My three travel regrets

Hi Frugalistas!

Two of my Twitter galpals, Vanessa of Turnipseeds Travel (@turnipseeds) and Pola of Jetting Around (@jettingaround) have recently written about their own travel regrets.  Vanessa kindly tagged me, inviting me to do the same.

Now, regular readers will know I’m not one to contribute to these types of blog strategies.  This one is a little different – it’s an interesting topic, and one that got me thinking.  So, here we go!

1.  Not always traveling light

I have a confession to make.  When I first started traveling in my early 20s I didn’t pack light.  In fact I had a seriously dreadful overpacking habit – you name it, I overpacked it.

My evolution to ultralight, one bag packer has been a long one.  One that continues (wait till you see what I’m taking to Europe in April!)  The big change for me came when I realised that the only one who cared about what I was wearing, and how often I had a change of outfit was me!  The other great realisations I had was that two pairs of shoes are actually plenty, and that 100ml (3 oz) of any liquid in your toilet bag actually lasts far longer than most trips.

I confess.  I'm a reformed chronic overpacker!

I confess. I’m a reformed chronic overpacker!

2.  Not always being present in the moment

It’s so easy when you travel to get caught up with getting the perfect photo of wherever you happen to be, or to hunt down that perfect souvenir.  It’s even easier when you have a blog, that you want/need content and photos for.  It takes a real mental discipline to just enjoy and be present in the moment.  And I’m very guilty of not always exercising that self-discipline.  It is something I regret.  During my travels this year I vow to put the camera away, breathe in and simply soak in my location.

I promise!  I'll try to sit back and enjoy the view

I promise! I’ll try to sit back and enjoy the view

3.  Not visiting the United Arab Emirates

For we Aussies, traveling to Europe invariably means a change of plane or at least a transit en route.  For the past 3-4 years I’ve transited in the UAE.  I really regret not taking the time to step out of the airport and actually seeing what I’m seeing from the air and transit lounge window.  I make all sorts of excuses – “it’s too hot”, “I don’t have time” etc etc……..

It’s on my list, and I will get there, but at the moment it remains a regret…….

I really want to get past the transit lounge in the UAE and see what's on the other side!

I really want to get past the transit lounge in the UAE and see what’s on the other side!

I’m not one to have regrets and I don’t feel as though any of these regrets are mistakes.  It’s all just part of the process of self-realisation, learning and creating change as you learn.  Travel is a part of life, and aren’t those things what life is all about?

I don’t participate in blog chains, so I’m not going to tag anyone to write their own piece on travel regrets.  But, just this once, if anyone wants to write their own piece on their own travel regrets and post the link in the comments section of this post, I’ll approve it so we can all share!


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19 Comments on “My three travel regrets”

  1. sarahcradit 02/03/2013 at 3:35 pm #

    I am definitely guilty of all three of these! I’ve gotten better at packing, but I still worry about not having everything I need when I am abroad. On #2, I always tell myself that that “great picture” will make the memory, but I find when I go back through pictures later I can’t always remember how I was feeling or where exactly even I was when the photo was taken. I remember one time just relaxing and sitting in front of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and my camera was in my purse, and I was just taking in everything around me. It was one of those “aha” moments similar to what you wrote above.

    As for the third, I do fairly well with taking layovers in cool cities, but the UAE and China are two places I regret not spending time at. With the UAE it was more laziness than anything, but with China it’s that silly visa requirement for the USA. I hear they are lifting it soon (for up to 72 hour visits) so next time I fly through I should be able to take some time 🙂

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 02/03/2013 at 3:38 pm #

      I’m going to Istanbul later in the year, and am so conscious of making sure I take it all in.

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nin 02/03/2013 at 4:25 pm #

    I think the issue is what to pack when you travel. I have no problem of traveling light when I was a solo traveler, but now that I’ve married, the purpose of travel had change a bit, and I am still confuse on what to pack…

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 02/03/2013 at 4:34 pm #

      My husband (and young daughter) all travel light. My husband loves not having to be the luggage porter! Have a look at my packing posts to get some ideas about how to do it lightly!

      Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment

  3. I really like your choices – and I’m glad you decided to write your take on travel regrets. 🙂 It took me a while to learn how to pack light (did I really need to bring 5 pairs of shoes for a week in Hawaii?). I also know what it’s like to be glued to the camera at times. But like you said, travel is a learning process. 🙂

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 02/03/2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Ha!Ha! Five pairs of shoes have been to Hawaii with me too! Glad you approve of my choices. Thanks for starting us on this journey!

  4. MMAndamon 04/03/2013 at 10:48 pm #

    Wonderful post! Guilty of the first two of your regrets. I have yet to conquer the tendency to overpack. Hmm… will it be easy to put away the camera? 🙂 But I must admit – the camera does ‘get in the way’ of my fully experiencing the places I visit.

    As for the third regret, thus far, I’ve always transited in Singapore and I haven’t had the chance to go via UAE yet. Perhaps, my upcoming trip mid-year will give me that chance. But since it will be my first visit to Dubai, I might just soak up what airport has to offer. 🙂

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 05/03/2013 at 6:20 am #

      I usually go via Abu Dhabi. I believe the shopping at Dubai airport is to die for! Hope you enjoy it. Maybe we’ll both get out of the airport next time.

  5. Megan @ Roamancing 07/03/2013 at 9:33 am #

    Number one is one of my travel regrets too! But I learned my lesson and now I always pack light. Probably my biggest travel regret is not doing/seeing more on a trip, but I think I’ll always feel that way no matter how much I do!

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 07/03/2013 at 6:47 pm #

      Yes, I think I should ‘do’ more when I travel, but you can turn it around and make it an excuse to go back!

      Thanks for our contribution Megan!

  6. Gemma 13/03/2013 at 2:33 am #

    Well my cameras a bit broken so that solves being in the moment. Might need it for upcoming trip to Australia with mum to visit my brother tho. Don’t want to entirely depend on my memory :-p
    As for packing light, I’m going to attempt that for this trip too.
    From my rtw trip in 04/05 I wish I’d kept in touch with more of those people I met and shared memories and experiences with.

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 13/03/2013 at 8:50 am #

      Hi Gemma, what a great list. Keeping in touch with people is always difficult, despite the best of intentions.

      Enjoy your trip down to my neck of the woods! 🙂

  7. holidayaddict 27/03/2013 at 12:20 am #

    Hi Jo – I loved this post. I completely relate to your regrets 1 & 2! I’ve been meaning to write my own article since I read yours – I finally got round to it!

  8. jpilkington09 31/03/2013 at 2:22 am #

    I was always one for never putting my camera down until I realised I was only ever seeing stuff through a camera lens. I now make a conscious effort to really take something in before snapping it.

    One of my biggest regrets is not travelling enough when I was living in Russia. I didn’t have much money, but I wish I’d begged, borrowed and stolen to see more of the country. I’m now back in the UK and it’s so much harder to get out there.

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 31/03/2013 at 7:55 am #

      Yes, not making the effort to see ‘enough’ or ‘everything’ is always difficult. I think it’s important not to beat yourself up over things like that – it will still be there next time you get the chance, whenever that is.

      Amazing the number of people who’ve talked about the camera obsession!

  9. Ipshita Sharma 22/10/2014 at 10:19 pm #

    I live in Dubai and it is definitely wortha gander around. The cultural experiences and the shock-value experiences are both worth atleast a long weekend here. I’d be careful of venturing out in the summer months but anytime between November and March is fair play. Let me know if you have any questions about getting around here, I’m a bit of an expert in the kooky, hidden gems department. See you soon I hope.


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