Everyone keeps saying how important it is to travel, but why? Why do people fall in love with terminal gates, passports, and long flights?
The truth is, you don’t have to stay in a deluxe suite or eat at the fanciest restaurant in the world to enjoy traveling. In fact, any seasoned traveler can tell you that traveling is more than stepping on a plane. It’s inviting yourself into a distinctive lifestyle, a diverse culture, and story that is not your own. Traveling fosters a sort of medium to building valuable human connections all around the world. We have the opportunity to learn about one another, the foods we eat, the traditions we participate in, the music we enjoy, and how people live their day to day lives in other parts of the world.
In fact, many would agree that experiencing the world through travel can change a person from the inside out. As we eagerly await a reality in which COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted and we can scratch the travel bug itch once again, we asked these 16 travel experts to reminisce on their experiences and the biggest lessons they learned out in the world, things they wish everyone knew about traveling, and tips to inspire your next big adventure.
So, if you are planning your next trip, are looking to become a full time traveler yourself, or just need a vacation after this year, we recommend heeding the advice from these experts before you take to the skies.
1) Nomadic Boys
If you are not familiar with Stefan and Sebastien from the Nomadic Boys, then you are in for quite the inspiring read! Stefan and Sebastien are a French/Greek gay couple from London inspiring people around the world to quit their day jobs and follow their dreams. The couple works together to share their incredible adventures and the people they meet along the way.
Not only do they provide the best destination expertise, but they teach LGBTQ+ how to experience the world in a fun and safe way while connecting with the locals. “There is a local population in every country.” Stefan shared, “Whether or not a country has terrible LGBTQ laws or not, there will still be a local queer population. Russia is an excellent example. It gets such bad press (and for good reason!) in respects of its treatment of its LGBTQ community. But is the correct approach to boycott them? We have found that it is far more productive to get out there, be a positive symbol of the LGBTQ community, support local gay friendly businesses, and connect with the local LGBTQ community.”.
As you watch Stefan and Sebastien fall more in love with each other and the world through each of their adventures, you can’t help but feel inspired to pack your own suitcase and go experience it for yourself. But what exactly inspires such a passionate couple? Stefan answered, “In terms of inspiration, we love getting wanderlust from movies and historical fiction novels such as Conn Iggulden’s ‘Wolf of the Plain’ about the Genghis Khan dynasty – the inspiration behind our Trans Siberian Railway adventure into Russia and Mongolia”.
Daniel and Audrey from Uncornered Market are passionate world adventurers, tourism development professionals, storytellers, and everything in between. As you read their stories, you will find that they fall in love with everything around them, especially the street food. Their drive for personal development, sustainability, and travel has taken them all around the world including places like Antarctica, St. Maarten, Kosovo, Bangladesh, and Cambodia just to name a few. With such diverse travel experiences and years of expertise, Daniel and Audrey teach others the most valuable lesson that, “Travel is a privilege. Not a right.”.
When we asked the Uncornered Market couple what tips they have to inspire others to travel, Daniel answered us with this, “Know that happiness isn’t a place. And always manage your expectations.”.
3) Lose The Map
Joanna from Lose the Map takes a unique approach to travel. Rather than running around to every landmark and immediately snapping all of her beautiful photos, Joanna enjoys first enjoys getting into the local life and culture as much as possible. Not only does she share her incredible adventures, but she inspires readers with tips and tricks on how you too can fully immerse yourself in a new culture to experience your journey from a new perspective. From staying with locals, eating with locals, drinking with locals, and learning the basics in even tough languages, Joanna works to show respect and gratitude for the cultures, history, and people everywhere she goes. “The first day I get anywhere, I sit at a cafe or bar and just take it all in for a while. I find it helps me to observe how local people dress, interact, walk around, so I can follow their cultural norms as much as possible while I’m there and not draw too much negative attention to myself. It’s also just a chance to take in a destination’s environment and lifestyle before running around to see landmarks and take photos!”.
When we asked expert traveler Joanna what she wished everyone knew about traveling she responded with, “I wish people would think of solo travel less as a lonely thing to do, and more as an opportunity to truly immerse yourself in some part of the world and actually meet a lot of people, without the safety net of your friends or family around you to keep you separate from the destination you’re visiting.”.
Expert traveler, Johnny, from OneStep4ward, shares his years of expertise with readers all around the world and inspires others to dream big, travel far, and live full. Johnny has traveled to every country in the world, making his living off of his inspiring travel blog where he shares stories of his experiences and the people he’s met along the way. With a passion for exploration, Johnny now encourages others to ditch the 40+ hour work week and trade it in for a life of following their dreams and seeing the world. “It’s affordable for anyone. I left with $500. I’m still going 15 years later! Work, teach English, backpack. It’s possible for anyone.”. But don’t let COVID-19 hold you back either, Johnny teaches readers how to start a travel blog even in the midst of the wild events of 2020 and 2021.
With such diverse travel experience we had to know, what is one valuable lesson you learned during your travels? Johnny responded, “An appreciation for how lucky I am. If you’re living in a developed world, then you’re already so fortunate. So, try not to complain about what’s happening here, there are truly worthwhile fights and causes much more in need of our time and our money.”.
Alex from Lost with Purpose is an adventurous twenty-something year old who left behind everything she owned, a stable job, and her home country to travel the world and experience life from a new angle. Now, her life fits in just two backpacks as she gets lost around the world, meets incredible people, and experiences different cultures. But during her travels, there is one major thing she learned that she shared with us, “Though it might not seem like it, travel is a privilege afforded to very few people in this world. People need to realize that they’re not ENTITLED to travel anywhere—and that they need to make sure their travel privilege is used to support others, not harm them.”. So, before you book your next big trip, check out Alex’s blog on how you can travel sustainably and be prepared to respect any culture or people group you may find yourself in.
But aside from being a conscious traveler, Alex did have one final word of wisdom to pass along. “Don’t be afraid to walk out the door with absolutely no idea what you’ll do next. Wander around long enough, and something interesting will happen.”. After all, sometimes the best travel plans are no plans at all.
6) Coco Travels
Samantha from Coco Travels is a popular travel blogger and online influencer with a long list of places she’s been and places to still visit. With incredible travel tips, packing tips, hotel suggestions, and more, Samantha inspires her readers to get out there and experience the world for themselves, one adventure at a time. With 15 countries under her belt, Samantha comes with some insightful tips and tricks for others as they begin to take up the travel life. “I wish that people knew that it’s not always as glamorous or amazing as it looks on Instagram – sometimes people wake up at 4am to get those shots! You just see the highlights on social media, and you don’t tend to see what can go wrong.”.
Any tried and true traveler will tell you, when you travel it’s important to roll with the punches and go with the flow. Sometimes adjusting your perspective is all you need to see your experience from an entirely new angle. “Things tend to go wrong on my travels!” Samantha shared, “So, I’ve learned to take the rough with the smooth. I think I’ve become more resilient and learned that when things go wrong, it’s not always the end of the world but rather it helps to shape your experiences. No one will have had the same experience as you and you can take this through life as well as travel.”.
Marya from The Beau Traveler, is not your average travel blog. While Marya comes with extensive travel experience, she claims she loves staying home as much as she loves wandering the world. Her blog strays away from the typical travel tips and tricks, and leans more into personal stories, experiences, and hidden gems she finds during her travels. She provides her readers with real insight and a fresh perspective on traveling the world, and how to respect the culture of the countries you visit. One thing Marya wishes everyone knew about traveling is that it’s important to get familiar with your destination before you go. “Familiarize yourself with your destination. Always respect the local culture and learn something about your point of destination. Don’t be that ignorant traveler who only goes to a place just because everyone does!”.
But for those looking to get into the serious travel business, Marya had some great insight. “Protect yourself with a travel insurance, especially if you’re planning to travel for a long term. Also, make sure to have your embassy’s number with you. It will come handy in case you face something emergency.”.
Chris from The Amateur Traveler, is anything but amateur. Having visited countries in all parts of the world, Chris now runs a blog and podcast dedicated to telling his travel stories and teaching other amateur travelers the basics of getting started traveling. Chris shares incredible tips and tricks with his readers and listeners and teaches them how to break through cultural barriers to connect with others around the world. “People generally appreciate it when you make an effort to learn the local language.” Chris shares, “I remember lighting up a room with smiles in Tanzania when I introduced myself with my few words of Swahili. I remember the restaurant owner in Milan who treated us like family after I spoke my basic Italian all night.”.
When it comes to the perfect travel season, Chris had some great advice for us, “Most season travelers know that the shoulder season, late spring or early fall, can be the best time to go if you can. You will pay less, see fewer crowds, and enjoy your trip more.”.
Daphne and Tamara from Girls Wanderlust, are two travel addicts dedicated to using their combined experiences to share their stories and experiences with readers all around the world. Driven by their passion for traveling and photography, the two Dutch girls share tips from hotel recommendations to travel essentials, the best food options to unique experiences, and so much more.
Not only do they hope to encourage aspiring travelers around the world to pack their bags, but they also impart their knowledge and experiences for travel amateurs and experts alike. One reoccurring theme you will find on the Girls Wanderlust blog is the reminder to always appreciate different cultures. “Although we’re all people (equals), each country has its own culture: its own norms and values. During my travels I love to get to know more about the culture: discover the history, the cuisine etc. At the end, you’ll learn more about the world.”.
Expert traveler, Tanja, from The Red Phone Box Travels, is a down to earth travel blogger from a seaside town in Croatia. With a passion for travel, she took off for Italy for two weeks when she was attending university and never looked back. Now, she runs her travel blog and shares her stories of what travel has taught her, experiences she’s had along the way, and hot tips with her readers. She strives to inspire people to get out and explore, but most importantly to pursue your dreams. “Dreams do come true. If you have a dream, pursue it, it’ll come true. I’ve dreamt about London since I was a child and I made it happen, I went to London. And then again. And again. :)”.
But one thing Tanja teachers her readers is that you don’t have to travel with a large budget to enjoy your adventures. “Travel doesn’t have to be expensive to enjoy it. You can stay at a hostel or buy sandwiches for meals instead of paying a lot of money for accommodation and fine dining. The best way to see a city is on foot anyway. You’ll make memories that will last a lifetime, so, don’t spend too much money on things in your life, rather spend money on travel.”.
Vanessa Rivers and Becky van Dijk from We Are Travel Girls, are two friends who met in London in 2015 and instantly bonded over their love for travel. With expert travel experience and a desire to push for more of a travel community, the two decided to create the blog We Are Travel Girls as a platform for fellow female travelers to share their tips and tricks. As a result of this, We Are Travel Girls now connects women globally, sharing their travel stories, experiences, and empowering female travelers everywhere.
When we asked Vanessa what’s one valuable lesson she learned during her travels she responded, “To trust my gut instincts – every time I did things would go well and every time I didn’t I wished I would have. We all have a sixth sense or gut instincts that help protect us and steer us in the right direction. In everyday life we often ignore these but traveling heightens these feelings and reminds us how important it is to trust ourselves and our innate ability to just ‘know’ in many cases.”. As you will find in their blog community, both Vanessa and Becky encourage fellow travelers to always do your research about a new place before you visit, such as places to stay, activities, where to eat, and anything else you need to know before you pack your bags, and WeAreTravelGirls.com is an incredible resource for this.
12) Adventurous Kate
If you are not familiar with Kate from Adventurous Kate, then you are in for quite the splendid read! At age 26, Kate quit her job and pursued her dreams of traveling the world. So, she packed up her bags and headed out into the world solo. Now, 83 countries later, she has turned her blog into a full time gig where she teaches women how to travel the world safely and adventurously. She educates readers all over the world on the hottest places to stay, best places to eat, sights to see, and how to travel consciously into new cultures. “I wish people learned more about the politics, culture, or history before visiting. There is a certain type of traveler who fetishizes going in blind, but that can often result in causing harm to local communities.”.
But aside from her expert travel advice regarding safety and respect for other cultures, Kate also has some fun new perspectives to try out before your next big trip. “Read a book set in your destination and written by a local author! It’s a great way to add another dimension to your trip.”. As you start to get familiar with travel junky Kate, you will learn more about the world from a different angle as well as how to travel it safely as a female.
13) Planet Gravy
Mario and Nuno from Planet Gravy have been traveling the world full time together since 2016. With a limited budget and extensive planning, the two worked together to make their dream a reality. Now, they teach readers all over the world how to make the dream possible by providing savvy money saving tips, fee-free alternatives, encouragement and support, and so much more. But as you get involved in the Planet Gravy community, you will not only find incredible travel tips, but transparency, advice, and how to utilize your travels to make changes in your life. “This answer is more practical than inspiring but figure out the kind of traveler you are. What you like and don’t like. What are you ready to see or not see? Is the destination you picked your ideal destination, or an idea imposed by others (friends, media, Instagram)? Do your homework: learn about the customs and rules of the place you are going to.”
Aside from their extensive knowledge and years of travel experience, what advice did experts like Mario and Nuno want others to know? “That traveling is easy! And that getting to know the world is also the best way to get to know yourself.”.
14) The Jerny
The Jerny run by Jerny and Jane, was originally a couple blog used as a creative outlet for the adventurous pair. With years of travel expertise and passport stamps under their belts, Jerny and Jane now run a full time travel and inspiration blog dedicated to sharing travel guides, personal stories, incredible street food, and inspirations for any kind of traveler. “Enjoy traveling while it lasts. Having been traveled to many countries and areas locally, we can definitely say that cherishing the moment you spent on a place is far better than just leaving and feeling unfulfilled.”.
But just how exactly are Jerny and Jane teaching their readers to make the right lifestyle changes to pursue the dream of travel? “Traveling can be cheap and still be great. With proper planning and execution, a traveler need not spend so much when taking experience trips.”. With some of the most cutting-edge advice in the travel industry, thanks to The Jerny readers around the world are able to pack their bags and fill up passports of their own.
15) Good Travel
With the travel industry being one of the world’s largest industries, tourism is providing the opportunity for economic growth in communities around the world. Thanks to the $7.2 trillion generated annually in tourism, 1 in 11 people are able to become employed. But Good Travel recognizes that this is not always balanced. Founded in 2013, Good Travel focuses on sustainable travel and promoting a positive impact on the tourism industry. By bringing awareness to global issues, creating a platform for others to share their stories, and giving back to the local communities, economies, and environments, Good Travel is making big waves in the way we view tourism.
Caitie, from Good Travel, was kind enough to share her thoughts on sustainable travel. “Taking a holiday/vacation means you leave YOUR home but you go to someone else’s: it’s so important to treat every location like it’s someone’s home, not just a place to party or to leave your own worries behind!”. While it may seem like a temporary getaway, always treat any environment, culture, or country with respect as if it were your own. But that’s not all Caitie had for us. “I urge travelers to consider visiting places that are not on ‘top ten’ lists, and also to consider off-season adventures! There are so many places to explore and destinations that have incredible things to do and see that would greatly benefit from our tourism dollars!”
16) Pure Wander
Eileen from Pure Wander comes to years of extensive travel expertise, fun stories, and fresh ideas to help readers experience the world from a new perspective. Now, her and her team of fellow travelers work together to travel the world and pass along their first hand accounts to readers around the planet. As you become familiar with the Pure Wander blog not only will you find fun stories and clever writing, but you will also find transparency and inspiration as you plan your next trip. “Everything is temporary and witnessing the world’s beauty is a gift. As my travels have been non-existent for the first time in a decade this year, I appreciate all the adventures I’ve had even more. I’ve been very lucky to have wonderful opportunities, like hot air ballooning in Sri Lanka to skiing in Turkey, that I know are something to be cherished. I try to live in the moment because of traveling, whether I’m in some far-flung destination or just staying cozy at home.”.
With this kind of travel knowledge from a dedicated expert, we asked Eileen if she had any parting knowledge to inspire others. She responded, “Have big dreams, but also revel in the little moments. While I’d love to visit my favorites countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond next year, I’m focusing on my newborn baby girl and hoping for a safer world that allows for everyone to travel freely in the near future. Your travels may ebb and flow, so enjoy the smaller weekend road trips, backyard experience and local finds while you save and plan for the future.”.