The things WE DID WRONG on our RTW trip

It’s never easy to admit fault. But there’s always something to learn.

I can sit here and brag about all the things we did right on our round-the-world trip; there are lots and I’m quite proud of them. But let’s be real, you’re all dying to know where we went wrong, so let’s cut to the chase.

For the record, I don’t believe there is ever a right or wrong way to travel, just whatever way works for you. However, these are a few things, if I could, I’d wish to do differently. So here we go – the things we did wrong on our RTW trip:

We were always on the move.

IMG_0721 In the beginning, we spent no more than 4-days in one place. We were constantly moving, trying to see too much in a short amount of time. We got burnt out. Fast. By the time we landed in China, travel fatigue hit us like a wall which led to a lot of short tempered and erratic feelings that took a toll on us and the trip. We made it a priority to slow things way down after that.

We did not write anything down.

I’ve never been good at taking notes. I trust that my memory would hold up for when I need it later. It hasn’t been all bad – I’ve been able to recount a lot of great moments and experiences from our time abroad down to the delicious meals we ate. But that’s still not everything. I can’t tell you how many times I sit down, ready to write a piece and say to myself, how did that go again? only to be reminded by Gerard that I should have wrote it down. A lot is lost in the little things – things that made our trip interesting but I just can’t seem to remember the minor details.

I never found a good work/ life balance.

IMG_8168 I say I because Gerard was actually great with his “work”, editing and backing up photos, updating social media and stuff. I, the voice behind the blog, was either having way too much fun to care or, the truth, got extremely lazy and made every excuse in the book to not write. Looking back, I wasted a lot of time doing nothing when I could have been writing or at least taking notes. I never did quite catch up. At my best, I was a month behind. Today, I’m still reminiscing about our time in Asia and that happened over six months ago!

We over-planned things.

You’ve seen our extensive itinerary. What can I say, we’re planners. We planned for everything down the little details like where to eat. Spontaneity is not in our nature. Having a plan works for us and for most of our trip, we were right on point.

We were a lot more flexible this time around booking only a month to two in advance to maximize cheap airfare and accommodation. But we should have been more flexibility. Because if we were, we wouldn’t have had to rearrange our Japan itinerary to spend time with a new friend we met in Thailand. Japan isn’t exactly the most affordable of places to be modifying itineraries. Re-routing our trip cost us more than originally planned, but it was all worth it in the end. My point is, we wouldn’t have to make itinerary changes had there not been one in the first place, had we been more open to spontaneity.

We packed horribly for South America.

peru-fashion   IMG_1400

After eight blissful months of nothing but sun and beach and flip flops and tank tops, we were spoiled rotten with our laid-back summer attire. When it came to packing for spring in South America, we didn’t pack nearly enough warm layers as we should. I even packed my sarong, an essential for SE Asia, but absolutely worthless for South America. We should have brought another pair of denim, extra base layers for the cold nights and a fleece. We ended up buying cheap knock-off fleece jackets in Cusco along with a few other essential layers. Check out G! Doesn’t he look dashing in his South American attire?

We spent way too much in Australia.

Going into this, we knew Australia would be unavoidably expensive. However, we did not take into consideration the terrible exchange rates ($1 AUD = $1.08 USD at the time), therefore, we spent far more than we’d originally planned. And rather than shortening our time there, we cut back in accommodations and food in order to save money. The cost for food was outrageous, most days we either sushi rolled it or shared a Subway footlong.. which, by the way, cost $11! Outrageous I tell you.

We waited too long to go diving.

We were suppose to take lessons and partake in our first discover dive together in Thailand. We were both nervous, Gerard with his fear he can’t swim and mine with being out in the open water, so we both made every excuse not to do it. It took us months before we built up the courage to go diving in Indonesia, and it turned out to be one of the best new experience we have done. We let our fears get in the way, and you know what they say, never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game. Next beach destination vacation, you can be sure we’re heading back out into the deep water.

I broke our camera. Twice!

broke-canons Yes, I broke them. I don’t know what it is about our point and shoot but I managed to drop it in Australia which Gerard was able to fix. I dropped it again during Songkran in Thailand, and Gerard somehow made it work again. It finally died in China right before our Great Wall of China excursion, so we rushed to buy a new one. It only lasted for a few weeks before malfunctioning in Vietnam. Luckily, we were able to get it fixed in Ho Chi Minh City. Phew! I’m glad we carry two cameras with us at all times otherwise we would have missed out on some great shots.

We never made it to the Philippines.

And not just the Philippines, but Burma, or Laos, or Columbia or Poland. These were the countries we debated but decided not to visit because there was just not enough time. I also think had we made the time for these countries, it would have been rushed and we would not have been able to appreciate them in the right way. Still, to this day we both regret not making it to the Philippines. It’s high on our list for our next trip.

 

What are some of your biggest travel mistakes?

 

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  • http://twitter.com/espenorio Sheila

    My husband I would love to go diving too, but we can’t swim. We missed out on the diving experience on our travel. How was Gerard able to dive? I thought you have to learn how to swim first.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      People kept telling us you don’t need to know how to swim to dive so we finally tried it and they were right. You really don’t. I can’t really explain it.. between the fins and the tank keeping you afloat, very little effort is needed on your part to ‘swim’ or dive under water. You don’t have to learn to swim.. yay!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=36500078 Sheila Espenorio

    My husband I would love to go diving too, but we can’t swim. We missed out on the diving experience on our travel. How was Gerard able to dive? I thought you have to learn how to swim first.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      People kept telling us you don’t need to know how to swim to dive so we finally tried it and they were right. You really don’t. I can’t really explain it.. between the fins and the tank keeping you afloat, very little effort is needed on your part to ‘swim’ or dive under water. You don’t have to learn to swim.. yay!

  • http://twitter.com/toniwonitravels Toni

    I think these are some great lessons to learn from Kieu! I like the work/balance lesson because I think it’s a very fine line when you’re blogger about learning to ‘let go’ of the internet and just enjoy your travels and be in the moment. I have that mindset when taking photos…I regret not taking enough but then I realise that I’m just busy having fun 🙂

    And as for not getting to the Philippines etc? Well, that’s just an excuse to get your butts there eventually 😀

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I was going to put down – we took way too much photos and videos. I wonder if my experiences would turn out differently had we just put the camera down. But I’m also glad we kept it rolling because we caught some great moments on film too. Haha.. fine line for sure.

  • http://twitter.com/toniwonitravels Toni

    I think these are some great lessons to learn from Kieu! I like the work/balance lesson because I think it’s a very fine line when you’re blogger about learning to ‘let go’ of the internet and just enjoy your travels and be in the moment. I have that mindset when taking photos…I regret not taking enough but then I realise that I’m just busy having fun 🙂

    And as for not getting to the Philippines etc? Well, that’s just an excuse to get your butts there eventually 😀

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I was going to put down – we took way too much photos and videos. I wonder if my experiences would turn out differently had we just put the camera down. But I’m also glad we kept it rolling because we caught some great moments on film too. Haha.. fine line for sure.

  • Natalie @ In Natalie’s Shoes

    I, too, am a planner. It’s always been really hard for me to let go and just explore without a plan. And please don’t even get me started on being an awful note-taker when traveling! Both of these things are something I need to work on for future travel adventures. Thanks for sharing, it made me feel like I wasn’t the only one 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      You’re not alone.. =P

  • http://www.innataliesshoes.wordpress.com/ Natalie @ In Natalie’s Shoes

    I, too, am a planner. It’s always been really hard for me to let go and just explore without a plan. And please don’t even get me started on being an awful note-taker when traveling! Both of these things are something I need to work on for future travel adventures. Thanks for sharing, it made me feel like I wasn’t the only one 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      You’re not alone.. =P

  • http://expatedna.com/ Edna

    I can’t even tell you how many cameras I’ve broken and had to replace in five years of travel. Latest casualty was our Sony shockproof/waterproof camera (that is clearly no longer waterproof). I CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Oh, I managed to destroy my friends GoPro in Hawaii when we went shark cage diving. So not made for nice things.. LOL

  • http://expatedna.com/ Edna

    I can’t even tell you how many cameras I’ve broken and had to replace in five years of travel. Latest casualty was our Sony shockproof/waterproof camera (that is clearly no longer waterproof). I CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Oh, I managed to destroy my friends GoPro in Hawaii when we went shark cage diving. So not made for nice things.. LOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/sugerfreek Georgi’n’a Young

    Wow love this guys. I’ve made way too many travel mistakes but I hate to dwell. Good to learn for next time. 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      We all make them. It’s how we learn and move on that counts, right?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sugerfreek Georgi’n’a Young

    Wow love this guys. I’ve made way too many travel mistakes but I hate to dwell. Good to learn for next time. 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      We all make them. It’s how we learn and move on that counts, right?!

  • Londoner Kate

    I am a control freak and after reading countless blogs its taught me to sort of wing it when I get there rather than extensively planning or even thinking about how long ill spend anywhere.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I like to say I have OCD when it comes to planning but I think this trip has taught me to loosen up a bit. We ‘winged it’ a few times and it was quite liberating. 😀

  • Londoner Kate

    I am a control freak and after reading countless blogs its taught me to sort of wing it when I get there rather than extensively planning or even thinking about how long ill spend anywhere.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I like to say I have OCD when it comes to planning but I think this trip has taught me to loosen up a bit. We ‘winged it’ a few times and it was quite liberating. 😀

  • Ali

    I totally went too fast on my RTW trip too. And I had myself locked into a 6 flight RTW ticket I got with frequent flier miles, so I couldn’t even change things much when I realized I was going to quickly. I love to plan and I planned too much for my trip. Happens to a lot of us I think!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yeah at most we had at least the next two countries planned and booked so we couldn’t make changes either, hence the Japan re-routing. We went in a big which cost us in the end. Wow, I can’t believe you were locked into 6 flights! That’s a lot of miles.. 🙂

  • Ali

    I totally went too fast on my RTW trip too. And I had myself locked into a 6 flight RTW ticket I got with frequent flier miles, so I couldn’t even change things much when I realized I was going to quickly. I love to plan and I planned too much for my trip. Happens to a lot of us I think!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yeah at most we had at least the next two countries planned and booked so we couldn’t make changes either, hence the Japan re-routing. We went in a big which cost us in the end. Wow, I can’t believe you were locked into 6 flights! That’s a lot of miles.. 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/L_e_a_h Leah Travels

    Hindsight’s 20/20, right? I guess y’all will just have to do another RTW to get it right.

  • Leah Travels

    Hindsight’s 20/20, right? I guess y’all will just have to do another RTW to get it right.

  • Uncle BB

    Great article… Some person/people planning a RTW trip will hopefully benefit from these key tips!

  • Uncle BB

    Great article… Some person/people planning a RTW trip will hopefully benefit from these key tips!

  • http://twitter.com/mrsoaroundworld Ana Silva O’Reilly

    I think you need to do it again.. just to prove yourselves wrong! And that you can totally rock it! Some great tips here for anyone planning their RTW

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      I think so too. I’d be happy to make new mistakes too cause that’s always bound to happen. 😛

  • @mrsoaroundworld

    I think you need to do it again.. just to prove yourselves wrong! And that you can totally rock it! Some great tips here for anyone planning their RTW

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      I think so too. I’d be happy to make new mistakes too cause that’s always bound to happen. 😛

  • CaptainandClark

    We’ve all been there! This post is great for those currently planning a RTW trip. 🙂 Maybe we can all plan one together soon?! 😉

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Put in on the to-do list. =)

  • CaptainandClark

    We’ve all been there! This post is great for those currently planning a RTW trip. 🙂 Maybe we can all plan one together soon?! 😉

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Put in on the to-do list. =)

  • http://twitter.com/AI_FollowUs Anglo Italian

    Interesting list of thoughts from where others can learn and try to do best. But as you said, everybody travels in a different way and there is no good or bad way of doing. 🙂

  • http://www.angloitalianfollowus.com/ Anglo Italian

    Interesting list of thoughts from where others can learn and try to do best. But as you said, everybody travels in a different way and there is no good or bad way of doing. 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/20YH Tony K + Steph H

    I am pretty sure pretty much every travel blogger out there is woefully behind on their blog… that’s why I am really glad that I decided from the start to keep a personal journal at the end of each day. We’re still writing about things that happened in October, but it’s like they just happened yesterday because of the detailed notes and reflections I kept. They don’t all make it onto the blog, but I admit, it’s nice to have and I’m glad I’ve kept up with it (though sometimes it’s hard to!).

    We made some of the same mistakes as you early on too though, namely moving too fast (especially in Japan! Thank goodness that only lasted 1 month!) and over-planning. I think we’ve managed to find a balance for all of those things now (honestly, moving every 4 – 5 days is the pace we like… 2 or 3 is a bit too fast though!), but I think the key to success on the road is just being willing to continuously adapt!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yes I’m glad we caught it early on too, our traveling habits evolved last year and we’ve definitely learn to balance it all out one way or another. Good for you and your detailed note taking.. I do wish I was better at it but I’m learning.. hehe =)

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    I am pretty sure pretty much every travel blogger out there is woefully behind on their blog… that’s why I am really glad that I decided from the start to keep a personal journal at the end of each day. We’re still writing about things that happened in October, but it’s like they just happened yesterday because of the detailed notes and reflections I kept. They don’t all make it onto the blog, but I admit, it’s nice to have and I’m glad I’ve kept up with it (though sometimes it’s hard to!).

    We made some of the same mistakes as you early on too though, namely moving too fast (especially in Japan! Thank goodness that only lasted 1 month!) and over-planning. I think we’ve managed to find a balance for all of those things now (honestly, moving every 4 – 5 days is the pace we like… 2 or 3 is a bit too fast though!), but I think the key to success on the road is just being willing to continuously adapt!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yes I’m glad we caught it early on too, our traveling habits evolved last year and we’ve definitely learn to balance it all out one way or another. Good for you and your detailed note taking.. I do wish I was better at it but I’m learning.. hehe =)

  • http://twitter.com/travel_edits TravelEdits

    Such a shame that your camera broke twice! It’s awful when you lose out on photos – glad it all worked out in the end though. Oh, and I too am guilty of not taking notes. Sometimes you’e just having too much of a good time! 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Right?! Although I will admit it doesn’t take much time in the evening to reflect your day but it does when you’ve waited for months to write something down. Haha.. Having too much fun – I blame that.

  • TravelEdits

    Such a shame that your camera broke twice! It’s awful when you lose out on photos – glad it all worked out in the end though. Oh, and I too am guilty of not taking notes. Sometimes you’e just having too much of a good time! 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Right?! Although I will admit it doesn’t take much time in the evening to reflect your day but it does when you’ve waited for months to write something down. Haha.. Having too much fun – I blame that.

  • http://twitter.com/jettingaround Pola (JettingAround)

    Not taking notes?! Blasphemy!! I can breathe now… 😉 You still have provided some great trip coverage. Sucks about the camera though, sorry to hear that.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I know I know.. shame on me. 🙁

  • http://www.jettingaround.com/ Pola

    Not taking notes?! Blasphemy!! I can breathe now… 😉 You still have provided some great trip coverage. Sucks about the camera though, sorry to hear that.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I know I know.. shame on me. 🙁

  • Christian Masadre

    I’m so excited for you guys on your next trip, please make it to the Philippines! You’ll go crazy with our fine beaches here. And the best thing is everything here is pretty cheap. 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I’ve heard nothing but great things about the beaches – I’m looking forward to the day we go PI!

  • Christian Masadre

    I’m so excited for you guys on your next trip, please make it to the Philippines! You’ll go crazy with our fine beaches here. And the best thing is everything here is pretty cheap. 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I’ve heard nothing but great things about the beaches – I’m looking forward to the day we go PI!

  • http://twitter.com/LolaDiMarco Lauren DiMarco

    i make a lot of the same mistakes! as far as the Philippines goes…well, just an excuse to keep on travelin’ friends. no mistake there 😉

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      But of course. Thank goodness the world is a big, big place.

  • lola

    i make a lot of the same mistakes! as far as the Philippines goes…well, just an excuse to keep on travelin’ friends. no mistake there 😉

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      But of course. Thank goodness the world is a big, big place.

  • http://twitter.com/lazytravelers Lazy Travelers

    perfect timing!! we are definitely going to be guilty of overspending in australia, i can tell already…

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      It’ll be money well spent. Just plan your meals better than we did and you’ll save money. 🙂

  • Lazy Travelers

    perfect timing!! we are definitely going to be guilty of overspending in australia, i can tell already…

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      It’ll be money well spent. Just plan your meals better than we did and you’ll save money. 🙂

  • http://www.theworldofdeej.com The World of Deej

    Great lessons learned here…the writing stuff down is something I’ve been trying to improve. So often I turn to MJ to ask about events because they are fuzzy.

  • http://www.theworldofdeej.com The World of Deej

    Great lessons learned here…the writing stuff down is something I’ve been trying to improve. So often I turn to MJ to ask about events because they are fuzzy.

  • http://twitter.com/TheWrldWanderer The World Wanderer

    I’ve had some issues with these things too. Not packing warm enough – happened in Africa. Lazy when it comes to the blog – happened in Africa. Not writing anything down – always happens. Haha, see, you’re in good company! Now, we need to work on them for next time!

  • The World Wanderer

    I’ve had some issues with these things too. Not packing warm enough – happened in Africa. Lazy when it comes to the blog – happened in Africa. Not writing anything down – always happens. Haha, see, you’re in good company! Now, we need to work on them for next time!

  • http://travelingted.com/ Traveling Ted

    This is a great post for those planning a RTW. The fact that you missed a couple of cool countries just means you have something to look forward to.

  • http://travelingted.com/ Traveling Ted

    This is a great post for those planning a RTW. The fact that you missed a couple of cool countries just means you have something to look forward to.

  • pasturebraised

    Great post. We are almost 1/2 way through out RTW trip and already have some regrets in South America. Namely how much time we spent in Brazil. (Talk about expensive!) Taking it Slow and Low is the way to go though. When we started we had WAY to many destinations. We quickly learned after a few months on the road that trying to jam pack everything in is way more stressful then taking your time and getting to know a place.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Oh we spent Reveillon in Brazil.. mainly Rio. Definitely blew a hole in our wallets and we were only there for 10 days! Haha.. I think having an itinerary is great but being able to have that flexibility to modify it is even better. Especially having been on the road for a while.. low and slow is definitely the way to go. Not about checking off a list, right? All in the experience.. 🙂 Jealous you guys are still traveling. lol

  • pasturebraised

    Great post. We are almost 1/2 way through out RTW trip and already have some regrets in South America. Namely how much time we spent in Brazil. (Talk about expensive!) Taking it Slow and Low is the way to go though. When we started we had WAY to many destinations. We quickly learned after a few months on the road that trying to jam pack everything in is way more stressful then taking your time and getting to know a place.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Oh we spent Reveillon in Brazil.. mainly Rio. Definitely blew a hole in our wallets and we were only there for 10 days! Haha.. I think having an itinerary is great but being able to have that flexibility to modify it is even better. Especially having been on the road for a while.. low and slow is definitely the way to go. Not about checking off a list, right? All in the experience.. 🙂 Jealous you guys are still traveling. lol

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