After being on the road for 8 months, plowing through 9 different South American countries, I can proudly say that I am no longer a RTW rookie. Over the past months, I’ve gone through travel trials and tribulations, but have emerged from the flames – victorious. So that all y’all rookie travelers won’t have to go through my nonexistent struggles, here is my list of the top 7 RTW rookie mistakes that I have committed myself:
1. Over Packing
This is probably the most obvious and the most common. I’ve done it myself, but I have an excuse (sort of) because I need to write reviews about the newest travel gear. I’ve noticed that I brought several little things that I thought I would need, but never did. The little things add up and eventually can take up lots of space in your backpack or suitcase.
2. Not Trying New Foods
Not all food is created equal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try it all. South America doesn’t have too many truly weird foods, but Cuy, guinea pig was probably one of the strangest for my Asian American taste buds. If I didn’t have the guts to try Cuy, then I would have really missed out on an eating experience of a lifetime.
3. Being a Loner
Sometimes it’s good to be alone, but when traveling, it’s always nice to connect with other travelers and locals. I’m not the ‘lets connect!’ type of person, but I do agree that it can get boring to travel by yourself, or with your family, like what I’m doing. When our family went on an overland tour with Tucan Travel, it was really interesting to meet other travelers
though none were as hardcore as me. It’s also good to talk to locals because that can sharpen your language skills.
4. Not Being Adventurous
We’ve all heard this one, and it may be a bit cliché, but that doesn’t make it wrong. You won’t get the full effects of traveling if you aren’t adventurous. Trust me, if you do stupid things, you will have some awesome stories to tell later on in life. Just don’t hurt yourself.
5. Not Learning the Language
Sometimes, I just want to speak English. But if you really want to experience the culture of a different country, you need to learn and at least try to speak. Check out my article about me trying to learn Spanish here.
I’m still working on this one, but ever since I’ve been traveling, I’ve been improving. Sometimes when traveling, you just need to toughen up and stop complaining. If you’re complaining about a place not being like your home, then go home. (My mom reminded me many times too). Something I needed to get over was that toilet paper needs to go in the trashcan or else you’re going to have a problem. I still think it’s a bit disgusting, but the fact is that I just need to shut up and get over it.
7. Being A Clean Freak
I am a clean freak – and proud. I used to be that guy that showered twice a day, but now it’s like, “Showers? Never heard of them.”
Unfortunately for me and other clean freaks alike, the words clean freak and RTW don’t go hand in hand. While on an adventurous RTW going through many countries that have no access to shower facilities like Amantani Island in Lake Titicaca Peru, the chances are that you will go days without showering, and possibly wear the same clothes for weeks at a time. So to keep it short, don’t be a clean freak. It’s not possible when traveling.
What are some of your rookie RTW mistakes? Leave your comment below.