Answering Your Latest Travel Questions
I’ve been getting a lot of questions from my readers lately, and since I’m sure that some of you have the same questions, I’d love to share the answers with you!
All questions have been paraphrased; some have been slightly modified.
Here we go:
I’m going to Paris and it’s my first time traveling by myself. I’m nervous because everyone says the people are rude. Do you have any tips for me?
RELAX! Paris is a fantastic city for first-time solo female travelers. You will have a FABULOUS time.
The truth is that most Parisians are warm and welcoming. At the same time, though, the stereotypes didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. Here are some tips:
1) Learn as much French as you can. Most of the time, Parisians are rude because people come up to them speaking English. Get a free “learn French” podcast and learn a few phrases (basic greetings and common words, numbers and a few restaurant expressions like Je voudrais should be enough) and they’ll appreciate that.
2) Say, “Bonjour, Monsieur!” or “Bonjour, Madame!” whenever you enter a store. That’s standard manners in France.
3) Dress neatly. You don’t have to wear designer clothing — just take it up a few steps from shorts, t-shirts and sneakers.
I just started a travel blog! Do you have any suggestions for me?
You bet. If you are serious about your blog, hope to make any money off your blog, or intend for more people than just your friends to read your blog, go self-hosted with WordPress.org. I use BlueHost and I’m a very big fan of their hosting. They also make it easy with one-click WordPress installation.
Beyond that, write what you know. Don’t try to sound like any other blogger you know. Just start telling stories about your travels and you’ll find your voice.
I read that you make your money online. Do you have any suggestions? I’ll be traveling for six months and it would be nice not to go completely broke.
Yes, I now make my entire income online, but it is the result of several years of hard work, careful study, self-promotion, constant networking, and reputation-building. I spend much more time working than actively traveling. This is not for the faint-hearted — you have to love what you do, and luckily, I can’t get enough of (most aspects of) it.
If you want to make money online, you definitely can. But if it were easy and instant, everyone would be doing it.
Any tips for making money online?
For beginners, here is my advice: Learn how to build sites with WordPress (nothing fancy). Learn SEO. Learn affiliate marketing. That’s a great way to get started.
In terms of making money on your travel blog, 98% of my blog advertising is from people who approached me. I never bought a guide or anything — I just did it by instinct.
Build a great blog and the advertisers will come to you. This is an investment — don’t expect anything within the first year.
How do you meet people while traveling?
Hostels are a great place to meet fellow backpackers! I always choose dorms over private rooms so I can meet more people. I met most of my close friends from Asia in various hostel bars — primarily Hanoi Backpackers in Hanoi and Monkey Republic in Sihanoukville!
Beyond that, various day tours and group excursions (like canyon jumping in Switzerland, free city tours in Buenos Aires, or the Nha Trang party cruise) are another nice way to meet people.
You can also try Couchsurfing — it’s far more than just lodging! I usually use Couchsurfing just to find people in town to hang out with.
For me personally, the travel blogging community was another great place — I ended up hanging out with around 25 different travel bloggers over the course of six months!
I have two weeks to see Southeast Asia and want to see it all! Is that enough time for Thailand, Cambodia, and possibly Vietnam?
WHOA! Not even!
Travel in Southeast Asia is much slower than in the Western world. You need to account for that time. Plus, will you really be enjoying your trip if you’re running around like crazy the whole time?
If you’ve got two weeks, I would recommend spending the bulk of your time in Thailand with possibly a side trip to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Do you know any travel bloggers who have been to Costa Rica?
Yep! Check out The Globetrotter Girls. They’ve done a lot of great, comprehensive Costa Rica posts.
I am a 24 year old corporate, cubicle hating zombie…who has a passion for travel. I am thinking of getting my MBA in hopes to somehow getting an international business degree that will somehow change the world. However, I’m also thinking of hitching a flight to any destination and actually enjoying my life. What should I do?
If you have your dream job lined up to start the moment you graduate, that’s still around two years from now. Assuming you start grad school TOMORROW, that is.
Honestly, if you were driven to get this degree and have this career, I’d tell you to go for it. But you don’t sound that enthusiastic.
My advice: go travel now. I know it’s hard when you don’t have much money, but after a few months of diligent saving, you should be able to afford a decent trip through Central or South America or Southeast Asia. If you plan to Couchsurf, you can go even longer (and use your savings for pricier destinations, like Canaries holidays or other luxury beach escapes).
Long-term travel will transform you. After some lengthy travel, you might decide that you’d rather teach English abroad or get a working holiday visa somewhere than spend money and time on a degree that might not pan out for years.