Every time we embark on a new journey, we can all expect to have moments that are exciting as well as moments that are terrifying. We’ll hit challenging obstacles that frustrate us, but be rewarded with experiences that some people only dream of having. Most of us never look on any travel experience with regret. Every year poses a new adventure, and these are the lessons I’ve learned from traveling this year:


1.) When in Doubt, Take a Cab: If you’re in an underdeveloped country and you have absolutely no idea how to get from the airport to your hotel because buses are unreliable and the train hasn’t even been built yet, then just take a taxi. Of course, we don’t want to spend money on one, but when you’re crunched for time and don’t need the headache, just take a cab. It’ll be a bit more, but it’ll be worth it.


2.) Different Cultures Need to Be Tolerated: In Vietnam, they eat dog. In Korea, work expectations are demanding. In Singapore, prostitution is legal. Who are we to say this is wrong? Even if we have our own opinions that teach us how to feel about something, it’s not really right to land in another country and try to change it. After all, we’d be pretty upset if someone did that to us.


3.) Taking that Extra Trip is Worth It: While it might take an extra three hours and three different modes of transportation to get to that place you’ve just been dying to see, then just go! You don’t need justification from anyone but yourself. And, even if when you arrive it’s not quite what you expected, be thankful that you made that decision to come instead of not going at all.


4.) Be Spontaneous, Not Impulsive: It’s always fun to book a ticket somewhere last minute. However, if it involves moving somewhere for a longer amount of time or complicated bureaucracy, then it better be a decision that’s well thought out. Sure, moving to Thailand sounds like a wonderful idea right now, but when you have to start going on those visa runs every 30 days, it might not be so glamourous.


5.) Traveling with Your Significant Other is Still Awesome: The best way to figure out if you and someone will work is to travel with them. Okay, so it’s maybe not the only way, but if traveling is the second most important thing to you, then your significant other needs to be on board from the get-go. Being with someone who likes to travel is great, and what’s better is being with someone who makes those experiences that much more enjoyable.


6.) One Big Bag is Better Than Three Small Ones: I always travel with the intention of bringing one bag to hold my things. Somehow, I always end up with a bag for my clothes, my purse or another backpack, and a bag for all the stuff I buy. Carrying three separate bags through the airport is a pain in the butt. I’d much rather bring one larger bag that holds it all.


7.) Staying Home is Never a Good Idea: If you’re considering living at home for a few months while you “figure it out”…just don’t. Especially if you’ve already tried that before and you were miserable, then move somewhere else in the world that’s reasonable. Rent a place, work online a bit, and just explore. This goes for anyone considering moving home indefinitely. Think of another plan. Sorry Mom and Dad, but this girl needs to travel!

Author’s Bio: Hana LaRock is originally from New York, though has called other places around the world her home for the last two years. She currently lives in South Korea as an English teacher and freelance travel writer. When she’s not working, she enjoys writing, reading, spending time with her dog, and of course, traveling. You can find her at www.hanalarockwriting.com.