10 Best Lessons Traveling Taught Me | Inspiration Indulgence

In my short 22 years of life, I have been very blessed to see some incredible places. I have traveled to over half of the U.S. States and plan on getting them all before I have children. I have swam in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and my feet have touched land over 14,000 feet in the air at Mount Evans in Colorado. I have had walked the streets of downtown in L.A, Chicago, Nashville, Denver, and St. Louis. I have helped a community in Jamaica. This is only the beginning. This May, I will be going to New York City for the first time, which has always been a dream of mine. At the end of this summer, I will be driving out east in the U.S., where I have not yet been.

Being a young traveler requires a lot of trial and error. Every trip and excursion is a journey in itself with the planning, saving, and the actual traveling. I have learned some valuable lessons along the way and am sharing them with you today. My hope is that I will inspire the other young travelers out there to get out and SEE THE WORLD. Here are the 10 best lessons I have learned along the way.

1.) Traveling is not just for the “rich”

First of all before we dive into anything else, I want to address this myth. If you think I am by any means rich, you are in for a lesson, my friend. The truth is, I’m pretty poor. I have been a student my whole life. I just graduated with my BA and am starting grad school shortly. Right now, I make $10 as a nanny. Yup, that’s right. 10 bucks. And on top of that, I have a car payment, car insurance, a cell phone bill, and other bills. And still, I am paying about $900 with total costs to go to NYC next month. How can I afford it? I make traveling a priority and budget wisely. With each paycheck, I set aside money. I’ve been setting aside $80 with each paycheck for the past few months. It adds up quickly. Am I able to go to the mall every month and buy a new wardrobe? No. It’s all about choices. Is traveling worth it for you? It is for me.

2.) Don’t “wing it”…plan wisely

I have to hand it to my boyfriend. I am incredibly lucky because he is an expert at planning and shares the same passion as me. Although he is our “navigator” when we go on trips, I still have learned a lot from him along the way. One of the biggest lessons we learned together was not to just “wing” a trip. Our first road trip we took together was to Nashville, Tennessee two years ago. We thought the trip would be more fun if we just made it up as we went along. We booked our hotel ahead of time, but that’s about it. When we got to Nashville, we spent about 90% of our time asking each other, “What do you want to do?” and laying on the hotel bed looking up things to do. Another dumb thing we did was go on this trip 3 weeks before I turned 21. I couldn’t even get into any Nashville bars…and Nashville is famous for its historic downtown. I’m glad we went because it was a learning experience, but still, I would definitely recommend being a smarter planner.

3.) Find things to do that don’t cost money

10 Best Lessons Traveling Taught Me | Inspiration Indulgence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of things we have done on our trips haven’t cost a dime. These usually end up being the best vacations, too. Take advantage of the natural beauty that this world has to offer. Spend a day at the beach. Drive up the Rockies. If you are already paying for a place to stay and transportation, it is always nice to find things to do that don’t cost money. This post gives some other great tips about saving money while you are traveling.

4.) Go cheap on the hotels…but not too cheap

When you are traveling, chances are that you will not spend much time on your hotel. That being said, you don’t need to splurge on a fancy schmancy place. Most of our trips we are gone the whole day anyways and only use our hotel to sleep and shower in. However, make sure you are still being safe and fork out enough money to not be in a totally sketchy location. When we stayed in Colorado, we found a deal where we could spend 4 nights for about $40 a night. It ended up being the sketchiest and scariest place I ever stayed in. Luckily, we brought sleeping bags and slept in those instead of using our bed sheets. We had to check on our vehicle every few hours to make sure nobody broke in it. Don’t totally abandon your safety for a good deal. You don’t have to stay in a 5-star, but make sure you feel safe. It’s always a good idea to check the reviews and see what other people have to say about the place before you choose to book it.

5.) Check out packaged deals

It’s much cheaper to get a packaged trip deal than solely to go through airlines and hotels separately. Expedia has been a lifesaver. We have found some of the cheapest hotel and flight packages through this website. Tripadvisor is great also, but we have found more success through Expedia. An example of a deal we have gotten: When we go to New York City in May, we found a package for 4 nights hotel in Times Square (prime location!) and round-trip included for $585 a person. Not bad at all!!! Finding deals like this makes it affordable to go on trips.

6.) Go out of your comfort zone

10 Best Lessons Traveling Taught Me | Inspiration Indulgence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you love big cities, don’t just visit big cities. Get out there and see the Grand Canyon. See the mountains. See something different and go out of your comfort zone. What was the greatest thing I ever did out of my comfort zone? When we traveled to Colorado, we drove up Mount Evans, which is the highest paved road in North America. I was sitting in the passenger seat while Trevor was driving, and we slowly inched up the mountain. My death was literally three feet on the other side of the vehicle. It was the most nerve-wracking and amazing experience. I’m glad I did it. It was an awesome memory that I will never forget.

7.) Keep a travel journal

This is something I wish I would have done. I only wrote in a journal when I went on a mission trip to Jamaica because our group leader told us too. I have documented all of my trips with wonderful pictures, but I wish I would have written my thoughts about my trip. My advice to you: Keep a traveling journal. Buy one with enough pages where it will last year for years. Bring it with you to every trip, even if you’re only road tripping to the next state. Write down what you saw, what you ate, and your feelings. How COOL would that be if the same journal went all around the country with you?!

8.) Be a smart packer

This is one that took A LOT of trial and error. I’m about to cram a lot of useful information into this bit, so listen up! First of all, roll your clothes instead of folding them in your suitcase. Secondly, always bring along plastic grocery bags for dirty clothes and wet bathing suits. Also store your liquid makeup, lotion, shampoo and conditioner in a plastic bag as well. I can’t tell you how many times my lotion bottle opened and my clothes were greased with product…not fun. Thirdly, pack necklaces in empty pill bottles and phone chargers in old glasses cases. Trust me- you don’t want a huge, tangled up mess inside that suitcase. I also like to put my shoes in plastic shower caps so they don’t get the rest of my clothes dirty. Lastly, keep essentials in your carry-on bag. Luckily, I have never lost my luggage (yet!) but I have been told to keep a pair of underwear, clothes and absolute essentials in your carry on JUST IN CASE the unforgiveable happens.

9.) Invest in a decent camera

Again, this is something that I haven’t done yet; just a hard lesson learned. (Refer to lesson #1 where I explain how I’m poor). BUT, I WILL purchase a decent camera THIS YEAR!! My iPhone just isn’t cutting it for pictures anymore. If you are deeply in love with traveling, then you know the importance of capturing your memories. Invest in a camera and take some amazing pictures along. The quality of your images will be well worth the cost.

10.) Be smart about dining out

Dining out will get ya. Sure, you should plan on spending money on decent meals. But you don’t have to go out to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most of the time on our trips, we buy a cheap breakfast, skip lunch, and splurge on dinner. I have found that my money goes the quickest on food. Bring more money than you plan on for your food budget, and plan on which meals you will eat out. Also, it’s not a bad idea to go grocery shopping when you get to your destination. Packing some apples, granola bars, and PB & J sandwiches can go a long ways to save money.

Would you have any other tips to recommend? Follow my travels on Instagram! Happy travels!

Xoxo,

  • Great tips! Being from Colorado, it’s easy to find those places haha I always look up reviews on hotels.

    • Thanks so much for reading, Alisha! I’m jealous you live in Colorado!

  • Have you ever been to Oregon?

    • Not yet..but next summer we plan on getting the rest of the West Coast! So hopefully I will by the end of next summer :) It looks beautiful over there.

  • rzaidi01

    These are some great tips! I love how you mentioned that if you make travel a priority and budget wisely it can work out. I haven’t had the opportunity to travel much (being a student and with little available spending money) and I have a whole list of places I want to travel to. I guess another tip I would mention, more like an idea is to make a travel vision board. Get a nice board and cut out pictures of all the places you want to visit. Keep it somewhere you can see it everyday, either your room, kitchen etc.

    • Thanks so much for reading! :) That is a wonderful idea! I think it is SO important to have goals and a unique vision of where we want to go. Because honestly, without that vision, we wouldn’t be as motivated. I have a goal to make it to all 50 states before I have kids..may have to delay having children for awhile lol

  • Hey Chelsea! Just popped over from FB and this post is exactly what I needed to find. Booked a spontaneous trip to Scotland for the end of August and will use this tips in my planning!

    • Hey Robin! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! OMG that’s SOOOOOOO awesome! Good for you! I love my fellow travel lovers. Where do you live right now? I would LOVE to go to Europe some day..big dream of mine!! P.S. I found SO much good packing and travel tips on Pinterest!

  • I love to travel and these are great tips!! I love to search for deals on hotels and flights, and look for fun and free things to do in the city!!

    • Thanks so much for reading, Amanda! I’m glad you share my passion of traveling :)

  • Outstanding travel tips. Its great how you simply the process of traveling, and make it manageable for anyone to try. I travelled a lot during my early twenties, so reading your tips and experiences brought back a lot of memories. In fact, I think you may have inspired me to travel some more.

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Ethan! I’m glad that I may have inspired you to keep traveling. Where did you all travel to in your 20s? I would love to hear.

      • I’m from England, and a fan of film. So when I was 19 years old, I travelled to LA. I then spent the year traveling around California. Then a few years later, I travelled around Canada for another year.

      • Wow! Good for you and super awesome! Going to England is on my bucket list. It WILL happen someday- soon hopefully!!!!

  • Great overview of tips on traveling-and I love that this is a habit you’re getting into in your early 20s! You’ll only get better and more adventurous as the years go by. :) I’d add that Groupon is a great resource for finding deals on hotels-we found a great rate for a hotel near Times Square through Groupon!

    • Thanks so much for reading! And thank you for the advice- I’ve never used Groupon before!

  • Thank you for the tips for traveling! I’ll take all of these tips into account when I travel around the world next :)

    • Awesome! Thanks so much, glad you could find some of them useful!!

  • I keep seeing people talk about travel journals. I’ve never thought to do one, but after looking into it I think it is a brilliant idea! I’ve been holding off on getting a great camera. I hate caring things around when traveling, but I think I’m going to break down and buy one.

    • See I’m the opposite…I cannot travel without my camera!! I am obsessed with taking pictures.

  • I read this post a while back and loved it and forgot to like it!. I’m getting close to the end of my travels and I read it again – still love it! great tips, great page!! :)

    • Aw thanks so much! Glad you found it useful!

  • aridarlin

    I absolutely love this post! I’m an avid traveler myself and yes, I also believe that traveling is necessary in life :) And unfortunately, my family and I are the type to wing trips and it NEVER works out! haha but I agree, put time and money into what you enjoy and what you think its worth!

    • Chelsea

      Thanks so much for reading! Hehe awww I bet your trips have been worthwhile and fun! Agreed, traveling makes my heart so happy :)