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The Things We Did Wrong On Our RTW Trip | Don't Ever Look Back

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The Things We Did Wrong On Our RTW Trip

The Things We Did Wrong On Our RTW Trip

We were delighted that we did a lot of things right on our round-the-world trip, but not everything went as planned and we also made our fair share of mistakes during the journey.

Fortunately none of these mistakes were too major, however we hope you can still learn something from them if you’re planning an extended trip in the future.

Our diet was appalling.

Kieron eating a Big Mac

We were determined to eat as healthy as we could on our travels, but this soon went out the window as price and convenience became the first things we looked for. Our fast food count, which initially was a bit of fun, quickly became embarrassing as the tally grew rapidly and it didn’t take long before we realized we were getting fat.

Please, pay a little more money and go for the healthier option when you’re on the road – your body will thank you for it!

We left flight bookings until the last minute.

Hire Car from San Antonio to Houston

Although our flexibility opened up some amazing experiences for us, it also hurt us at times as well. We hesitated on booking flights until the last minute (even though we were always going to take them) only to find that the price of them jumped sharply as our departure date approached.

That meant we needed to spend much more money than we should have or needed to come up with a creative plan at short notice to keep our costs down. The worst? Having to hire a one-way rental car and drive it from San Antonio to Houston simply to catch a flight but save nearly $400 in the process!

We spent way more money than planned.

We burned through the money on our RTW!

We never set a fixed budget on our travels but had hoped to keep our spending to $100-$150 per day in North America and Western Europe. By the end of our journey, our daily spending average was closer to $200 per day which when spread over 4-5 months does make a lot of difference!

Although we have no regrets on spending so much, it would definitely have helped our trip planning had we spent more time coming up with a realistic budget estimate before departing.

We moved around too much.

Another airport.

Although it was something we said we didn’t want to do, we fell into the trap of moving around too much and trying to see everything we could. It led to us suffering from travel burnout a couple of times on our journey which resulted in a few completely wasted days.

On the upside, it opened our eyes and made us realize that we’d rather do short trips to a variety of destinations rather than travel indefinitely. Now we just need some all inclusive vacations to recharge the batteries!

We traveled through different climates.

In the snow!

Iceland was our favorite destination on our RTW trip, but including it on our itinerary caused all sorts of havoc on what we had in our luggage.

When you jump from the summer heat of Las Vegas and San Antonio to the sub-zero temperatures in Iceland, you need more than just a pair of jeans and a sweater. We had to purchase all new winter gear while in New York and spent well over $1000 on waterproof clothing, base layers, accessories and footwear as well as sending all of our summer gear back to Australia.

It’s little wonder a lot of travelers chase summer on their extended trips. It would make packing a hell of a lot easier (and cheaper too!).

We spent too long in the USA.

USA Flag

At first 83 days in the USA seemed like a dream way to start our journey – we love the country and still had so much to see there. For the first month we were happy with our decision and things were good.

But when the budget started rapidly declining (we spent 50% of our travel fund in the United States) and we were forced to find places to stay just to “waste time” between cities, we knew we had spent too long there.

It’s a shame that we missed out on so much in Europe because of this decision but as the clichés goes, you learn from your mistakes and there’s always next time.

We visited Las Vegas on a long weekend.

What happens in Vegas...

We thought spending the Labor Day Long Weekend in Las Vegas would be an epic way to finish our road trip through California. Soon we realized that it wasn’t – you could barely move on the strip (us and crowds don’t get along!), everything was overpriced more than usual and there were so many douchebags walking around you couldn’t possibly keep count.

It wasn’t a complete write-off though – we did have the biggest, drunkest night of our entire trip at XS Nightclub thanks to Kieu from GQ Trippin.

Hopefully you can learn from our mistakes and fare better on your next travel adventure!


  1. Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Some great points there Kieron – I think diet is one of the easiest things to let slide and yet one of the easiest things to rectify if you keep an eye on it…I doubt those days in the USA helped =/
    Slow and steady wins the race as they say and I got ‘burn out’ a couple of times in Asia and almost every day when I was in Africa changing campsites every 24 hours…exhausting!
    At least you know your mistakes now and can change them for your next trip =)
    Toni recently posted..Learning to say goodbye

    • Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      Once you become aware of the mistakes you’re making with your diet, they’re fairly easy to fix. It just takes time to realize sometimes.

      There is nothing worse than having to pack and unpack repeatedly – we’ve definitely become fans of arriving at a destination, unpacking everything and staying for a while. It does become exhausting when sometimes all you want is an afternoon (or even a whole day) just to relax and do nothing.

      We sure did learn a lot from our RTW and certainly won’t be making these mistakes again!

  2. Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Wow!! Love this post it’s so honest. It’s good that you can admit you’re mistakes so other people don’t do the same things. Well done! I know ALL about the fast food too I put on a whopping 2 STONE over the last year and so far I’ve only lost 1/2 stone huffff. Weight loss is much more difficult than weight gain xx
    George recently posted..Looking Back and Moving Forward: My 2011 and the year ahead!

    • Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      We guess the only way you can learn and improve is by admitting your mistakes.

      Whoa – that’s a decent gain! It sure is harder to work it off (I honestly think the two of us are addicted to junk food!) but the results will be worth it at the end. Good luck!

  3. Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s great that you’ve recognised the mistakes you’ve made and you’ve learnt from them. I think everyone does loads of things ‘wrong’ on their first big trip but as long as you learn from them I don’t really think it matters.

    The thing I always struggle with is what I should and what I shouldn’t plan. I love to be organised and book cheap flights in advance but then you can end up with loads of restrictions and not having enough time (or way too much time) in one particular place.

    I guess travel is a journey and you’ll always be learning from your mistakes and learning new things along the way.

    • Posted January 11, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Thanks Monica, I think you never stop learning while you’re traveling which is why everybody should be getting out there as much as they possibly can.

      Finding that balance between organized and spontaneous is always tough and it’s a shame that airlines aren’t more flexible. We deliberately flew Southwest in the US because you could change your flights without restriction which allowed us to alter our plans when necessary (plus they don’t charge for baggage!).

  4. ken stanphill
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    Living in Las Vegas I know the prices go way up on a holiday weekend staying during the week you save about 75% on hotels and no crowds.Eating in the US is just crazy everyone is FAT I’m not fat but still a good 10 pounds over weight.No one needs a 40 oz. soda.Airline flights you just don’t know I’ve made them in advance and they have gone down and at the last minute I’ve seen them change by the minute.Priceline you can sometimes get a good flight when you bid for a flight like the hotels.

    • Posted January 11, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Yeah we definitely messed up on visiting Vegas on a long weekend but it was still an experience that’s for sure. You’re right about the soda – we often shared the large ones and couldn’t finish them between the both of us!

      Good point about the fares going down as well but when you see a good price on an airline like Southwest, you should definitely book it!

  5. Posted January 11, 2012 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Great post. I wish I had read this 6 months ago because I’ve made EVERY SINGLE one of those mistakes on my current trip, except substitute USA for Argentina and Las Vegas for Santa Marta, Colombia! I’m thinking about writing a similar post but think it might look rather like yours 🙂
    Runaway Brit recently posted..Meet the Escobars – Medellin’s Most Unique Tour

    • Posted January 11, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Haha we’ve fallen into some of these traps before but hopefully next time around we’ll know better. You should definitely write that post, I’m sure we have different readers and they need to be able to learn from our mistakes! 🙂

  6. Posted January 11, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    LOL, I love the expression in that first photo. “What am I doing to myself?”
    Candice recently posted..The Surprises of Central Newfoundland

  7. Matthew Cheyne
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    It’s refreshing to hear an honest bare bones appraisal of how your trip went. This is the first time I’ve read on a blog all the things that went wrong so I have to take my hat off to you. Consider them all lessons learned. In the future you won’t make those same mistakes again and you’re health and bottom line will be much better off for it.

    At least you guys had the courage to set forth and do the whole trip. There are a lot of people in the world who are still dreaming of the trip you guys just completed.

    • Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Matthew – fortunately our mistakes weren’t anything too bad. But definitely something to learn from and improve on the next time we travel.

      Perhaps we should’ve said that “just doing it” was one of the best things we did, because it truly was. 🙂

  8. Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    After a long busy few days I am catching up on reader… um I had no clue y’alls RTW trip was over. When did it end? Why so short? What’s next? I’m just so curious… I love y’alls blog hope y’all keep it up!!! As for the 10 right & 10 wrong… love these post. I think I can agree with all of them during the 1st 6-7 months of my trip… after that is when I learned.
    Jaime recently posted..HAPPY NEW YEAR from ISTANBUL, TURKEY!!!

    • Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Amy came back at the end of November and I came back in mid-December after some Thai Kickboxing. We came back for Christmas and a family wedding on NYE and our budget was nearly all gone (see above!). No idea what’s next, probably a bit of time exploring our own country!

      So impressed that you’re still going strong on your travels… all the best!

  9. Chelsea
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Love the honesty of this post, Amy & Kieron! Sometimes the whimsical annecdotes in travel blogs make you feel like you’re the only one who’s ever made mistakes on the road. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip in future posts and see what’s next for you. PS – I know it didn’t feature here, but every time you post a picture of your Beluga Whale experience I just want to jump in the pool and give it a cuddle.

    • Posted January 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Chelsea, everybody has made mistakes while traveling – I guess it’s a shame that not more bloggers can share them with their readers.

      Haha we feel the same every time we look at those photos! 😀

  10. Posted January 12, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I love this post. I can totally relate. We have been road tripping for 37 days now and have another 3 weeks to go in the USA. We are flying to Miami tomorrow! Completely agree with the junk food, we are struggling to find affordable healthy food! I also know what you mean about travel burn out! try doing it with a toddler in tow. We are starting to go crazy! 🙂

    • Posted January 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      It’s a major challenge keeping healthy! The Subway $5 dollar footlong became a staple in our diet towards the end of our trip.

      Massive kudos for traveling with a toddler! We couldn’t imagine doing it for an extended trip although I’m sure it will be extremely rewarding once you’re all done. 🙂

  11. Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Overall, though, it seems like you guys learned from your mistakes, and didn’t have any huge mishaps. You’ll be much better prepared next time! 😉
    Amanda recently posted..Best Blogs of the Month: December, 2011

    • Posted January 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      We were extremely fortunate not to have anything too bad happen to us. Definitely will be more prepared next time around.

  12. Posted January 13, 2012 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Such great tips guys!!! We are also starting our RTW with an 85 day road trip in the USA. Granted, we are from the US so can take advantage of staying with friends. Plus, we are going to do a lot of camping and backpacking at National Parks. Even so, the US is still expected to be our most expensive place.
    Kim recently posted..Why I’m quitting my job to travel

  13. Posted January 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Heck yea, Vegas! I’m flattered to be on your WRONG list. I’m willing to make the same mistake when we get to Melbourne. lol.
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..RTW: Q’s Packing List

  14. Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Its so hard packing for different climates! thats good advice
    Jade – OurOyster.com recently posted..Best of/Worst of Travel in 2011

  15. Posted March 2, 2012 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing these tips. I’m worried about setting up our budget for South America because we really don’t know how many days we want to spend in each country which makes figuring out a budget kind of hard. As for your Vegas trip, never been there myself but I would have to say it may be worth it just for the fact that you earned this quote out of it, “we did have the biggest, drunkest night of our entire trip”

    Cornelius Aesop recently posted..New Brew Tuesday: Spaten Optimator

  16. Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    My first RTW trip was 9 weeks, 4 continents and 20+ flights. The RTW ticket ended up being great value for getting to see places that are expensive to get to on individual tickets, but the biggest positive was that I found out where I was most interested in spending the money/time to go back to for a longer period of time. Now I hardly do any moving around when I travel. In general completely agree with the “moving around too much” mistake, except if just doing it to see where you want to go back to for longer.
    30traveler recently posted..Apartment Rentals: What Does $400 a Week Get You?

    • Posted October 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Wow, that is one jam packed RTW trip! If that’s your objective then it’s possibly a great way to go traveling (same as those European bus tours where you only get to see the highlights). We’ve just spent an entire weekend traveling around the one city with a grand total of 2 hours of spare time and it refreshed our memories as to why we don’t like rushing our travels… so exhausting!

  17. Posted November 12, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    So easy to fall into those traps! I love to eat local so try to avoid the junk food at all cost – go for the street eats to save a penny, or eat at the market and grocery store! Always good to be reminded though as it is so easy to fall into them again!
    Even with the oops and what nots – sounds like a brilliant time out! Well done. I know that slow travel is my pref – so I am hoping to do the RTW over a few years – immersion in each place as much as possible!
    Happy travels.
    Anita Mac recently posted..A Remembrance Day Message

  18. Michele Watson
    Posted March 10, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Two things I’ve done wrong on previous trips was, a) going to places without researching sufficiently. Spent hundreds of dollars on luxury overwater bungalows; when we got there we realised that the water was full of stonefish, it was muddy, and there were too many reasons to list as to why these bungalows were cheaper than anything in the South Pacific. Lesson learned: Tripadvisor. If I’d checked before booking, believe me this resort (and possibly the whole city or even island we chose) would never have made it onto our itinerary.

    Secondly, booked a trip to Canada, at the last minute my new boyfriend said he would come too, but only for the first 2 weeks of a four week trip. We spent two glorious weeks together, then he went home. I moseyed around by myself for a week, missed him far too much and went home early, spending an extra $1000 in the process. Lesson learned: don’t *overestimate* your ability to travel solo, especially if you’ve never done it before and are painfully shy (and don’t drink). Sometimes, it’s just plain old everyday LONELY.

  19. Posted May 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    HEY! I’m just starting my RTW very soon. I enjoyed reading your advice on what not to do while doing such a trip. Of course, as being a different experience from mine, I will take in consideration all your important topics. thanks for sharing, greetings from MOROCCO!
    Joao Leitao TRAVEL recently posted..Countries to Visit that Don’t really Exist

  20. Posted July 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Diet and travel are like oil and water. It’s so hard to eat well when you’re not thinking about making your own breakfast lunch and dinner and local delicacies are rarely good for you. Having a steady exercise routine is just as hard. That’s why we’re dedicating a whole section of our blog on health while traveling.
    Jade – We Travel and recently posted..Top Ten Ways to Cure Your Wanderlust Blues From Home

  21. Posted October 9, 2013 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Great post! I know that it will prove enlightening to those planning extended travel. As the comments suggest, many people make the same basic decisions so it’s great to see bloggers like yourselves writing about what you learned while traveling in hopes that you can save others time and money on their RTW excursions!
    Mary@GreenGlobalTrvl recently posted..JORDAN: Why I’d Prefer to Forget Visiting the Dead Sea, Jordan

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