25 Things I Learned the Hard Way While Traveling

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One thing is true about travel — we learn a lot of lessons along the way. And many of those lessons are the result of making major mistakes on the road.

Not blogging errors. Not life errors. Just good old-fashioned travel errors.

I thought it might be nice to share them with you. 25 mistakes from 25 different countries. Just so the same things don’t happen to you.

China: Don’t fly through smaller Chinese cities.

Man, I thought I was so smart for getting that flight deal: just $400 from Dubai to Tokyo. It was on China Eastern Airlines and required stopovers in Kunming and Shanghai. But it was technically an all-the-way-through flight, so it wouldn’t be a big deal. Right?

Not so much. First of all, even if it is the same flight, you need to go through immigration, which in China is complicated if you’re using domestic flights for an international journey.

But the real trouble began when the flight from Kunming to Shanghai was canceled. The passengers were nearly revolting, yelling and banging the tables.

Had I been in Shanghai, or Beijing, or Hong Kong, I would have been able to find someone who could speak English and would reroute me quickly. In Kunming, a city almost the size of New York, almost nobody spoke a word of English and those who said they spoke English didn’t have much of a grasp of the language.

Getting rebooked onto a later flight to Shanghai took hours. I would show the English-speaking man my tickets to Shanghai and Tokyo, he would nod, walk away, and come back and do it all over again as if he had never seen them before. It was an utter nightmare.

When I finally arrived in Shanghai, an airline employee welcomed me in perfect British English. I nearly burst into tears in relief. I had to spend an overnight there, but the airport was filled with shockingly friendly and helpful employees.

I’m going to avoid flying through small Chinese cities for the rest of my days.

France: Always carry spare toilet paper in your purse.

Because if you don’t, that’s when your period will strike with a vengeance. Thank God you had some receipts in your purse.

Indonesia: Don’t stay in a hotel next door to a mosque.

Unless you like waking up at 4:30 every morning, that is.

Poland: Overpacking will bite you in the ass at the worst possible time.

I was only in Warsaw for one day, so I decided to stay by the train station. It was a brilliant idea, I thought — I wouldn’t have to walk too far and I could easily grab my 6:00 AM train to Berlin the next morning.

Until I realized that even though I was only a few blocks from the train station, there are no crosswalks in that part of Warsaw. There are underpasses instead. And no elevators or ramps. So you need to go down and up, down and up, down and up, down and up while holding your giant, heavy suitcase. Because this was a conference trip and I had overpacked a lot of my fancier duds.

After all those steep staircases, I was sweaty and exhausted. Then it got worse: I couldn’t find the guesthouse I had booked. I burst into tears, then looked across the street and saw the letters NOVOTEL.

I want to go to there.

Down one more flight. Up one more. The hotel was right there. And it wasn’t too expensive.

“Do you have any rooms available?” I asked politely at the front desk. I felt like a secret agent. I always book in advance; I had never said that phrase at a nice hotel in my life.

Argentina: Always use a purse that zips.

It was my first solo trip ever, to Buenos Aires in 2008, and it was one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me while traveling. I used a big, open purse from H&M as I went to visit Recoleta Cemetery. It didn’t zip; it barely closed.

Of course my wallet was snatched.

And that wasn’t all. I wasn’t as cautious a traveler as I am now — so the wallet was filled with literally all the money and cards I had. All I had left was my passport. If a nearby couple hadn’t taken pity on me and given me a ride, I don’t know how I would have gotten back to the hostel.

It was 2008 and the internet wasn’t as widespread as it is now. But I was able to get American Express to wire money to a Western Union that would accept my passport as identification.

Looking back, I’m horrified that I went through an experience like that on my first solo trip. But at least it didn’t put me off solo travel forever. I had an ulterior motive for Buenos Aires — how I handled this trip would show me whether or not I should plan a long-term solo trip. I survived and thrived, and soon I was on my first long-term trip to Asia, all by myself.

Austria: People really like to be naked.

It was just after my first-ever travel blogging conference and my friends and I were chilling out in the hotel’s sauna after a swim in the pool. And then a middle-aged man walked into the sauna, stark naked, swaying in the breeze. “Grüß Gott!” he sang out.

Grüß Gott,” we murmured back. We quickly exchanged a glance. And without another word, we all got up in unison and left that poor man alone in the sauna.

Liechtenstein: If there’s an early morning knock, someone will be naked.

I kept hearing incessant knocking at my hotel in Vaduz, the diminutive capital of Liechtenstein. It was 6:00 AM. Eventually I got up and opened the door, only seeing a completely naked man knocking on another door.

He looked at me. I slammed the door.

Germany: Double-lock your door because YOU’LL be naked.

It was just after midnight in Nuremberg and I suddenly heard my door opening. “No!” I gasped as the door swung open and a befuddled thirty-something man walked in.

“Oh — sorry. They gave me this room,” he said.

“Get out!” I rasped.

I wasn’t naked. I was nearly naked. And some dude had caught a glimpse of me in my undies.

That’s the reason you’re supposed to double-lock your door.

Jordan: Your guide is not going to leave you in the desert.

My wonderful tour guide, Ibrahim, told me that one of his favorite things to do was just sit by himself in Wadi Rum and enjoy the solitude. It was his favorite place. “I want you to have this experience, too,” he told me.

They dropped me off. I tried to relax. And yet I couldn’t. Were they really not going to leave me?

I pretended to chill out while keeping an eye on the Jeep. Were they really not going to leave me?

I sat and pretended to meditate while keeping the Jeep in my peripheral vision. Were they really not going to leave me?

Of course they didn’t leave me. I ran back to the Jeep fairly quickly. But I really wish I had taken Ibrahim seriously and took the time to feel the desert around me.

Denmark: Late at night it will seem like a great idea to take a ride on a meat cart. It is not.

Well, it was fun for about ten seconds before I fell off and slammed straight into the curb.

Sri Lanka: Keep your debit cards in different places.

I travel with two debit cards, and I usually keep the spare hidden in my luggage. That’s smart. But Sri Lankan ATMs were weird and sometimes they wouldn’t accept my main debit card, so I started keeping them both in my wallet.

Then came the fateful train ride from Hikkaduwa to Colombo. It was bad enough getting my ass grabbed by one rando (though that was probably the fastest I’ve ever reacted — “Hey, motherfucker! Do not touch me. Do not touch me ever”). Then when it was time to get off, the crowd swelled so tightly I had to fight my way off the train.

My wallet was stolen in the fray. Along with both debit cards.

Once again, Amex saved the day. They let me withdraw money at ATMs with my credit card until I got home.

Costa Rica: High season doesn’t always mean good weather.

I had made the last flight out of JFK before they shut down the airport for the biggest snowstorm of the year. Yet somehow I thought Costa Rica would be sunny and warm. Nope! There’s a reason why they call it the rainforest!

It poured buckets the whole time I was in La Fortuna. Then it mostly misted throughout my time in Monteverde.

Finally, I broke through the clouds and landed on the beach in Guanacaste. The sun was out and glorious. Finally, I understood the Pura Vida everyone was talking about.

Sometimes, even when it’s supposed to be the sunniest time of year, you can have shit luck in the weather department. Just be ready for that.

Philippines: It’s neither funny nor entertaining to stay in a “love hotel.”

It was a cheap hotel in a central-seeming neighborhood, and it had decent reviews.

The mattress was covered with a rubber protector and there were no windows.

One guy checked in with two girls.

Yeah. Nope. Not my thing.

Maybe if it had been one of the cool fairy-tale themed ones in Korea or Japan. This one was just sleazy.

Colombia: Altitude will kick the crap out of you.

I hadn’t traveled much in altitude before I arrived in Colombia. And while people said that altitude can knock you sideways, I thought I was immune — I felt fine!

I was hiking through the Valle de Cocora and met some girls from Bogotá. As the three of us walked on, suddenly the ever-so-slightly uphill road felt like I was scaling Everest. My lungs burned; my legs ached.

“I’m fine,” I told them, trying to hang onto my pride.

“Are you sure? Do you want to keep going?”

“Yes! I’m fine!” I had to make it around the corner to the next viewpoint.

Finally, I gave up — I felt bad that I was slowing them down. Bogotá is at a much higher elevation. For them, this was a respite.

Yes, altitude can certainly hit you hard, even if you feel completely healthy otherwise.

Turkey: When getting a massage from a large-chested woman, face away from her boobs.

One of my most famous adventures was when I visited a hammam in Istanbul for the first time, was massaged by a lady with giant swinging breasts, and took one directly to the face. I’ll never forget the “Oop!” that came out her moth. You can read the whole thing here.

Portugal: Don’t stay in a hostel with only one toilet.

There were only two cheap hostels to choose from in Évora. I chose the one that looked slightly better.

It wasn’t a good choice. My intuition had been pinging like crazy since I had arrived. Something was off about this owner. I was concerned about the lack of lockers; the owner told me I had nothing to worry about because the other hostel guest was “from a good family.”

Then late at night, I was ready to go to bed…and the owner was in the one and only bathroom.

I waited downstairs. He kept using the bathroom.

I got out my Kindle. He was still in there.

Finally, he came out of the bathroom after half an hour, newspaper in hand. “Oh,” he said, seeing me there. “Yeah,” I replied.

Finland: Don’t bring beer into the sauna.

Sauna time in Finland is a sacred ritual. I first got to experience it at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, where my media status got me into a musicians’ party in the woods. First the women would sauna and skinny-dip in a warm lake underneath a pink midnight sky, then the men would have their turn.

I brought my beer into the sauna.

You’re not supposed to do that.

I wrapped a towel around me in the sauna.

You’re not supposed to do that, either.

The women were nice. They didn’t scold me or even point it out gently. But I knew as soon as I stepped inside that I had made a grave error.

England: When Brits say, “You all right?” They’re not asking if something’s wrong.

I’m embarrassed how long it took me to realize this.

“You all right?” is the equivalent of “How are you?” in Britain.

Even after six months of living in the UK, I was still saying, “Yeah, why?” to everyone who asked me that.

South Korea: If Koreans give you mayonnaise noodles, it’s for a reason.

There’s not much that I won’t eat, but mayonnaise is one of those things. With very rare exceptions, I can’t stomach the stuff.

Then while in Seoul, I sat down to a barbecue dinner of super-spicy octopus. I put it in my lettuce wrap with the garlic and vegetables and accoutrements, ignoring the evil mayonnaise noodles.

Soon I was writhing in pain from the spicy octopus. And I’m a girl who likes spicy food ordinarily.

I didn’t make the connection until later. Those noodles were there to cut the spiciness. If I had just eaten them like a normal person, I wouldn’t have made an emergency 7-11 run for an ice cream sandwich and a yogurt.

Spain: Even meaningless Tinder travel dates can be duds.

It was supposed to be the Summer of Kate. A summer of rocking out all over Europe, going wherever the wind blew me, wearing cute dresses, and dancing all night long. So when I landed in Barcelona, I decided to try and get a date on Tinder. It didn’t take long. I found a nice Venezuelan guy.

It wouldn’t matter if this guy wasn’t a good fit for me, I told myself. I’m only here for a few days! Not to mention staying in a dorm room…

I put on my cute turquoise-and-white dress and met the guy. And for the next two hours, we walked along the beach and he did not stop talking about himself the entire time.

God, I thought. I left my blogger friends for this?

Eventually I tried to make a casual exit. He instead put his arm around me. I pulled away, yelping, “No, I’m too shy!” “Well, you need to get over your shyness!” he replied. “That’s okay, I should go!” I said.

Not my finest moment.

Thailand: Monkeys are intelligent little fuckers.

Monkeys terrify me. When I went to the Monkey Forest in Bali, I painstakingly examined my backpack to make sure there were no residual Oreo crumbs. And it worked — none of them jumped on me. Perhaps they could smell my fear and gave me a break.

But then I got to Railay, a beach in Thailand with a not insignificant monkey population. I had watched Railay grow more environmentally impacted from 2010 to 2014 to 2015 and one thing I didn’t realize was that the monkeys got wiser.

I had bought chips and Oreos from the store and carried them in the white plastic bag the store gave me. Well, the monkeys saw that white plastic bag and KNEW something delicious was inside. One ran up to me and grabbed the bag. I shrieked and let it go. He climbed to the top of the tree WITH my chips AND Oreos and proceeded to eat them all, mocking me from above.

Little fucker.

Norway: That burger and coffee will cost you $29.

Granted, it was a reindeer burger and a cappuccino — but reindeer is like the beef of Norway! It’s everywhere! It’s abundant! It should not cost $24! No wonder Norwegians go to Stockholm and booze it up like a backpacker in Cambodia. Stockholm is Norway’s Phnom Penh.

South Africa: When people say it’s a short walk, estimate that it will be three times longer.

When the hostel guys invite you to come walk back along the beach with them, you and your friend agree. It should only be twenty minutes. And yes, you’ve just consumed two beers at the nearby brewery, but you can hold your bladder for that long.

Well. That’s how you end up in the brush, holding onto a hanging tree branch and peeing in the dark, terrified that a creature will sneak up behind you and bite you on the ass.

It was 50 minutes into a 20-minute walk.

Bulgaria: Don’t take the train to save money if it’s much worse than the bus.

I had a Eurail pass with just one train ride left on it, and I needed to get from Veliko Tarnovo to Bucharest by the end of the day. It was July. The countryside was baking with heat. I decided to take the train instead of the bus, even though the locals told me the bus was faster. Why not? It was “free”!

That train was one of the worst travel experiences of my life. It was at least 110 degrees inside (43 C). The bathroom was putrid. The seats were uncomfortable and the air wasn’t moving. I burst into tears and sobbed for an hour, ending up in a ball of sweat and tears and snot.

A thunderstorm hit a few hours in and I leaned out the window, letting the rain fall upon my skin.

The bus would have been so much better.

In Cambodia: You look stupid in hippie pants.

Seriously, Kate. You are going to look back and cringe.

What lessons did you learn the hard way while traveling?

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78 thoughts on “25 Things I Learned the Hard Way While Traveling”

  1. Kate these are great stories! I’m glad you didn’t stop traveling when you got your wallet stolen on your first trip. Everything always turns out okay!

    One lesson I learned on a camping trip was that a 35 degree sleeping bag with a 20 degree liner is not sufficient when the night temperature drops to 0!

    -Rachel @ Backcountry Petite

  2. The hippie pants don’t actually look that bad! (You have to own them, so I’m told.) I always find credit card stories interesting. CC companies get such a bad rap, but if used widely, they can be such a great deal in travel reward offers — not to mention the helpful ways most companies respond to lost/stolen cards. My Capital One has been awesome in that respect as well, and in a time when it seems impossible to get good customer service anywhere, it’s funny that some of the best for me has come from credit card companies.

    One big lesson I learned the hard way is that I’m really not a solo traveler. I like to share things with people, with the exception of dorm rooms, and I’m awkward at making friends with strangers. Though I guess going solo was really the *only* way to learn that! I also got stranded at the Costa Rica/Nicaragua border once, which was kind of frightening, but fortunately I was with people who were able to talk us through.

    1. I remember that border crossing…it would be mild to call it “hairy.”

      But that’s wonderful — sometimes you have to do something you don’t like in order to improve your future travels. After my recent time in Chisinau, I’m pretty sure that even a private room in a hostel might not be enough for me anymore.

  3. I laughed a lot, so funny stories and so helpful, I am planning a long trip over Europe so this article was great to me, great stories, really. Your date with that Venezuelan guy in Barcelona reminded me one of mine with another Venezuelan, too, but in my case everything went okay, better than okay I should say…he is my husband now! So don’t give up on Tinder, girl! hahaa Thanks for all thos amazing stories and tips I will use them wisely 🙂

  4. Hehe, I had the same experience in Monteverde like 2 weeks ago :-D. Thank got I cought the first morning bus from Tilaran at 4 AM because I managed to walk through Monteverde before it started pouring at 2 PM. After that I decided to skip La Fortuna and Volcan Arenal and went to Puerto Viejo on the south border where the weather was still acceptable… I mean for the beginning of wet season ;-).

  5. When you are traveling, especially out of your home country, always let your credit/debit card companies know you’re going. Otherwise, you will end up making multiple calls to your card companies when you arrive (utterly exhausted) at your hotel because your cards are declined and locked and have a security alert on them. And, grab some Euros at a local bank BEFORE you go to Europe. The fee is much cheaper at the bank than at the overseas ATM and you have cash on hand if you run into an emergency (like we did with the whole card fiasco).

    1. At this point, my bank knows how often I travel and I don’t have to tell them anymore — but you’re right, it’s always a smart idea to call them a few days before your trip!

      I did recently get a fraud notice for booking a flight on Ukrainian Airlines while home in the US, though. That very rarely happens, and if I hadn’t been in the US, I wouldn’t have received the text alert and I would have had no idea.

  6. Oh Kate, these are absolutely marvelous stories. As always! I’m so glad you’re able to see the lighter side of sometimes serious setbacks. 🙂 Luckily none of these incidents have convinced you to stop traveling and now you’ve got some hilarious lessons to share as well! I’ll be sure to jot these down for future. 😉

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. I learned not to carry a purse that just hangs over your arm in Barcelona. Now when I travel I wear a jacket with zippable pockets and put my money, keys, and phone in the pockets! Otherwise I wear a cross body bag with a theft-preventing closure. I also keep my passport locked up at the hotel/hostel/airbnb separate from my other valuables so that if I get pickpocketed when I’m out, I still have my passport.

    I learned to download maps of areas I’m visiting on Google Maps and to star my hotel, the train station, and places I want to visit. Even if you don’t have wifi, you can still see yourself on the map in relation to your starred places!

    I also learned to ditch travel companions who are too cheap to stop at a cafe for a snack break or take the metro (if it’s a few dollars/pounds/euros to be more comfortable, it’s worth it!).

    1. You’re right about Barcelona. My wife’s purse strap was cut by a knife and then the purse was given to a bicycle rider that timed everything perfectly. This happens fast. NO PURSE that can be snatched in Barcelona because it WILL be snatched.

  8. Great article! Laughed so hard to some of them.
    Because I dislike monkeys too, I did not even go to Monkey Forest in Ubud (I had my fair share of monkey problems when I was chased by one in Chiang Rai LOL).

    And Indonesia and theirs mosques…many travellers forget it is muslim and when I was staying at the Gili Islands, I heard mosques in the morning too (yep there were even mosques on those litte islands!).x

  9. Yep, my collection of travel fails is similar – I’m still making them (albeit not as often) after 13 years of travel and will probably continue to do so. It’s part of travel

  10. I love these, and have some similar travel fails: don’t assume that your sense of professionalism or respect for monogamy crosses over to other cultures, because that hospital director who is married with kids *will* kidnap you for a date rather than just giving you a ride home as he initially offered; don’t assume that your credit card will work at the airport and get rid of all of your cash and have an empty checking account as you are trying to leave the country of Angola to move back to the US with 5 large bags that need to be checked and paid for; and no matter how many times you think you will get over it monkeys are still terrifying little jerks!!!

  11. I laughed out loud at your Buenos Aires story. I went to Chile and Argentina in 2008 for my second solo trip and had my wallet stolen in Santiago, three days into my trip. Luckily, I’d stayed with a Couchsurfer who rescued me from the police station where I’d gone to file a report.

    It ended up being one of my favorite trips, especially since I figured there was nothing left to lose!

  12. Loved this post. Even though I’m not a world traveler some of the tips apply to even local travel and I also enjoyed your that you laughed at your mistakes and used them to help and encourage others. Your stories are awesome and make me want to read through every one.

  13. This is a great list. I think the most important lesson is to be able to look back and learn from your mistakes. And a healthy sense of humor is essential!!

  14. Hi Kate!
    Great reading and gorgeous pix as always.
    Your stories reminded me of several I’ve experienced. I love it when trauma or drama on the road eventually fades to be replaced by super travel stories to share. Thanks so much for sharing as it reminded me of my “caught butt naked” story.
    I learned that the theme in the majority of travel reviews on Tripadviser should be heeded. I ignored one and booked this hotel in northern Vietnam. Someone was pounding on my door and, as I was in the shower I shouted to let them know the room was occupied. The banging continued so I stepped out of the shower to hear the lock being turned. I froze, still dripping water then with the invasion,
    grabbed a thin towel, really too small to effectively cover me…ok so this was a cheap hotel!. The man marched in, ignoring me and made a direct line to the fridge. He checked its contents then locked the fridge and left.
    I was left bemused as I processed the surreal few moments. Clearly privacy or bad reviews don’t matter when someone might steal a coke!
    A Trip reviewer had written about a hotel employee entering her room uninvited but I was sure the hotel would’ve changed their procedure.

    I’m not as succinct as you Kate.

  15. Ha! Your toilet paper comment for France made me laugh.

    Reminds me of a famous Tallulah Bankhead story where she sits down in a restroom stall and realizes there is no toilet paper. She knocks on the wall to get the attention of the woman in the opposite stall and asks, “Do you have any toilet paper?”

    When the woman responds in the negative Tallulah pauses and then asks, “Well, do you have two fives for a ten?”

  16. Yeah I learned about altitude sickness the hard way too back in 2014. A year in advance I had booked a camping trip in the Pryor Mountains in southern Montana with a guide to see a herd of wild horses I had learned about through a blog I follow. The guide was great, the people in my camping trip were great, seeing the wild horses in person was exhilarating, the trip of a lifetime. However, the second day after our first night on the mountain (at over 8000 feet which is when altitude sickness typically kicks in) I woke up with what seemed like the world’s most awful hangover, only I hadn’t consumed any alcohol. The mountain was spinning around me, I was so dizzy and it took so much effort to walk in a straight line, I felt so nauseous and I had other symptoms I will not share that involved BMs. You get the picture. I was too weak to go on the morning hike so my guide reluctantly left me at the camp site. As I lay there in my tent, it slowly dawned on me that it had to be altitude sickness. I had never camped at 8000 feet before or slept at that altitude. I was so frustrated and when my guide suggested getting me down the mountain to help alleviate the symptoms because I could barely stand, I started crying. I managed to pull it together and consumed a TON of water (I was probably partially dehydrated as well) which meant I had to get up every 5 minutes to go pee in the woods! However it did the trick and my altitude sickness abated somewhat and I was able to enjoy the rest of my trip. Makes me nervous though for trips to mountainous areas like Machu Picchu. I will have to take some precautions. Altitude sickness is no joke.

  17. This was such a joy to read! Written so well and a fan post to read this morning!
    We wr for, England and didn’t realise that hey you alright is a weird thing to say, but actually now you’ve mentioned it!!!

  18. This made me laugh so much – particularly the “you alright?” – I never thought how this might appear to someone who’s not British! Thanks for sharing – I’ll try not to make the same mistakes… or at least not in those places!

  19. What an AMAZING post! It made me laugh, it made me feel sympathetic, it made me wonder if I have done similar grave errors in sauna visits (not Finland, though), and luckily, no cards or wallets stolen (yet, I hope it stays that way!). Also, could help but notice – you have been to quite a few places, what a list of countries and what a list of memories/events to share!

  20. So many great stories! I remember the monkeys in Ubud; they were literally craaaaazy! I watched one grab a guy’s sunglasses and taunt him with them. Another one sat on my head – yes, my HEAD, while eating a banana!

    The trip through small Chinese airports sounds so stressful/frustrating! I shall stick with the major cities if I ever fly through!

  21. I love reading about people’s travel stories! I’m glad your first bad experience with solo travel didn’t put you off. It’s funny that you’re afraid of moneys, because one of the things I want to do when my partner and I visit Thailand in October, is see the monkeys! Haha 😀 great post 🙂

  22. Well, at least you now have 25 spectacular travel stories to share! I have been fairly lucky in most of my travels. My most dire tales are just minor inconveniences.

  23. Oh dear. Your point about Austria and people being naked also applies to Germany, especially the former East. I went hiking two years ago in Rügen (an island on the Baltic Coast) and accidentally stumbled onto a cove full of nudists. Yeah, certainly one of the more awkward hikes I’ve taken…

  24. Oh gosh! You basically mentioned all the things I’m afraid of. Well I guess it’s true that the more you experience, the more you learn!

  25. Oh my, I can really relate to the struggles of high altitude and the associated sickness in Colombia! I seemed to be the only person in my hostel really struggling in Bogota but I was pretty much flat on my back for 2 days! My hostel owner was lovely enough to make me some coca tea but even then my head was constantly spinning until I adjusted. No idea if I would be able to cope anywhere in Peru or Bolivia!

    1. You know, I actually never tried coca tea while in Colombia! Wonder if I missed out. Sounds like you had it much worse than I did. I started in Cartagena, at sea level, and gradually moved up higher in altitude. That may have made a difference.

  26. So many different experiences! I lost my new wallet with all the cards in it in Srilanka, and I learnt the same lesson as yours that day! It’s unfortunate that sometimes we’ll only learn lessons the hard way!

  27. These are hysterical! You just made me realize why everyone kept asking me if I am alright in England. i was just there earlier this week and was staying with friends. They kept asking me if I was alright so I would give a long answer since my phone had just died and I was internally freaking out so I would explain how stressed I am and that I need to figure out how to get a new phone. That explains the weird looks I kept getting. Next time I will just say I’m good. haha

  28. Normally people drink beer in sauna in Finland, only in public ones you are not allowed to do that. 🙂

  29. I learned to keep a tight grip on my things in Thailand. You’re right in that the monkeys are clever little thieves. I never got anything stolen from me, but I did see them take a girl’s smoothie and bag of chips.

  30. My God! This post is so exciting to read. I loved this post, and love your writing style too. Many precious lessons here.

    I’ve never thought that in Austria, people really like to be naked 😀

    Keep up the good work.

  31. Altitude definitely got me the most out of everything on this list. When I was in South America it literally kicked me on my ass. I thought I’d just adjust but even after a month of being above 2000m I was still almost passing out from doing something as simple as walking up two flights of stairs. It feels absolutely amazing when you get back to sea level- thought I was the fittest person in the whole world!

  32. OMG, great post. I am laughing so hard. Reading this post reminded me of something that happened to me here in the states. We had been traveling with our dogs for 17-18 hours the day/night before and crashed at the hotel. Well early the next morning I took our dogs for a walk to do their business and forgot my key. In my sleep deprived state I went to the wrong room and knocked on the door. You can imagine my surprise when a naked man answered the door and it wasn’t my husband, lol. It’s like, “oops, sorry wrong room” Needless to say I wasn’t the person he was expecting, lol. Awe, fond memories, Thanks for the memories and the laughs.

  33. Hello Kate. The post was very fun to read and your long journey seems to be very exciting. I am actually based in Barcelona and I am very sad to hear what happened to you. Hope all ended well. Some times the city is tricky but i Believe still very cool place to travel. I am going soon to Thailand, I ll watch out the Monkeys. ahahha

  34. Nice list! I really enjoyed reading it. I will be going to Costa Rica soon during rain season so I am expecting loads of rain, but good to know that might have been the case during the high season as well 😀

  35. This is so true, I’ve been traveling since 2010 and probably made just as many mistakes as I’ve had great experiences. Do you not find though, the mistakes you make at the time are the worst thing in the world and you kick your self for making them however looking back those mistakes actually made your trip more worthwhile as you learnt and grew from them?

  36. This blog was great! I’ve been pretty lucky and haven’t had any of my things stolen (except my headlamp in Prague) but when I traveled Europe I only gave my bank a list of like 20 countries. I ended up going to a few more … without thinking to tell them. Next thing I know I’ve made an impromptu trip to Romania, I get off my train and it’s pouring down rain – the ATM inhales my card – eats it, and doesn’t vomit it out! I didn’t have ANY RON yet, no accommodation, and my only means for picking up WIFI was dead. Needless to say panic struck! It’s a good thing we don’t stop traveling when terrible things happen … they make for the greatest stories!

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