Here are a few travel tidbits I've learned on this RTW trip.  I'll keep adding to this page as I think of more.


1.  Pack as lightly as possible.  Most anything you forget or feel like you need more of can be purchased overseas for much less than you'd pay at home.
2.  Bring along something small and inexpensive from your country to give to new friends.  This could include postcards from your hometown (with your email or mailing address written on the back), or some country coins.  One of the girls I traveled with brought along balloons for the kiddos.  They were a riot in India.
3.  Buy travel insurance.  Travel Guard ( offers modestly priced, customized insurance options that can be comprehensive, if you so desire (e.g. medical, flight change, lost and stolen luggage, etc.).  Having travel insurance gave me peace of mind.
4.  Pack your Student ID.  A student ID (ISAC) gets you discounts all over the world.
5.  Pack a water bottle and/or a water filtration.  I bought a water filtration system and a Nalgene bottle at REI.  It's saved me a lot of money on bottled water.
6.  Don't buy a top loader backpack.  While I love my Osprey top loader, packing and repacking everyday is a pain.  I'd prefer a backpack that can zip open when you lie it on its side.
7.  Pack a Teva-like sandal.  The Teva has all the advantages of a flip-flop sandal (ample ventilation, not sweat inducing) yet it can be comfortably worn when walking miles through a new city.  
8.  Notify your bank.  Let your bank know exactly what countries you'll be traveling to.  That way, when your credit card is swiped at an ATM in Istanbul, it won't be shut off or assumed stolen.
9.  Make sure you know your credit card pin number.  I knew my debit card had a pin number, but not my credit card.  If you use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM, the machine will ask you for the pin number.
10.  Pack a day pack.  The day pack should be a bag that fits your camera, water bottle, and your cash purse.  Take the day pack with you when you're exploring a new city, and leave the backpack at your hostel.  If you can buy a day pack that can be secured with a lock while it´s on your back, all the better.  Mine just has a drawstring, however, so I often wear it on my front instead of on my back, or else I tie the drawstring into a knot.
12.  Pack earplugs.  Many people have sleep apnea and may keep you awake for hours with their snoring.  I'm just saying...
13.  Consider the weather.  I started my trip in February in India and moved north.  In March, I was in the Middle East.  In April, May and June, I was in Europe.  I felt like I got great weather everywhere I went.  Consider if I'd done the trip backwards and had been in India in April, May, and June?  That would have been brutal...


1. Journal every day.  It's amazing the details I've already forgotten from my travels that I remember again every time I reread my journal.
2.  Get lost sometimes.  I've learned so much more about the people, the culture, and the country just by walking around for hours until I was lost.  Sticking strictly to the tourist attractions is overrated.
3.  Read literature from the countries you're visiting.  I can't explain but there is something about reading native literature while in the country that makes the experience of reading and the experience of traveling more profound.  Afterwards, you understand both the literature and the country better.
4.  When you leave your hostel/hotel take along a business card with the address/phone number.  If you get lost, dig in your pocket and show the taxi driver or cycle rickshaw driver the business card and they'll take you to where you're staying.
5.  Eat where the locals are eating not where the tourists are eating.  It's cheaper.  It's more authentic and tasty.  Get a local to take you to his or her favorite dive.
6.  Buy meals from the farmers' markets or the grocery store.  Most major cities have a food market and there are grocery stores around every country.  A piece of bread, an avocado, and a tomato cost virtually nothing and make a filling meal.
7.  Don't underestimate non-verbal communication.  Even without being able to speak the local language, I've gotten along surprisingly well with hand gestures, map pointing, saying a single word as a question (e.g. toilet, internet, bus), and drawing pictures.  
8.  Talk in the local language when you can.  I don't speak Spanish, but when I'm in Spain I make an effort to say "gracias" instead of "thank you" and "buenos dias" instead of "good morning."  I've noticed that the locals respect you more when make an attempt to use their language, even when you know maybe 10 words of it.
9.  Take overnight transportation, if possible.  You'll save money on a hostel, see the countryside, and gain more sightseeing time at your follow-on destination. 
10.  See if the city has a Free Tour.  Most of the cities I've been to have one.  You don't pay any money upfront and, at the end, you decide how much (or little) to tip the guide.


1.  Reflect.  Travel promotes spiritual, emotional, and mental growth.  Take the time to savor it and to jot down lessons learned.
2.  Anticipate withdrawal symptom.  Coming home is an adjustment.  Life may not seem as raw and thrilling as it did on the road.  Be grateful.  Reconnect with friends and family.  Wait until you get back in the groove before planning that next big trip.

***  For more on Tips read these blogposts.