15 Lessons It’s Never Too Late For Travelers to Learn

You’re never too old to learn something new. This thought process should always be in the back of even the most experienced traveler’s mind!

From common sense tips to different ways to approach your next adventure, you should never shut yourself off from learning something new that can level up your next trip.

I’ve curated a handful of invaluable lessons I learned from my travels that travelers of all ages can live by.

1. Live There, Don’t Visit (if Possible)

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I’m shocked at how many people scrimp and save all year for a relatively short vacation somewhere far away. If you have work flexibility, don’t be afraid to book months-long trips somewhere exotic and work from your destination.

The ability to work remotely doesn’t necessarily mean spending a Friday in your hometown working at a coffee shop; it’s a privilege that allows you to explore the world without sacrificing your average monthly income levels.

2. Pack Light

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It’s a tale as old as time: pack light. Give your shoulders, back, and luggage a much-deserved break by refusing to pack like the world is about to end as soon as you arrive at your destination.

Remember, toiletries and small items can be purchased when you arrive. Always allow the looming threat of lugging a 50-pound suitcase around an unfamiliar area to motivate you to pack as lightly as possible during your next trip.

3. Traveling With Kids is Possible

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Many savvy travelers start thinking their prime traveling days are over as soon as they have kids. However, based on the number of parents I’ve seen traveling with small children over the past few years, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Sure, it takes a bit more strength (to say the least) to look after a young one when traveling the globe, but remember: having kids is not a death sentence for extensive adventures. If others can do it, so can you.

4. Embrace the Local Culture

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Some of the best times traveling the world have come when I threw my inhibitions out the window and immersed myself in the local culture. Nothing is more fun than bellying up to a random bar in an unfamiliar country and having a beer with strangers who can’t understand a word you’re saying.

Sometimes, we get so caught up in our lifestyles and ideals that we forget to jump out of our comfort zones and embrace local cultures.

5. When in Doubt, Book the Trip

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At the risk of sounding a little lame, the cringe-worthy catchphrase of yesteryear still rings true in 2024: you only live once. With that in mind, don’t let indecision influence whether you should book your trip; always say yes.

Nobody regrets traveling too much, too frequently, or too strenuously. The only time you’ll regret it is if you spend another week at home when you could be exploring all the world has to offer.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Be a Tourist

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Make no mistake: despite the insanely long lines and packed crowds associated with them, experiencing tourist attractions overseas is one of the most fulfilling ways to travel. In 2024, it’s commonplace for a small sect of travelers to look down on those who seek the “tourist experience” while traveling and ignore the noise.

Embrace your touristy side if that’s what makes you happy. Ultimately, you’re the one responsible for ensuring you have an epic trip.

7. Go Slow

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Even if you have a genuine tourist itch and want to see as many historic monuments, museums, and fascinating architecture as possible, it’s perfectly acceptable to go slow during your next adventure. In fact, it’s okay to bypass the tourist hot spots entirely in favor of a more relaxing, indulgent vacation.

Don’t confuse moving slowly through your trip as being lazy. It’s just another fantastic way to explore the sights and sounds of an unfamiliar country.

8. Embrace Culture Shock

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Don’t shy away from experiencing authentic culture shock. What’s the fun of visiting foreign countries if the day-to-day living experience is similar to how you live in the United States?

The lesson I’ve learned over the years is straightforward. Experiencing culture shock is rare in modern society, so embrace it if possible. Travel to places like Tokyo, where life is so astoundingly different, you’ll bring home unforgettable memories.

9. You’re Never Too Old to Travel

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Thankfully, there’s no set retirement age for seeing the world. It doesn’t matter how old you are; always remember the importance of traveling at your own pace. You’re never too old to travel.

I’m trying to convince my mother to travel to Europe for her 70th birthday. She’s never been outside New Jersey and seems overwhelmed by the notion of traveling overseas, feeling she’s too old. I’m making it my personal mission to make sure she makes the trip because, as we all know, age is just a number.

10. Always Purchase Travel Insurance

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I can’t stress this lesson enough: always purchase international travel insurance. Even the most savvy and experienced traveler can be blindsided by unexpected itinerary changes, medical emergencies, and other events. Ultimately, it’s all about protecting yourself.

Although travel insurance costs can put a small dent in anybody’s budget, the peace of mind it provides is more than worth it.

11. Blaze Your Own Trail

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In the current era of social media influencers and travel agents trying to steer everybody in a specific direction, it’s more important than ever to blaze a trail yourself. In other words, don’t base your next adventure on someone else’s itinerary.

I’ve learned to ignore advice from friends and experts when traveling somewhere new. Although a restaurant recommendation or two is always welcomed, something must be said to make every part of your adventure uniquely yours in every way.

12. It’s Okay to Sleep

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No rule says you must sacrifice sleep to have the adventure of a lifetime. It’s okay to sleep, and it’s even okay to take a few days to wind down and rest in the middle of a particularly exciting trip.

If you need sleep, don’t feel guilty for doing so. This lesson applies especially to older men and women. Exploring everything at a breakneck pace in your 20s is easy, but it’s considerably more challenging as you get a little older.

13. Adventures Don’t Have to Break the Bank

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Budget traveling isn’t just for travelers looking to experience a life-changing journey for cheap; it’s a way of life for millions of people seeking to maximize their travels.

Learn to embrace the art of frugal traveling; you’ll save money while experiencing some of the most remarkable cultures and destinations worldwide. The best part? You’ll have plenty of money left over to fund your next trip.

14. Stay Updated on Local Regulations

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Ever since the pandemic, I’ve been increasingly conscious of local regulations that seem to change daily. From European cities like Venice charging tourists to enter the city limits on specific days to countries temporarily closing their borders due to increased crime risk, staying current on these changes is essential.

Always do your due diligence before embarking on a trip. You’ll never know what kind of red tape you’ll have to untangle.

15. Don’t Rule Out Locations

Mexico City,
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Don’t cross a destination off your bucket list just because someone you know didn’t like it when they visited or because it has an unfavorable reputation among non-travelers. By blindly following the advice of strangers, you’ll miss out on experiencing fantastic locales like Mexico City and Nicaragua.

Any location can be epic if you have the right mindset; in many cases, these less-popular destinations are much cheaper than their more tourist-centric counterparts.

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