If you have a nosey around my travel blog, you’ll find it packed full of advice – from how much to budget on your travels, to guides such as the best places to visit in South East Asia, how long to spend travelling the East Coast of Australia or how to travel the Maldives on a budget.
I’ve even written a few deeper advice posts such as travel slow, travel far, or how long term travel is affecting my mental health.
But there’s one piece of advice I haven’t really dedicated a whole post to.
The best piece of travel advice I can give you…travel for yourself.
The Best Piece Of Travel Advice I Can Give You
Yup it’s that simple – when you travel, travel for yourself, on your terms.
You see, over the last few years it has become more and more apparent that people are relying too much on the opinions or advice of other people when it comes to where to travel next.
Bloggers, Instagrammers and “influencers” all pushing the next big destination (ok ok ok I know I fall into those categories from time to time…so don’t come at me with too much hate!) telling you that Thailand is overrated, that this place isn’t as good as it was a few years ago, or that this other spot is the next big thing.
Every article you read online is biased.
Yup, that also includes mine!
The joys of being human is that everyone has their own personality, opinions, tastes and passion, but the downside of the internet is that everyone is shouting so freaking loudly across the interwebs to push their own opinion that sometimes people forget that they need to form their own.
So you know what?
You Do You!
Do what makes you happy and don’t be afraid of how other people view your travels.
I hate cities, seriously I hate them. I absolutely loathed being in San Francisco, so when people ask me about it I’m not going to sugar coat it and say the Golden Gate Bridge was magical to see in real life…nope I’ll straight up tell them I didn’t enjoy my stay and I couldn’t get back to Australia fast enough!
Now some people don’t like that kinda of honesty. But you know what, that’s more their problem than mine.
And the same for you guys too – don’t be afraid to not like a place and want to leave or simply not go there in the first place because you just don’t want to!
I’ve met so many people who head to somewhere like Asia and then do the standard Thailand > Laos > Cambodia > Vietnam route simply because its what everyone else is doing. But when you speak to them they have no interest in a lot of the places!
If you want to skip over getting templed out in Asia and would prefer to relax in the Maldives instead, do it!
Figure out what you REALLY want to be doing and just go do it!
Be Unashamed About Indulging Your Passion
For me that’s surfing.
This year all I’m really doing is surfing.
It’s what makes me the happiest and it’s all I really want to do!
I started off the year with a week long trip to Morocco. Honestly I should’ve taken my own advice and stayed longer but for some reason or another I came home, only to book another flight out there 3 days later.
Then I booked a flight to Australia to go surf with my bro and buddies in Byron Bay.
This was then followed by an incredible trip to the Mentawai Islands chilling in paradise surrounded by some of the best waves in the world and followed by a couple weeks on Siargao Island in the Philippines on the hunt for more waves.
Now I’m back in Indonesia again, surfboard firmly in tow.
…and I’ll probably stay around here until the surf season ends towards the later part of the year.
And you know what – people have been saying “oh you’ve been to Australia heaps, try somewhere new” or “why are you going to Bali, it’s so overrated”
Well…it’s my money and my life so if I want to sit in Bali for a month and find some waves, that’s what I’m going to do!
And this year if someone tries to drag me off to do something cultural or visit somewhere new and the surf is pumping somewhere else…I’m just not going to go with them unless I REALLY want to!
…and I urge you to do the same, stick to your guns!
So Should You Trust Travel Bloggers For Travel Advice?!
Admittedly there’s a whole side to this post which might well come across as a “don’t trust travel bloggers” post, which is obviously pretty ironic given that that’s what I do as a job!
But what I’m saying here is take travel blogs with a pinch of salt when it comes to figuring our where you want to go, or more importantly deciding that you don’t want to go somewhere.
Find a blogger who reflects your interests, not necessarily the one who ranks the highest in a Google search.
Think as taking advice off a blogger like taking advice of a person in real life – there might be a table full of people who have travelled Thailand, some may have lived there for long periods of time or claim to be an expert.
But one of those people is a friend of yours.
You’re going to trust the opinions of your buddy more than the randomer who just happens to know a lot about Thailand right?
Because you have similar interests and generally speaking you know what they like is probably something you’ll like too.
I might love staying in Byron Bay in Australia, enjoying the beaches and surfing, but if you hate the beach and like the hustle and bustle of a city, then the chances are you wont enjoy Byron at all!
Do the same with blogs. Follow the people you most relate to and ask their advice (yes some bloggers do actually reply to their readers!) and take it from there.
The bottom line on this though is make an informed decision and then go see for yourself!
Don’t Just Do It For The ‘Gram!
Another big thing people are falling into the trap of, is doing stuff just to chuck a pic of it on Instagram.
Honestly if you have no interest in going to see the temple, don’t just go there to take a picture for your Instagram.
If you’d rather go have a beer with some buddies do that instead!
It’s one thing to be pushed out of your comfort zone to try something new. It’s another to do that just for the sake of an Instagram shot!
Also you are going to quickly figure out that if you’re going somewhere just for that epic Insta pic, there’s now a good few hundred people all barging each other to take the same shot.
One of most amusing examples I’ve seen personally was sunrise over Angkor Wat.
Yes I did get a really good pic and yes it did look pretty awesome – but what you dont see is the manic crowd in front of the temple with a huge array of selfie sticks, tripods, iPhones, a full reach and even the few token iPads in the air too.
…and if I’m totally honest as soon as I got the pic I wanted I get the hell out of there and onto some of the less busy temples so I could actually enjoy my experience there.
And the rest of the day was far more satisfying than the sunrise.
Sometimes its nice to just put the camera away and have fun doing something for the sake of doing it.
The Best Piece Of Travel Advice In A Nutshell
Yeah I know I’ve gone off on some mini rants and tangents in this post, so what’s the takeaway from this when it comes to the best piece of travel advice?
Basically you can sum the whole thing up in three key points:
- Fill your adventures with places and activities that YOU want to do
- Try things for yourself
- Make up your own mind about it
Now go out there and enjoy the world on your terms – I guarantee it’s the best way to be happy!