How to Travel: 21 Contrarian Rules

(Photo credit: Moyan Brenn)

This is a tactical post on travel from Ryan Holiday, who’s written on this blog before about the pragmatism of Stoicism and lessons learned as Director of Marketing for American Apparel.

To his 21 rules, I’ve added a few of my own tricks. Please share your own rules and tips in the comments!

Enter Ryan Holiday

Why are you traveling?

Because, you know, you don’t magically get a prize at the end of your life for having been to the most places. There is nothing inherently valuable in travel, no matter how hard the true believers try to convince us.

Seneca, the stoic philosopher, has a great line about the restlessness of those who seem compelled to travel. They go from resort to resort and climate to climate, he says, and continues:

“They make one journey after another and change spectacle for spectacle. As Lucretius says ‘Thus each man flees himself.’ But to what end if he does not escape himself? He pursues and dogs himself as his own most tedious companion. And so we must realize that our difficulty is not the fault of the places but of ourselves.”

It’s hard for me see anything to envy in most people who travel. Because deep down that is what they are doing. Fleeing themselves and the lives they’ve created. Or worse, they’re telling themselves that they’re after self-discovery, exploration or new perspectives when really they are running towards distraction and self-indulgence.

Is that why you’re packing up your things and hitting the road?

Not that I don’t travel myself–I did my fair share this year alone. Both coasts of Australia. I was in Amsterdam for a speaking gig (and I found myself at a tulip farm with Tim where he caught a chicken with his bare hands). I researched for my next book in Rome. I went down to Brazil. I went to Copenhagen. I spent enough time in New York that it felt like I lived there. I road tripped across the United States more times than I can count–New Orleans to New York; New York to Miami; Miami to Austin… The list goes on. If there was a chance to go somewhere I’d never been, I tried to take it, especially if it was historic.

But are you, as Emerson once put it, “bringing ruins to the ruins?”…

The purpose of travel, like all important experiences, is to improve yourself and your life. It’s just as likely–in some cases more likely–that you will do that closer to home and not further.

So what I think about when I travel is that “why.” (Some example “whys” for me: research, to unplug, a job or a paying gig, to show something that’s important to me to someone who is important to me, etc.) I don’t take it as self-evident that going to a given famous place is an accomplishment in and of itself. There are just as many fools living in Rome as there are at home.

And when you make this distinction, most of the other travel advice falls away. The penny pinching and the optimization, the trying to squeeze as many landmarks into a single day, all that becomes pointless and you focus on what matters.

I am saying that saving your money, plotting your time off work or school, diligently tracking your frequent flyer miles and taking a hostel tour of Europe or Asia on budget may be the wrong way to think about it.

In the vein of my somewhat controversial advice for young people, I thought I’d give some of my thoughts not just on traveling but on how to do it right.

My 21 Travel Rules and Criteria

1. Don’t check luggage. If you’re bringing that much stuff with you, you’re doing something wrong.

[TIM: I second this and encourage you to take things to extremes. Here’s exactly how I travel the world with 10 pounds or less.]

2. Instead of doing a TON of stuff. Pick one or two things, read all about those things and then actually spend time doing them. Research shows that you’ll enjoy an experience more if you’ve put effort and time into bringing it about. So I’d rather visit two or three sights that I’ve done my reading on and truly comprehend than I would seeing a ton of stuff that goes right in and out of my brain. (Oh, and never feel “obligated” to see the things everyone says you have to)

[TIM: Need some inspiration? Here are my highlight lists for Tokyo and Buenos Aires.]

3. Take long walks.

4. Stop living to relive. What are you taking all these pictures for? Oh, for the memories? Then just look at it and remember it. Experience the present moment. (Not that you can’t take photos but try to counteract the impulse to look at the world through your iPhone screen)

5. Read books, lots of books. You’re finally in a place where no one can interrupt you or call you into meetings and since half the television stations will be in another language…use it as a chance to do a lot of reading.

[TIM: I strongly suggest that non-fiction bigots (which I was for 15+ years) read or listen to some fiction to turn off their problem-solving minds. Try The Graveyard Book audiobook or Zorba the Greek.

6. Eat healthy. Enjoy the cuisine for sure, but you’ll enjoy the place less if you feel like a slob the whole time. (To put it another way, why are you eating pretzels on the airplane?)

[TIM: If you want to follow The Slow-Carb Diet, my default cuisine choices in airports are Thai and Mexican food. Also, keep a *small* bag of almonds in your bag to avoid digressions in emergencies.]

7. Try to avoid guidebooks, which are superficial at best and completely wrong at worst. I’ve had a lot more luck pulling up Wikipedia, and looking at the list of National (or World) Historical Register list for that city and swinging by a few of them. Better yet, I’ve found a lot cooler stuff in non-fiction books and literature that mentioned the cool stuff in passing. Then you Google it and find out where it is.

[TIM: I like to spend an afternoon visiting hostels, even if I’m staying in an apartment or hotel. The hostel staff will know which free and low-cost activities get the best reviews from the non-museum-going crowd.]

8. I like to go and stand on hallowed ground. It’s humbling and makes you a better person. Try it. (My personal favorite is battlefields–nothing is more eery or quiet or peaceful)

9. Come up with a schedule that works for you and get settled into it as soon as possible. You’re going to benefit less from your experiences if you’re scrambled, exhausted and inefficient. Me, I get up in the morning early and run. Then I work for a few hours. Then I roll lunch and activities into a 3-4 hour block where I am away from work and exploring the city I’m staying it. Then I come back, work, get caught up, relax and then eventually head out for a late dinner. In almost every time zone I’ve been in, this seems to be the ideal schedule to a) enjoy my life b) Not actually count as “taking time off.” No one feels that I am missing. And it lets me extend trips without feeling stressed or needing to rush home.

10. When you’re traveling to a new city, the first thing you should do when you get to the hotel is change into your work out clothes and go for a long run. You get to see the sights, get a sense of the layout and then you won’t waste an hour of your life in a lame hotel gym either.

11. Never recline your seat on an airplane. Yes, it gives you more room–but ultimately at the expense of someone else. In economics, they call this an externality. It’s bad. Don’t do it.

12. Stay in weird-ass hotels. Sometimes they can suck but the story is usually worth it. A few favorites: A hotel that was actually a early 20th-century luxury train car, a castle in Germany, the room where Gram Parsons died in Palm Desert, a hotel in Arizona where John Dillinger was arrested, and a hotel built by Wild Bill Hickok.

13. Read the historical markers–*actually* read them, don’t skim. They tend to tell you interesting stuff.

14. Add some work component to your travel if you can. Then you can write it all off on your taxes (or better, be paid for the whole thing).

[TIM: Here’s how an entire family moved to a tropical paradise in Indonesia and continued to earn income.]

15. Don’t waste time and space packing things you MIGHT need but could conceivably buy there. Remember, it costs money (time, energy, patience) to carry pointless things around. (Also, most hotels will give you razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other toiletries.)

16. Go see weird shit. It makes you think, shake your head, or at least, laugh. (For instance, did you know that there is a camel buried in the soldier’s cemetery at Vicksburg?)

[TIM: If you go to Japan, don’t miss the incredible Ghibli Museum, made by animator Hayao Miyazaki and located in Inokashira Park.]

17. Ignore the temptation to a) talk and tell everyone about your upcoming trip b) spend months and months planning. Just go. Get comfortable with travel being an ordinary experience in your life and you’ll do it more. Make it some enormous event, and you’re liable to confuse getting on a plane with an accomplishment by itself.

18. Regarding museums, I like Tyler Cowen’s trick about pretending you’re a thief who is casing the joint. It changes how you perceive and remember the art. Try it.

19. Don’t upgrade your phone plan to international when you leave the country. Not because it saves money but because it’s a really good excuse to not use your cellphone for a while. (And if you need to call someone, try Google Voice. It’s free)

20. Explore cool places inside the United States. The South is beautiful and chances are you haven’t seen most of it. There’s all sorts of weird history and wonderful things that your teachers never told you about. Check it out, a lot of it is within a drive of a day or two.

[TIM: Here are 12+ gems of the Pacific Northwest, encountered on a road trip from San Francisco to Whistler, Canada.]

[TIM: 21. OK, this one’s from me, just because it’s so much fun. Take pictures of yourself jumping in different places! It can turn a boring “adult” afternoon into a giddy kid-like experience. The below is from Burning Man 2010.]

(Photo: Mike Hedge)

In other words…

Travel should not be an escape. It should be part of your life, no better or no worse than the rest of your life. If you are so dissatisfied with what you do or where you live that you spend weeks and months figuring out how to get a few days away from either, that should be a wake-up call. There’s a big difference between *wanting* a change in scenery and *needing* to run away from a prison of your own making.

To me, there is more to admire in someone who challenges their perspectives and lifestyle choices at home than in some Instagram addict who conflates meaning with checking off boxes on a bucket list.

[TIM: I’m a fan of bucket lists, but different strokes for different folks…]

So ask: Do you deserve this trip? Ask yourself that honestly. Am I actually in a place to get something out of this?

Over the years, I feel like I have mastered the art of something I wouldn’t call “travel.” I’d call it living my life in interesting places.

These rules and tricks have helped make that possible, and maybe they’ll work for you, too.


What rules and tools have worked for you? Please share in the comments!

(A much shorter version of this piece, without my comments, first appeared in Thought Catalog.)

If you’ve ever fantasized about taking time off to globe-trot, I would highly recommend Rolf Pott’s Vagabonding. It is one of only two books I took with me when I traveled the world for 18 months. Outside Magazine founding editor Tim Cahill calls Vagabonding “the most sensible book of travel related advice ever written.”
I recently partnered with Rolf to release the exclusive audiobook for Vagabonding. For more on this incredible book, click here

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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230 Replies to “How to Travel: 21 Contrarian Rules”

  1. My rule for travel {extremely limited} is go to places for the curiousity factor…as in go to Aurangabad because you’re curious about the Buddhist caves there — that sort of thing.

  2. This is not always an option but I have found that exploring by bicycle is a great way to cover a lot of area in a short period of time. The first time I tried this I found a nice out of the way restaurant that was too new to be listed in travel directories. This is also a nice option for the beach.

    Great idea on white noise and noise-cancelling headphones. I’ll also try that one right at home.

  3. I travel plenty averaged about 25 odd weeks a year for the past 6 to different countries.

    To make travel exciting again, I travel ultra light: Booking my flight (nothing else) and taking only the clothes I’m wearing, my passport and one credit card (No cash).

    Say ‘Yes’ to an opportunity presented. That could be seeing a rare gift that would be perfect for a friend, hearing about a local tour, or an offer for drinks with people you just met. I still kick myself about skipping a driving tour to ancient ruins outside of Beirut.

    Eat where the locals eat, and eat it the way the locals do. Can’t use chopsticks? Guess you’re going hungry till you learn… The best curry I’ve ever had was from a giant pot cooked in a shack on the side of a dirt road in New Delhi, eaten off a banana leaf without cutlery.

    Taste the local water. Everywhere you travel, drinking bottled water, no salads, no ice is a great rule. This is because local water often contains microbes and other nasties you’re not used to and will lead to a stomach upset or worse. Once, in Bangalore, I watched the 5-star hotel kitchen washing the lettuce leaves in the creek out the back! Another time in China, the filtered hotel shower water looked clear, but smelled like sewage. The locals can drink the water no problem, so we know it’s possible. So to train my body to deal with this I take a tiny taste of the local water (a few drops), and then slowly (over days to weeks) increasing the amount.

  4. Lately I’ve discovered that just getting out of the house, workspace, the common area re-energizes me. Ideas, answers, solutions come more easily. This is why I travel. Meeting new people, seeing new places – they are the fuel that drives this creativity.

    I don’t have to travel far – sometimes just getting on my bike does the trick. Other times, a walk. It doesn’t have to be the Serengetti.

  5. In one month’s time I’ll be going to China for a year to study abroad. Now, I understand that this article really isn’t aimed at my kind of traveller, but I feel compelled to adopt some of these precepts. I’m seriously contemplating making the trip with just a sack on my back. I know I won’t be able to carry all essentials that way, but I feel this can force me to find an extra source of income (which I plan on doing anyway) to get by. Moreover, to spice up the challenge, I only have a 40L / 2400 cu. in. backpack right now. Any thoughts? Madness or an interesting challenge?

  6. Tim and Ryan,

    Loved this post, especially the advice to stop living to relive.

    Reminds me of Walker Percy. He has a brain melting chapter from his book “The Message in the Bottle” called the Loss of the Creature where he talks about man’s tendency to see the Grand Canyon without actually SEEING the Grand Canyon. Changed my life reading this one chapter.

    “Seeing the canyon is made even more difficult by what the sight- seer does when the moment arrives, when sovereign knower confronts the thing to be known. Instead of looking at it, he photographs it. There is no confrontation at all. At the end of’ forty years of preformulation and with the Grand Canyon yawning at his feet, what does he do? He waives his right of seeing and knowing and records symbols for the next forty years. For him there is no present; there is only the past of what has been formulated and seen and the future of what has been formulated and not seen. The present is

    surrendered to the past and the future.”

    Here the chapter if anyone’s interested.

  7. I was recently on a 17hr flight, with layover in Hong Kong and second flight to Vietnam.

    Tip: To avoid jetlag, drink red wine.

    I wrote an extensive post on How To Avoid Jetlag: The Unconventional Method, and I need some volunteers for scientific evidence. 🙂 Cause damn, I was all energized with no sleep and no effects of jetlag.

    So far, N=2. My mom and myself. 🙂

  8. No No No. Don’t lay down rules and ultimate ways on how to travel. Everyone has his own interests and should follow those. Travel will allow you to discovering yourself, how is that going to happen with all these rules? Though some rules are close to my ideal way of traveling (take it slow, and read books) that is hardly for everyone. Make photos jumping in different places? Come on, are we all 17?

    Also, there is added value in traveling. At least if you are not traveling in a luxury comfort bubble, making very little contact with the culture and people you are visiting. Doing it that way is just transporting yourself to different places. Take it slow and talking to (local) people will give you a new perspective on yourself and your culture and I would say that is inherently useful.

    Lastly, the purpose of travel? Really?

  9. Awesome post Ryan.

    These rules and a few more I have picked up along the way have transformed how I experience the world.

    Try camping. From the forests of Norway to the Drummer Boy Campground on the eve of the 150th Gettysburg Anniversary, camping should steer you clear of the dreaded bed bug and will give you an experience of the area as nature intended. Camping on the battleground was super eerie. Highly recommend.

    Also, the occasional photo bomb in tourist trap will definitely liven the mood.


  10. A very interesting perspective indeed. Never thought about it, but it IS true, I agree. If you are bored constant travel won’t fix it, although it does provide a temporary escape.

  11. Ryan, or anyone else for the matter, my question has to do with not checking luggage… that is something I always try to do, but my concern has to do with the fact that if I do not check my luggage, I can not carry my pocketknife / Leatherman knives with me on my trip. Do you know a way I can carry my pocketknife without it being taken by TSA? (I’m not a terrorist btw lol)

  12. Thanks for this post Ryan. My favorite line is “Travel should not be an escape. It should be part of your life, no better or no worse than the rest of your life.”

    I traveled around Northern & Eastern Europe for 6 months last year, after leaving my corporate job at IBM. I had realized that I needed to shake up my world in someway, because I wasn’t living the life I had imagined for myself. On the surface I was ‘escaping.’ But as I encountered travelers of all shapes & sizes who actually were escaping something, I realized I wasn’t escaping. I was killing an old life and starting a new one.

    I do think travel (especially long-term) is a great way to shake up one’s routine and reevaluate one’s life and direction. — so long as it’s 1) not a temporary escape from one’s life, as you say, and 2) not viewed as an act of consumption, like the way we consume TVs and cars.

    Completely agree with most of your points. Especially #7. It’s what led me to start publishing a brand of fun, fast, yet informative anti-guidebooks to places around the world, because it’s something I always wanted to exist, but could never find (Actually used many tips from Tim’s ebook/self-publishing posts). I used travel as a launchpad for my new life, one which involved starting a publishing business.

    Thanks again guys.

  13. I take pictures all the time of me jumping in different locations

    i.e. – Aoki Jump, Hadouken or even the famous planking in random places

  14. Think your forgetting the most important aspect. The memories. When im older want to look back on my life and think i’ve made the most of my time on this pretty blue planet by seeing all it has to offer. Your not gonna look back and go all them places and sights i saw were pointless, i should have focused on myself instead……

  15. 4. Instead of taking photos I carry a 4×6 drawing pad and pencils. Then I spend an hour or so at various sites creating sketchs to take home. Helps be in the moment, it’s lightweight and I don’t have to worry about keeping track of equipment.

  16. Great post! Always love seeing stuff from Ryan Holiday, though for some reason only on Tim’s blog.

    Understanding the “why” and giving yourself a compelling reason for your trip makes all the difference in the world. And cross out all the BS reasons right away. When you can be honest with yourself about what you actually want to get out of a location, you’ll get a lot more out of it.

    My additions:

    -I second skipping guidebooks, almost everywhere cool now has a local expat expert blogger. And going out of your way to meet these types is totally worth it. I first met the infamous Seven from KingsofThailand while I was in Koh Samui and then Dave from Medellin Living last month when I was in Medellin. It’s always cool to meet other people that are actually doing things.

    -Figure out what you like.

    In 7 months of living in Thailand I can’t count the amount of sight seeing I did intentionally all in one afternoon. It’s probably worth taking a day out of each month in a location to go do sight seeing and snap some photo’s for posterity, but making the trip all about that is lame. Instead I’d sleep in, get some Thai food delivered, work for a few hours, go get some dinner, and spend my evenings talking with pretty thai girls. As a result I probably experienced more Thai culture than most people who went on the sightseeing tours. But that wasn’t the goal, talking with pretty girls was the goal. Even more fulfilling when it takes place in bed, I’ve found.

    Places, by themselves are relatively uninteresting as are most people. I think it’s my job to be the fun I want to have and if I meet people along the way that want to share in that, cool.

    Practical tips:

    -If you want to experience the vice of any city, taxi’s and tuk tuk drivers can help you uncover it.

    -You should experience the vice in each city.

    -Eat where the locals eat. The food will be better and 1/4 of the cost in most cases.

    -Make your life cool before you start traveling if you can, you’ll enjoy it more. If all else fails, burn down previous life entirely, and build a new one somewhere else. But always remember that it’s you who is the problem.

    -Avoid boring people at all costs.

    -Order another round of drinks


    This one is so crucial I think. I often don’t carry my phone when I’m out in other countries. 20% because it’s an Iphone 5 and I don’t want to get it jacked while I’m drunk. 80% because I don’t want the distraction. I want to force myself to be social. But the end result when doing that is I might a lot of interesting people, it’s very courteous to have cards with you that you can hand to people so they can get in touch with you if they want. I don’t do this to promote my business, I do it to promote myself.

    -Go to all the places people say you should avoid.

    -Keep avoiding boring people.

  17. I like the adventure of it. I feel like a giddy school girl when I am out and about exploring new places. Its plain fun!

  18. An other tip is learning the top 100 words of the language spoken in the country you plan on visiting. I can promise you it will make your life easier and locals will treat you differently as you’d be showing an effort. There are many sites online offering the most popular words of a language, just google top x words + language and find the list that you find the most appropriate. It’s also a nice way to get your mind working

  19. Externalities are not always bad, if there is the choice of reclining the seat i will do so. If the person behind will stay silent, let him suffer in silence, people have the ablility to speak right ?

    *One might even RETURN THE TAXES ( stuff you have bought like clothes ), that is done by saving the checks of the purchase. At least this is possible in some E.U. countries. This partcular post is really bad content ! ( my opinion )

    All in all i pretty sure such kind of blog posts are a fast read and most of the people will forget them in a matter of days…

    1. Right, an externality is not bad…FOR YOU. It is however, selfish and sad to forces others to suffer in silence so you can get an inch more leg room.

  20. My travel rule: Take a good look at the local mid-class people and adapt their way of life. Where do they eat? How do they travel? Ask them where they go to in their leisure time. Adapting their mainstream life will save you money and energy.

  21. Love this! Especially the part about not reclining the seat on an airplane. I flew to India and back and to Ireland and back w/o ever doing this. I also recommend – found a great old school a bunch of people were living in in TN to stay a night at once – it was bizarre, but great too.

  22. Hey Ferris, I’m so happy for you. I pray that this 36th birthday will bring you the best that life itself desires for you. I’m from Africa and showing love to Ethiopia is an awesome move.

    Happy Birthday to you.

    From Kingsley

  23. When traveling or at home, be sure to listen to your intuition. It can both save your ass and lead you to awesome experiences!

  24. Excellent, Tim. What a great choice to feature Ryan on your blog. He’s a smart one. I definitely incorporate work or self development into my travels. It makes travels more life like. And ditto, I treat travels as a part of my life, I always say that for me NY-Bangkok is like NY-NJ trip hahaha.

    Use your mileage peeps! Collect them, be an addict, change the electricity providers to get more miles, do other non costly but smart stuff. I’ve heard there are more unused airline miles in the world than the money bills in circulation. What?

    Greetings from Honolulu – where I moved again after having graduated from here years ago and not being able to forget about this place.

    Thank you Ryan and Tim for yet another insightful post.

  25. “Never recline your airplane seat”

    Thank you so much for this advice. Please echo it whenever you get a chance. I never recline my seat, but people in front of me always do. I know it is an airline provided perk, but it really creates a very bad experience for people sitting behind a reclined seat.

  26. I’ve been traveling ‘full time’ for awhile now and the biggest tip I would tell people is to plan as little as possible. Research what’s around, think of the things you’d like to see and then, when you arrive, aim yourself.

    People get stuck in an itinerary and miss once in a lifetime adventures.

    My best month was when I landed in Myanmar with absolutely no plans, ideas or information. It was a bit of a panic at first but allowed for amazing experiences.

  27. Great post! As usual – many thanks.

    The best tip is taking pics of yourself jumping =) Great fun indeed.

  28. I’ve been traveling south America, living in hostels for close for a year now and really the vast majority of travelers I’ve met fit Seneca’s description. Shallow people who are just looking for distraction in travel and actually accomplishing shockingly little with their lives.

  29. Hey Tim,

    Definitely some great ideas and thoughts about travel in this article.

    Funny here is something posted today by Chris Guillebeau which is in a away along the same lines.

    I do understand some of the points in the comments where this isn’t for everyone. Not everyone is in the fortunate position to travel as extensively as others and perhaps a one week break trying to squeeze everything in is their best personal option.

    PS: My fiancée (Australian) and I (South African) are following some of your advice and currently doing a 3 month road trip from Montreal down to San Diego then up the West Coast to Vancouver while I’m working remotely for a UK company. We are in San Fran till Friday so if you want to catch up for a drink on us give me a shout. 🙂

    PPS: Found your article ’12+ Gems of the Pacific Northwest Coast’ and will definitely be checking out some of those places over the next few weeks!


  30. Great points, with the exception of the point on not reclining. I always recline, and everyone else has the same option. If they don’t take advantage of it, that’s their fault.

  31. I love to travel . I didn’t travel much when I was younger bu tam glad I can do so now later in life. Just a couple of minor comments. My small broken family took just a few photos as I grew up. I wish I had a lot more. I also wish I had taken more photos of my life after I went on my own. Photos are valuable. As far as not reclining in an airplane seat. Ha that ‘s a good one. First of all am an extra large person, so if the person in front of me reclines I almost get hit in the nose.

    That always be considerate sentiment should of course be extrapolated to everything you do in life. Yeah – right, try doing that in Manhattan. Any way it is a nice idea but unfortunately mostly unworkable in reality. Do the best that you can as far as that goes.

  32. So, so true. Many things.

    I myself am very much a traveler. Actually traveling is like my normal state of being, I was lucky enough to start my big trips as student exchanges (that I had 6 in 6 years of studies), so I would stay in places for longer time as a student. That is a very different perspective than traveling as a tourist. As this was my “travel training”, I see the activity in different eyes. Done some crazy decisions, and have crazy stories. Have to say, with all ups and downs, never have I regretted traveling.

    My tip:

    1. Do not listen to other people what they have to say about some countries, especially if they have not been there.

    2. Couchsurfing. Had some of best experiences through this.

    3. Have time for yourself, in your own head. You dont have to see all the stuff, talk to all locals, eat all food. It is just impossible. Have some time to think and reflect what you see. Some of best moments from my travels are when I was absolutely alone, or at least alone in my head. It is a very different perspective that you get and feeling, than through shared experiences of places with your travel partner/s (not to say that shared experiences are bad, it is just about the balance :))

  33. Well I love to walk so I really liked that part that when you arrive to the Hotel put you workout clothes, that definetly applies to me.

    Also I am of the ones that loves reading, so getting a book that talks about Historic Places would help you to plan our journey.

    And as I am not a big planner everytime I travel I just do it, no ahead planning or anything like this.

    Excellent Tips…

  34. I agree with a lot of these recommendations, except I would modify them for people with kids. I love traveling with my husband and 8-year-old, but I can’t “just go” – for this particular kid, it’s good to have at least the outline of a plan. I don’t go for a long run when I arrive, but as a family we go for a long walk (we get oriented, and it helps with jetlag). I can’t work while I’m on vacation; she’d be bored to tears, and I wouldn’t get any work done! But we have a daily formula. We like to rent apartments rather than hotels (weird ass or otherwise, although some of the apts. have been weird!).

    I agree that travel shouldn’t be an escape, but the “change in scenery” is important, so maybe that’s an escape from your usual scenery? We live in the desert, and we all like to check in with green places with water once in a while. And I think it’s really important for our daughter to understand that the world isn’t just where we live. Yeah, there are just as many fools in Rome, but Rome is really different from our town with different history and a different way of life.

  35. No 6 is so so important!! Seriously. I overeat in all my trips (justifying my gluttony by saying I’m probably never going to have this chance again- even when I’m eating Pringles and Snickers :/) and then feel miserable after I’m back. Going to ave to remember this!!

  36. Thanks for sharing this tips and all of them are very important things which we should consider in our mind while we are travelling. But Healthy Eating is very much important among all.

  37. You forgot to mention which type of sleeping bag should we choose, but maybe now you will help me. I am thinking about this one- Miegmaisis and maybe you can tell me is it suitable for beeing in negative degree? Thank you in advance!

  38. Hi Ryan, I wish to say that this post is amazing and it has all the elements and vital info’s to make the travel trip perfect. I agree with your 6th point of healthy eating, and avoiding overeating is must when one is on a trip. I’d like to see more posts like this.

  39. Attractive blog post. I really like a task start up and be able to decide your thinking. Bless you for this purpose tips. Make treasure your task, continue the good work.

  40. Add-on: Hints, not rules.

    #1 Go by sound. Visit places simply because they have royal, sinister or bizarre sounding names, names that spark your imagination or curiosity.Why? Because our imaginations need to be listened to, and not everything needs to make sense. Make room for the unexpected.

    #2 Get lost. Actively getting lost strips away expectation and turns your senses on. When you’re hungry or need to pee, the café closest to you (or, if there are several, the closest one full of locals) is the best one. Trust me on this.

    #3 Hear the sights. Take a moment to just stop and listen. Ever been to the Pantheon in Rome? Go again, but this time sit down and close your eyes. New worlds just might open.

    #4 If you can’t travel by planes, trains or automobiles – that is, if you can’t actually go anywhere at the moment – get an atlas out and travel on the maps to your heart’s content. Added bonus: This might lead you to discover funky names for #1.

    #5 Buy carbon offset when you fly, take trains when you can.

    #6 Travel by yourself at least once in your life. Business meetings don’t count.

    #7 Make your own rules.

    If you haven’t figured out the “why”-part of travelling, don’t be hard on yourself and let Ryan push you around (or, rather, push you back in your office chair). He was just teasing anyway, right? Realise that travelling in and of itself often encompasses part reflecting on and paradoxically enough part forgetting about yourself/why/purpose/mindfuck for a moment. Observe the oscillation between the two, like music in your mind. It might bring about change if that is what you need, or make you feel more at peace with the life you already have. What do I know? I’m not you. But you actually need to GO travelling to experience what travel does or does not do for you.

  41. Great info especially 15: “Don’t waste time and space packing things you MIGHT need but could conceivably buy there…” It’s also puts you in a less stressful frame of mind because you are not thinking ‘did I forget something?’. The only things you MUST have are your ticket, your passport and your money. The stress ends there. Everything else you can pickup

  42. hey i think thats my bike behind you at center camp. See you at robot heart, thanks for all the inspiration homey.

  43. This was a bit of a snotty, entitled post. Not everyone can have jobs that they are in love with, and a little down time is better than none at all. In middle class, 40 hour a week jobs if someone followed your advice, they would be robbing themselves of much needed rest. Also, while its briefly mentioned about externalities (in reclining seats??? That’s what you pick on??? Rampant poverty is ignored, lets pick on the airline seats??? This is a bit spoiled isn’t it?) there is nothing about your impact on the people when you get to thedestination or interaction with them and how to experience/mitigate that. It comes off as a post by a privileged person who wants to experience something in travel, but isn’t really sure what. A bit hollow.

  44. We are a Tibetan/American family traveling globally, 2 kids 2 parents. 8 months now through Asia. Our travel style is completely done on our terms. We tend to avoid following our tourist instincts and rush through the well known sites but rather to pause the moment we arrive. We are meeting locals, eating local food and understanding local customs and traits. We don’t read travel guides, rather we start off with google maps and find locations that can be convenient to get to and walk around as a family of four. AirBNB is a great resource. So far we’re having a great time.

    Every traveller must have a general idea of their objectives. Ours is actually just to spend time together as a family and do it in a way where we can gain new experiences each day. Travel is just one of the many methods to do so. From the book Nikolas Tesla I found this paragraph resonate with our attitude “Well, as the preeminent mythologist Joseph Campbell said, deep down inside, we don’t seek the meaning of life, but the experience of being alive.” Travel and mindfulness is just one of the many ways we can enjoy the experience of being alive.

  45. Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts

    and I will be waiting for your further post thank you once again.

  46. I haven’t traveled much at all but the desire has been growing over the years. This is exactly what I needed to read with great perspective. I often wondered how it would go and how long it would take for me to figure out how to relax and not be a newb to traveling. I think I will still make stupid mistakes but then get better the more I traveled. I really liked the idea of going to a new city, checking in and then taking a run. That’s the best advise I think I have heard yet. Thanks for the article.

  47. It’s kind of offensive to make blanket generalizations about “why” people travel. You are confusing your interest in stoicism with a dogmatic belief in whatever Seneca says. I’m a fan of your’s but your writing comes off pompous and naive.

    Tell me why again -I- do what I do?

  48. I’m just about to finish my Masters of Architecture and I am planning to take off to Europe for as long as possible after this year. Partly to celebrate finishing my studies, and also to experience the world before stepping into full time work and responsibilities. I think if I stick to these rules I’ll be able to get the most out of it and it won’t just be slacking off

  49. I have 25 days off in a year plus 5 bank holidays per year (on average). I split these 30 days between weekends into 6 weeks so I do 6 9-day trips in a year. I did about 25 countries so far, I love walking 8 hours a day, I use maps made by locals and I’m completely offline the whole 9 days.

  50. Great article! I started a business called Teachers Go Global, which allows me to write off all my travel expenses. We recruit volunteers and volunteer/work for a week with a non-profit and then travel for a week. This way we really get to experience the culture and not just the “hotel”. It’s been amazing and we hit up a new country every year!

  51. Reading books during your travel is a “must”. I have never traveled without my book reader. Thank you for sharing your tips! Best regards!

  52. That hotel was built by Buffalo Bill Cody, not Wild Bill Hickok. Will Bill was an outlaw, Buffalo Bill was a world traveling sideshow operator.

  53. I just want to let you know how much you changed my life in the last few years listening to you 51 year old guy and you really had a big impact thank you no response needed just want to let you know that you are doing a great thing for a lot of people.

  54. Excellent advice. You two have been clever enough to not work in a 9-5 office cubicle and for various reasons not everyone has achieved that leap just yet. For the ‘stuck’ or ‘planted’ amongst us like me, travel is fresh air, new horizons and possibilities, and the pre-planning and ticking off is at least half the fun. Still, excellent aspirational advice. Thank you.

  55. 22. Binge-watch every episode of Animal Planet’s “Monsters Inside Me,” cover yourself with a burka soaked in DEET, order in all groceries, boil everything you eat for at least one hour, never eat the brains or nervous system of any animal, no matter how long it has been boiled, have your home tested for fungi, bacteria, parasites and lead and, once it has passed inspection, never, ever leave your home again.