Life lessons I’ve learnt travelling

I have an entire category of blog posts full of travel advice based on my own lessons learnt, including how to Save Money. But what about the greater life lessons? defines a life lesson as ‘something from which useful knowledge or principles can be learned’. Here are 5 life lesson’s I’ve learnt travelling.

life lessons i've learnt travelling

 1. One should always have a ‘Fuck Off Fund’

I didn’t have a name for it until this Adventurous Kate post, but since I was made redundant 2 years ago I’ve kept a separate savings account from my ‘real life’ can’t touch ones for travel or a sabbatical from paid employment if I ever need one.

Having worked for several banks it makes me laugh there are no profanity filters on what you can call your bank account in New Zealand. And that targeting the holders of accounts such as ‘new car’, ‘Hawaii’ or ‘boob job’ who might be close to their goal is not done more strategically.

2. Males never like to admit they’re lost

People who want to walk aimlessly clash massively with my personality. While I can be enthusiastic about going for a bit of a walk around a foreign city I need to have a plan of where we’re going to end up and a decent idea of how we’re going to get there. If we see something of interest and wander off a bit that’s fine, but let’s not get lost for hours ok?

3. Don’t hang out in hotel bars and restaurants – ask the staff where they eat and drink instead

Local joints are cheaper so you won’t leave feeling ripped off. They’re also far more cheerful and will give you an actual understanding of a city’s culture and vibe.

Particularly if you’re travelling alone – you’re never truly alone if you’re around other people who may also be alone.

4. Have an idea of how you will fill airport time

It’s one thing to fill hours upon hours on a long haul flight but you also want to prevent going mad when you have too many hours in transit. I’ve learnt to consider how I will fill them before you get off the plane and airport websites will tell you about any special attractions in the terminals. Ideas include eating at least one meal, having a drink, reading a book, writing a blog post, duty free shopping and watching something your iPad or laptop.

5. It’s scary when you realise you’re more knowledgeable on a topic than your parents

When you’re a kid you think your parents know everything there is to know.

Mum wasn’t exactly happy about this post which my brother kindly forwarded on to her. But I’m still her source of information for all things travel and tech related. And when I spill red wine on something I call her for advice.

life lessons i've learnt travelling

Agree with any of these? What’s the greatest life lesson you’ve learned travelling?


  1. Planes & Champagne
    August 8, 2016 / 4:23 am

    My husband used to make us walk for 2 hours to find ‘that restaurant hidden off the beaten track’. It used to drive me insane but thankfully he’s gotten better at that and when I need to eat, I need to eat!! Totally agree with number 3 too – it’s the only way to truly get to grips with the local culture and way of life!

  2. Rachel
    August 4, 2016 / 9:52 am

    1 YES! I’ve never heard it referred to as such but that’s genius. I’m starting one right away. 2 they don’t like to ask people for anything either. It’s a cliche but it’s true! I learned 4 the hard way when the iPlayer programs I’d carefully pre-downloaded somehow vanished from my phone leaving me entertainmentless for my flight. Disaster.

    • August 5, 2016 / 8:49 am

      Oh gutted that must have been the longest and most painful flight ever! There’s only so much time you can spend staring into space.

  3. The Travelling Teacher
    August 4, 2016 / 4:39 am

    Love the f**k off fund! me need to get me one of those! 🙂

  4. August 4, 2016 / 4:37 am

    1/2/5 – totally with you, and 5 is scary – but aren’t we lucky to be able to do what we do travel wise, things that were never even possible for our parents

    • August 4, 2016 / 8:57 am

      That is very true! Very lucky, crazy how much things have changed within their lifetimes.

  5. August 3, 2016 / 6:57 pm

    Haha love these all – especially number 1! Thanks for linking up 🙂

    • August 3, 2016 / 9:13 am

      Good decision Emma! I think if you’re living in the UK it’s really important to have one as you also never know when you might have to make a sudden trip home.

  6. August 3, 2016 / 2:54 am

    These are great! I couldn’t agree more about finding local places to eat and drink, they come with so much more atmosphere! 🙂 I love the name for your fund too, haha!

    • August 3, 2016 / 9:42 am

      Thanks Marcella! Some of my most memorable nights out while travelling have been in the most random bars with just the right, fun vibe.

  7. August 2, 2016 / 11:13 pm

    I learnt to ask the locals where they ate pretty quickly… Especially on a budget at the beginning of SEA! Once in Vietnam, we didn’t even know what to order, so we just communicated to the shop owner we’d eat whatever he made! Of course, it was one of the best meals we had.
    But this list is great- I’m looking forward to travelling more and coming to learn more of these lessons.

    • August 3, 2016 / 9:02 am

      Yes I found Vietnam very challenging when finding and ordering food at times too! Persevering certainly paid off though – it can be quite unexpected what your best meals turn out to be can’t it. Thanks Lennie 🙂

  8. Eppie Shepherd
    August 2, 2016 / 10:03 pm

    Hahaha I love this list. Why can men not admit it when they’re lost? ‘Lets just wander around and see what happens’ 😀

  9. August 2, 2016 / 5:28 am

    Gah! Number 2 is so true! it’s like a map is cheating!

  10. Clare Thomson
    August 2, 2016 / 4:20 am

    Great tips! I especially like the ones about having something to do in airports and asking staff where they go to eat. I’m always telling people to do as the locals do.

    • August 2, 2016 / 8:59 am

      Yes Clare I do the same! It makes me sad when people travel somewhere for work too and only get the chance to see airports and hotels – they miss out on really seeing how a place ticks!

  11. Posh, Broke, & Bored
    August 2, 2016 / 12:47 am

    Hahahaha I love the name “F*** Off Fund!” I call mine the D is for Dreams (I use the ABCD method to organise my finances). As for lessons learnt from travel, I’ve become somewhat superhuman at time management (how many Duty Free Shops and free wifi minutes can I squeeze from this transit between France and Cuba?) but sadly that skill only kicks in when I’m in an airport! x

  12. August 2, 2016 / 12:06 am

    hahah I’ve always wanted to make a savings account with a special name

    • August 2, 2016 / 8:41 am

      Banks make it really easy to change them these days. Very cool idea rather than it being named with an unmemorable number!

  13. Ngaire
    August 1, 2016 / 9:09 pm

    Love it! I’ve totally started a new ‘Fuck off fund’ – I think that just increases the temptation/NEED to take that sabbatical… doesn’t matter how long after the last one right?

    • August 2, 2016 / 8:57 am

      Ah yes Ngaire you may have a point there! I say it doesn’t matter how long between sabbaticals as long as you have the funds to do so 😉

  14. Elizabeth Harding
    August 1, 2016 / 4:39 pm

    I need an F Off fund! What a brilliant idea! Also agree about layovers – i despise these so will happily pay more to avoid them!

    • August 2, 2016 / 9:08 am

      I had THE worst layover ever in Abu Dhabi so I now tend to pay more to avoid them too! On the other hand in October I got 9 hours out in Kuala Lumpur which was awesome so it’s just about weighing up lengths and opportunities. Definitely start a F Off fund!

  15. August 1, 2016 / 3:29 pm

    Awesome advice! I’m heading off on my first solo trip this month (it’s a work trip, so I’m leaving the family at home and am off on my own adventure), and I can’t wait!

    • August 2, 2016 / 8:45 am

      Oh that’s so exciting Meagan! Sure you’ll have a great time doing as you please while you’re away. Great to see you doing so well too, much deserved! 🙂