What I’d do differently if I could go back

Ever thought over a trip and wished you could go back and do something differently? Here are some of the things which have crossed my mind at some time, whether in discussions with friends seeking advice for their own trips or the bigger ones which come back to haunt me and keep me awake at night.

But I would hesitate to categorise them as ‘regrets’ as in most cases I’ve either moved on, learnt something for the future or determined I will realistically go back and try again.


Taking the longest (cheapest) flight path or mode of transport to save money

Call me a grown up but I no longer believe it should take 50 hours to get anywhere, regardless of the savings or airline points. This happened when I flew from Rome to Wellington via London, Abu Dhabi, Sydney and Auckland.  The 26 hours of flying wasn’t the problem (that was expected)- it was the average of 5 hours wait between each flight.

I’m just grateful to have never experienced an overnight train or ferry (yet), though taking the bus between Wellington and Gisborne was up there.

Abandoning my OE after 9 months

At 26 I felt like I’d really failed when I couldn’t get a job in London. But when you have limited work experience in an industry which is not hiring due to a recession and installed values which say you must have a good job, chances of winning aren’t exactly high.

I’m now watching my younger brother head off to do something I feel I never did properly. As a UK passport holder I thought I’d have another chance later, so far that hasn’t eventuated (nor has the opportunity to live overseas somewhere else in the world) and I know that the longer I leave it the more life will get in the way.

Not wanting to spend money

This includes skipping several adventure sports in Austria (though I have done similar activities in other parts of the world), not going to Octoberfest, and not paying entrance fees for various museums and attractions.

Trips get expensive quickly and that’s often in the back of my mind. But realistically whatever it was would  have been unlikely to amount to more than a few hours/days pay when I returned to work had I just put it on the credit card and got on with it.

Not travelling when I was at Uni

Fitting with the ‘not wanting to spend money’ theme, I wish I had taken a semester abroad or moved away from home for University. On the flip side I got rid of my student loan much faster than any of my friends.

Being put off by queues/ waiting times

The reason I did not get to the highest Eiffel tower deck (granted my visit was at night so how much more would I have seen?), the top of Saint Peters in Rome or in the elevator at La Sagrada Familia.

Would they have been worth it? I don’t know, but I will probably keep wondering until I go back and find out.

Not dressing correctly

Another inhibitor to entering sites of tourist interest is being dressed in typical tourist garb – jandals, shorts or skirts above the knee and bare shoulders. The number of times I’ve unexpectedly happened upon an amazing cathedral (including Milan’s) and not had a scarf or cardigan to cover up with is unbelievable.

I am often relying on the photographs of others to see the interiors and stained glass windows of such places.

Not speaking up when I really wanted to do something

I really wanted to go to Wimbledon, and effectively had a whole week in which I could have done it. But between a job interview (for a job I didn’t get), a spot of rain and friends and flatmates having jobs and set days they could go, it didn’t happen.  I figured I would still be there a year later and could go then.

I don’t even remember where I was a year later. By dates it was in a job I didn’t like on the opposite side of the world (which should be a lesson in itself).

Ever regretted not spending your money on the right things when you’re travelling?


  1. Becky B
    March 23, 2015 / 4:23 pm

    yes! I tend to get my undies in a bunch when things don’t go as planned and feel bummed. trying to get better at it.

  2. Rachel G
    March 16, 2015 / 2:20 pm

    I do tend to err on the side of being too cheap to spend the ticket money on attractions…but I can’t think of anything that really stands out to be as ‘worth it.’ Mostly, if I really want to do something, I do it–the money factor comes in when I’m not sure if I want to do something…
    I enjoy living overseas, but the visa and job aspect can be very intimidating–for an American, anyways, it’s generally easier to get a job in your own country!

  3. Malinda
    March 13, 2015 / 8:26 pm

    I think cheap flights and timing is always a big toss up, you have to consider both and decide if the cost saving is worth while or not. And once you get somewhere, especially if it took a long time or a lot of money to get there, always just pay the entrance fee, do everything you want to, don’t say no. You might never get the chance to get back there again.
    Thanks for joining in #wednesdaywanderlust

  4. Kathy www.yinyangmother.com
    March 12, 2015 / 10:44 pm

    I do think you can regret things (especially when it comes down to saving money) but as long as they are somehow made up for by serendipitous discoveries then I think there’s no point worrying (well there’s never any point worrying after the fact and usually not before it!). I didn’t travel when I was at uni (other than the all-bunk-in ski trip) but I lived overseas, aged 41, for twelve months – my husband did a job (and house) exchange to Whistler, Canada and our daughter went to school, while our son was a baby. I got a year off from any work and organised our travel adventures to New York (twice), California and the Rocky Mountains. So you can do it later – in fact we took off for our year in Canada only 10 weeks after arriving home from China with our newly adopted baby son. The amount of paperwork required (Chinese, Australian, Canadian) still makes me shudder, but it was all worth it. No regrets

    • March 15, 2015 / 8:58 pm

      Wow – the job and house exchange in Whistler sounds like it was an amazing opportunity for your family to take. Thanks for sharing and I am off to check out your blog!

  5. AParentingLife
    March 12, 2015 / 2:59 pm

    There have been a few boat tours that we haven’t taken on #ouradventureofalifetime and a part of me is a sad about that but at the same time they are incredibly expensive and if we had of done them all we might not have had the money to get as far as we did. Living in the moment can be so tricky some times. I hope you get a chance to go back and do some of those things

  6. Kati Rose
    March 6, 2015 / 12:08 pm

    I completely agree on the flight and money ones. I’ve learned as I have gotten a little bit older that I would rather spend a little bit more while traveling and have to budget more when home to have the best possible experience including flights and seeing/doing everything. I might as well go all out within my means and truly have a trip I loved and remember fondly instead of regrets.

  7. Dani
    March 6, 2015 / 11:03 am

    I would explore China without a tour guide, the package I booked with friends included visits to factories and stores that had a commission agreement with the tour agency, so we had many stops just to make the group spend money at those places, and I was on a super tight budget, wish I had visited more of the city instead of looking at pearls and feather blankets…

    • March 6, 2015 / 3:11 pm

      I know exactly what you mean! Had a similar experience in Europe the first time I went on a whistlestop tour with many visits to places which were definitely on a commission!