23 Years. 21 Countries. 54 Cities. Here’s What I’ve Learned.

23 Years. 21 Countries. 54 Cities. Here’s What I’ve Learned.

Travelling is great for opening your mind and being exposed to new cultures and experiences. This was true for Nicole, who’s been fortunate enough to clock up some solid time exploring the world. Here are some valuable lessons, tips and tricks that Nicole picked up along her way.

The idea of a holiday sounds so appealing that often it’s tempting to fall for the travel scams without thinking of the repercussions. Those memes that say “book the flight, worry about it later” don’t exactly help either.

But unfortunately, travelling is a lot harder than it seems on Instagram. Not every hotel is as glamorous nor every experience so smooth-sailing. With 12 overseas trips total, one solo and another with my partner for three months, some could say I’m well-travelled. So, from me to you, here are five things you need to look out for in order to have the time of your life.

1. Budget and book smart

Not having the stress of paying for flights and accommodation while you’re travelling is extremely helpful. Pay for things upfront and leave with only the spending money you’ll need for the actual trip.

Before you make any payments, my suggestion would be to set up a spreadsheet with potential cities, your income and the rough estimated cost. A safe budget is $100 AUD a day. If you know one place is a lot more expensive than another, alter it accordingly.

When searching for flights one huge tip is to search in incognito mode or private browsing mode to avoid browser cookies remembering your searches and driving the prices up. Travel agencies are smart—the more you search for particular routes and destinations, the more likely you are to book faster if you see the prices rising.

2. Accept that not every holiday is perfect

Holidays can get tricky. There are complications with hotels, shuttle services, money, getting lost and language barriers to name a few challenges.

There are certain circumstances you just can’t control but what you can control is your attitude towards them. Make sure you see every inconvenience in a positive light. So your taxi may have abandoned you at the airport or maybe your flight is delayed. Just remember that with a good attitude you’ll look back at the challenges of any trip with fondness.

Nicole overlooking Rome (2016) 

3. Why research is so important

It’s easy to write a list of all the places we wish to visit without actually doing any research. But sometimes things simply can’t work and you need to be okay with that.

When travelling to Spain there were five different cities I desperately wanted to see, but geographically it was almost impossible in such a small time-frame. Two cities were on opposite ends and there were no planes or trains between them. It would have taken me two whole days of travel to be in a city for just 24 hours. Though I would have loved to visit, I accepted that it’s not always possible to cram so many places in.

4. The value in seeing the world

Travelling not only challenges you as a person and puts you outside your comfort zone, it also exposes you to different cultures and all sorts of different living conditions. My curiosity is always in overdrive, and it makes me appreciate home in Australia and how lucky I am to be able to travel across the globe.

Many can attest to that feeling when you get back from a holiday and you feel like you no longer belong where you came from. Travelling noticeably changes your perspective and sometimes it’s hard to adjust back to your everyday life. I think it’s vital that everyone experiences this feeling at least once in their life in order to grow as a person.

5. No regrets (but seriously)

Overall, if you want to travel the world, know that with enough commitment and sacrifice it is possible. You just need to work hard, do your research, be open to change, make the most of your trip, do it when you can, take plenty of photos, pack your bags and go.


Left: Nicole in Malta (2019) | Right: Nicole in Jersuleum (2018)