Travel – by its very nature – is a learning process. If you’re not finding out new things either about yourself or the new places you visit, you’re not doing it right. Here are a few things we would have done differently on our last trip.
There’s nothing worse than coming home from a trip away than feeling full of regret. You should never do that.
For one, you’ll never be able to do everything you planned and accepting that plans can change or turn out to be bad ideas is one of the tough parts of the beauty of travel.
Secondly, if you come home and just start complaining, your friends will just think you’re an ungrateful dick.
That’s different to horror stories by the way; tell your friends. Everyone loves those stories!
Thankfully we’ve got very few horror stories from our latest trip to Europe. A dodgy AirBnB and a parking ticket are about all I’ve got. But here are a few things we would have done differently on our 2-month trip to the Continent I want to share with you.
Perhaps these things will help you with your next trip. Or perhaps they’re just things you can empathise with.
3 things we would have done differently last trip
1. More time
There aren’t many times when people don’t want longer on their holiday, so this one might sound a bit obvious. But even 2 months away this time wasn’t enough time to see everyone and everything we wanted to.
We’re lucky enough to have so many amazing friends in the UK and in mainland Europe. We managed to see a few of them, but not everyone. If you’re planning to catch up with lots of people across a whole continent, you either need an entire year or you need to be incredibly organised and on the road the entire time.
Our time in Puglia in Italy was amazing – you can find out more about that trip here. But there were still a few places we didn’t manage to see while we were there. The towns of Matera and Taranto especially will have to wait for our next visit.
2. Book discount flights earlier
Flying around Europe (and Asia too), there are so many low-cost flight companies that we’ve found you can really travel throughout the continent for very little.
However, the flights we booked – although they were cheaper than most domestic Australian flights – ticket prices were higher because we were booking last-minute.
If you can, book between 1-3 months ahead to really make your savings matter. If we’d known our itinerary better when we left Sydney, we’d have saved a lot more on our trip over all.
We’ve got some other great tips on using low-cost airlines; check them out here.
3. More planning
Again, this one might sound a little simplistic, but it’s definitely something our trip would have benefited from.
For a start, research has shown that people gain more pleasure from planning events like holidays, parties and weddings than the actual event. So the longer out you start planning, the more anticipation builds.
This doesn’t have to be on a strict, spreadsheet with everything to the minute planned, but a list of places you want to visit and when comes in really handy.
The other plus to planning is you’ll spend less time researching on the go. We travelled very much off the cuff this trip – to the point where we arrived in a town without really knowing where we’d be staying that night. It was exciting and fun, but you wouldn’t want to do that too much when you’re on the road.
As a side point, don’t try to be too regimented. Some of our all-time best travel experiences have happened without any planning, so maintaining flexibility when you travel is really important.
We’re incredibly lucky to have the most amazing friends and family scattered around the world. This trip to Europe wouldn’t have been possible without the support and generosity from the people we love.
Never underestimate the power of travel or the wealth you have in your friends. The two are so far from being mutually exclusive; your life will not be as full without either.
What would you have done differently on your last trip away? Do you have any advice to avoid travel regret? Tell us in the comments.