Ever since I stepped off the plane in Rome, Italy when I was 18 years old I knew what I was meant to be doing.
Exploring the world.
Now I have been to over 20 countries and the number just keeps growing. When I first started traveling I had no idea what I was doing and thus made some rookie travel mistakes. My first mistake was trying to over do it.
I wanted to see it all so I didn’t focus my planning.
If you’re anything like me planning your trip is half the fun. Deciding where you will go, what you will be doing and where you will stay is an exhilarating feeling. Knowing in a short time you will be seeing all the things your reading so intently is, well, unbelievable. No matter how many times I plan a trip I still get excited. When I first started traveling I wanted to see everything at once.
One of the first trips I went on was to Paris, London and Amsterdam. 3 cities in 12 days. Sounds awesome. However once I got to each city I realized I wasn’t really learning enough about the countries by only seeing the one big city. In fact only visiting the major cities of each country is a really bad representation and doesn’t give you much of a feel for what makes each place so unique. Three days in a country is just enough time to wet your appetite. It really just leaves you wanting more.
I spent three days exploring Paris. I never made it outside. I really wanted to see Versailles and it’s spectacular gardens. Instead I had to rush off to Amsterdam. Which of course is a beautiful city but it just left me wanting more from France. What about the wine region? Or the South of France? Each place is unique and offers something different about the culture that makes up the country. Three days to discover a city is a good amount of time but not enough for the whole country. I recommend focusing your efforts on a specific country each time you venture abroad.
For me, it gets very stressful trying to jam everything I want to see and do into a short period of time. The longer I let myself have in each city makes me feel like I am really experiencing a country. Getting out of just the capitols and exploring other cities each region or country has is much better then just hitting popular tourist spots.
Now I pick three regions I want to visit and spend 3-4 days in each one.
Giving me enough time to leisurely experience all they have to offer. Settling into my room and my surroundings. Learning to local cuisine and finding the hot spots to hang out. I start to feel like I live in each place I stay, that I know the place, like it could be my own.
My advice for you is before you book a trip decide how much your time is worth and choose a country to dedicate it too.