the Sydney Harbor and Opera House in the background during her one year of solo travel

Traveling Abroad Tips: Go through the Process

When I decided to travel for a year, I already felt comfortable with the international travel process. I had experience with travel to Europe, had familiarized myself with airplane processes and was learning new budget travel tips.

I know I take for granted how easy travel comes to me and how natural it feels to me at this point and that it’s not the case for everyone.

So my advice for the best way to travel the world, is to just go through the process.

There are multiple steps to traveling, everything from deciding what to take when traveling to checking in for your flight to getting to your destination to navigating to your accommodation plus find the best guides.

There are a lot of steps in the process and there’s a lot of research to be done. The biggest thing you can do is let all the work scare you away!

Just go through the process, one step at a time, and you’ll start to feel more comfortable. And if you’re wondering for International Medical Insurance I recommend Safety Wing.

Me standing in front of the sea in Iceland on a very cold day
Me on my first international solo trip to Iceland

Travel Advice: Set Realistic Expectations

For almost 6 years, I worked as a study abroad advisor assisting students all over the world. And it never failed that within the first couple of days upon arrival I would be contacted with an upset student that “everything was different.”

Honestly, I could tell you some good stories about that job….

I seriously had a student one time email me during her first week in London to say she wanted to go home because “everything was old.” Granted, she was going through culture shock and was feeling homesick but for real one of the reasons she didn’t like London was was because it was really old.

I wrote back to her saying, “well what were you expecting?” in the nicest way possible and pointed her towards our on-site support.

Two tourists in posing in front of Buckinham Palace
Me and my sister on visit to the really old city of London

It was because of this job I realized setting proper expectations of your international experience is half the battle.

The closer your expectations are to reality, the more you can actually enjoy the experience.

An easy start is to not expect food or drinks to taste the same. Even if it’s something you’re familiar with from home like a hamburger or pizza. Overseas it’s probably going taste a little different. And you’re going to be okay.

Me holding a famous belgian waffle topped with strawberries and chocolate
Getting a taste of my first Belgian Waffle in Brussels

Best Things for Travel: Be Open Minded

This is a big one! It’s so imperative that you are open to new experiences and how different cultures in different places do things. Everything from their transportation system to their cultural norms and customs.

Learn to be more of a sponge instead of trying to insert yourself and make everything else around you bend to your expectations.

The best thing you can do to be a successful traveler is be really flexible.

It’s understandable that as a new traveler you will default to things that are comfortable, but try to break yourself out of that every once in awhile and learn to go with the flow.

And you’ll find that when you stop resisting against everything around you things actually work out a lot better.

Wearing a traditional hombok dress at the Seoul palace
Me wearing a traditional Hombok dress to visit the palace in Seoul

Packing Tips for International Travel: Pack Light

During my travel the world for a year binge, I traveled with a suitcase and backpack. For more travel packing tips and tricks check out my post on Suitcase Packing using the KonMari Method.

My entire travel life in one photo that consists of my rolling suitcase, backpack and purse that I recently used the KonMari Method for packing on to tidy up

My personal rule is that I must be able to carry whatever I bring up & down at least 4 flights of stairs all by myself.

Here are some good luggage essentials for traveling light.

I can’t stress how handy traveling light really is but you’ll thank yourself when you are traveling some place that only has stairs (like really narrow winding staircases in Europe) or you’re up and down train/metro platforms.

The more nimble you can be with your luggage the better your experience of the physical act of traveling will be.

This advice comes not only from personal experience and struggles but also from years of watching people struggling to carry their luggage around. It is both hilarious to watch and completely unnecessary.

A stunning view of the landscape of a lake, rolling green hills and snow capped mountains as the plane arrives into Queenstown, NZ
Flying into Queenstown, New Zealand

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