Questions for Travellers
As frequent travellers, we often get asked the same questions over and over again. So I asked the same question of some of my blogging colleagues and travel writers. What are the most frequently asked questions for travellers that you hear?
Of course, there is the usual stuff like what do you pack when you plan on hiking, biking or climbing mountains. How do you get access to your bank accounts? What do you do with your cell phone to make calls home to keep in touch?
There’s always the funny ones we get as Canadians when travelling in Ireland – “my Uncle Bob lives in Canada do you know him? I don’t mean to insult anyone lol but we are very surprised that folks in the British Isles and in Ireland can usually tell we are Canadian and are terribly embarrassed when they ask if we are American and quickly apologize when we say no.
Here it is the answers to all the Questions for Travellers:
- How do you feel about not any friends or family around?
I’ve always loved that Irish expression “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet”. Sure we miss our friends and family but the truth is our kids are grown and really don’t need us anymore and certainly don’t want us hanging around. My friends are my family and I make new ones all the time.
I also really enjoy a solitary lifestyle. I am happiest hanging out at my home base, doing something crafty or sewing. Reading a book time is super important as well. Here in Ireland though it’s pretty easy to meet people, just hang out in the pub or go to the same restaurant twice – everyone knows you.
- Don’t you want to meet someone and get married and have kids?
Younger bloggers and travel writers get asked this all the time. My response is “who says I have to get married to have kids, and maybe I don’t want kids”. That gets a few shock horror responses. But really what better to way meet people and potentially the love of your life by getting out and travelling?
- Aren’t you too old to be “homeless”?
Okay so I’m heading up to 60, so freaking what age is just a number and I always promised myself that I would travel the world while I still can. I don’t want to wait until I’m 80 and can afford to take loads of cruises. I want to travel now while I’m young enough to enjoy it and healthy enough not to need a walker.
Although these days I have to take a break in between travel days as it can be so freaking exhausting.
And no I don’t have a “home” I don’t own a house and sometimes I do get the urge to have all that but then I factor in all the money I saved decorating, fixing, polishing, buying fancy clothes and tons of shoes and I count my travel blessings.
- What are some common items savvy travellers bring with them (that less-savvy travellers don’t)?
This question for travellers is truly a golden oldie I don’t know a traveller who hasn’t been asked this. We always travel with a collapsible silicone coffee filter. In England and Ireland very often the coffee served in B&B’s or hotels is instant. I once heard Italian women say “Instant coffee!!! You might as well serve me my own urine”. This is a critical travel device and it folds flat.
Don’t forget a small power strip preferably a Universal one with USB ports. Fabulously convenient and helps out in every situation and every country.
Questions for travellers always include “what are you best tips for travel?” So here are few travelling trips
- Keep a photograph of your luggage and passport on your phone and laptop; lose any of them, and you’ll be grateful for the reference.
- ONLY take carryon because you never know when your luggage will be lost or delayed.
- Using Packing Cubes to help reduce the bulk of your clothes.
- Always take a few Euros or whatever is the local currency with you. Don’t take big bills but you may need small change for a coffee or a toll.
- Take an extra bank card or debit card with you, just in case your spouse leaves it in the last bank machine you were at.
- Check in with the local tourist office to find out if there are any free tours or sites to see. Here in Ireland on the first Wednesday of the month, the OPW offers free entry to hundreds of incredibly historic Irish castles and buildings.
- If you are a foodie take a food tour then you will know exactly when to eat where.
- What’s it really like to be a travel writer?
It sure as hell ain’t glamorous and the travelling sucks because the getting there can be brutal. Delayed or cancelled flights, overpriced airport food, bad food anywhere and everywhere.
It’s also bloody hard work. People can complain about the ads on blogs forever in a day but they need to understand this is a JOB. We, bloggers/travel writers, spend many hours going over our writing, checking and re-sizing our photos or finding a decent shot to put in an article. This is a true small business. So help us out. Click on that story and re-pin that pin.
- Does your husband mind? by Rachel of Rachel’s Ruminations
When I’m travelling, and people I meet find out that I’m married, but travelling alone, I get the same response every time. It doesn’t matter if the person is young or old, male or female: up go the eyebrows, followed by a breathless “Doesn’t your husband mind?”
I never know quite what to respond. I could take the outspoken feminist approach, which is the one that suits me best: “It doesn’t matter if he minds. I’m my own person and I can do what I want. I don’t need his permission. And we’re not joined at the hip, thank goodness.” Or the old-fashioned wife approach: “Yes, he minds, but he’s such a sweetheart that he wants me to do what I want.” Or cut off the discussion entirely with a simple “No, he doesn’t mind,” which I’m sure makes them think I’m headed for divorce. Which would you say?
- What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? By Ingrid of Second Half Travels
I don’t eat much meat, so I feel like people are disappointed by my answer to this question! I can say I’ve had chicken feet in China; yak in Tibet; guinea pig in Peru; stinky tofu in Taiwan; and ant eggs, worms, and grasshoppers in Mexico.
- Do you carry a gun? By Sheri of Wander Libre
My husband and I have been travelling for years and have developed a passion for independent travel via many different modes (4×4, bicycle, motorcycle, etc), often to places that are considered dangerous. We’ve travelled extensively through Africa in a Toyota Land Cruiser through countries like Nigeria, Angola, Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The one question we are asked more than any other – from family and friends, strangers, and even police at roadblocks and border officials at border crossings, is “do you carry a gun? You will definitely need a gun.” I think people have images of danger and violence at every turn in Africa, but we never considered carrying a gun for many reasons.
We stay informed and vigilant as we travel, and while we’ve been involved in a couple of uncomfortable situations, there has never been a time when a gun would have solved our problems. The truth is, the acts of kindness and generosity we experience in Africa far outweigh any acts of aggression. And that’s why we go back to Africa time and time again – always without a gun.
- How will you handle the language barrier? By Dani of Live in 10 Countries
People ask because it’s one of the first worries that springs to mind. But it’s actually a lot less of a problem than you’d think, with smartphones able to photograph and translate characters, Google offering free translation and apps like Duolingo getting you buzzing with new vocab every day.
- How do you travel so much when you work full time? By Rebecca of Rebecca and the World
It’s the age-old dilemma: you want to see the world but you’ve also gotta work to pay for those travels, right? Well, I’ve found that it’s easier than you think to combine travel with a full-time job – you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. With a bit of good planning, you can travel more while working full time.
Here’s how I’ve managed to do it for the last 15 years: 1) I plan out my calendar at the start of the year, noting public holidays, business trips, events already locked in, key dates etc, and then I look at what “chunks” of time are available for travel; 2) I plot out in that calendar the trips I’d like to take and when they could work – always remaining flexible with my plans, of course; 3) I take advantage of national holidays – you can sometimes turn one well-placed public holiday into a week-long trip without eating into all of your vacation time!; and 4) I explore my own backyard and take shorter trips – not all travel has to be overseas.
Above all, I work hard so that when I do take time off, I’m leaving my team in the best possible position and they’re not complaining about me being gone again!
- Isn’t it hard to stay vegan while travelling? By Wendy of the Nomadic Vegan
When I first started thinking about becoming vegan back in 2014, one of the biggest fears holding me back was that it would ruin travel. But once I gave it a try, I was astounded to find that being vegan actually made travel better, not worse! Every trip has become like a treasure hunt, where I seek out vegan-friendly restaurants as well as dishes in the local cuisine that happen to be vegan. There are usually more than you’d think!
I knew lots of other people must have the same fears and misconceptions I’d held about vegan travel, and that’s why I created my blog, The Nomadic Vegan. It’s where I share all my restaurant recommendations and vegan discoveries around the world. Most of the time, I find so much great vegan food while travelling that I don’t have the time or the room in my stomach to taste it all. It’s a great problem to have!
- Don’t you miss home? By Hannah of Bold Destinations
I am a full-time traveller which means exactly what it sounds like; I travel the world full time and make money while doing it. I have a remote job that helps pay the bills and then I budget travel to keep my expenses low. My life is filled with adventure after adventure and constant change.
Throughout my travels one of the most asked questions I get is “Don’t you miss being home?” or “Don’t you miss having a place to call your own?”. My answer to both those questions is yes and… Yes, I miss the idea of home but travelling has taught me that home is what you make it. For me, home is less of a place and more of the people I am with.
The more I surround myself with loving, caring and honest relationships, the more I feel like I am home. As a long term traveller, I have learned to not get too attached to a way of life or a place and instead focus on forming everlasting relationships. Sure I might not always be in the same town or even country as my family and friends but by cultivating a strong and vulnerable connection with the people that mean the most to me I am able to stay connected no matter where I am. That connection, while it is usually from afar, always stays with me and reminds me that I will always have a home no matter where I go.
- How does it work, travelling with your spouse long-term? By Chris and Laura of Worthy Go.
I don’t get asked this as often as I used to, but travelling with the love of my life remains the most fulfilling element of travelling.
It might go without saying, but the biggest decisions are made together. Which countries do we want to go to, among others? Knowing our common interests helps, naturally — we both want speedy internet and hate the cold.
Three rules come to mind when travelling with a spouse/partner:
- Give each other space. Living together in (sometimes) tight places means wanting a little privacy — and a space within the space to call your own. To that end, one thing we look for when scouting Airbnb’s are doors to separate rooms and a table and a chair for each of us. Yes, this sounds surprising, but some places don’t always have these!
- You won’t always want to go to the same places — and that’s OK. This is when ‘Operation Separate Ways’ comes into play. For places only she’s interested in, she’ll go on her own, and the same with me. We’ll keep track of this in a shared Google Doc we have of places we want to visit.
- Know yourself — and your spouse/partner. I know my wife. I know when she’s stressed, not thinking clearly, or not on top of things. She knows when I’m frustrated, not focused, or angry at something. When I see that happening, I pull back and start looking out for things that might be in her blind spot, and vice versa. We’re not perfect, but we balance each other out.
- What countries are kid friendly? By Diana of The Elusive Family
There are 195 countries on earth and in every country live people, children and families. The question of which countries are kid-friendly is not the easiest to answer as it varies on the definition of what kid-friendly means. Does it mean countries with the most playgrounds, good children’s healthcare, stroller friendly, activities for children, etc;. Children are flexible and extremely adaptable, and wherever families go, being able to do the same is crucial for a real experience. It should matter less which country is kid friendly and more about where you want to go as a family and why the rest will fall into place.
- How long are you travelling for? By Jub of the Tiki Touring Kiwi
Answer: I’d say my travels started in 2013 when moving to Vancouver for the working holiday visa, I’ve bounced around the place since then. It’s tricky though, as I returned to the homeland New Zealand for a few months in 2018/2019, but was travelling around the country for a good portion of that time. Does that mean I’ve stopped travelling and need to restart the clock to February 2019 when I was last in New Zealand?
Or, if I want to keep things short and/or don’t feel like a deep conversation, I revert with I’ve got a wedding to attend back home in a few months, so I’ll hang out until then.
- Don’t you ever get tired of travelling? By Carol of WanderingCarol
Answer: I’m often tired from travelling, but I never get tired of travelling.
- What is your favourite country to visit? By Talek of Travels with Talek
When people know I’ve visited over 110 countries they naturally want to know which of these is my favourites. They seem disappointed when I tell them I don’t really have a favourite. All the countries have their own unique beauty.
A couple of places do pop up when I’m questioned through. I remember driving through the Amazon portion of Ecuador and being overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains and vegetation. For years I thought that had to be the most beautiful place on earth…until I saw Scotland. The areas around the rivers Dee and Dun in northeastern Scotland are just flat-out stunning.
Notable mention for outstanding natural beauty has got to go to Cuba. All of it is awesome.
It’s not just about natural beauty. What makes a country a favourite is the experiences you’ve had there. China comes to mind. I spent much time working in China where the Chinese treated me as if I had been born and raised among them.
But guess if I absolutely had to choose I’d have to vote for my home of New York City. That city, all lit up and glowing in the night sky with little Christmas-tree-like lights slung across the bridges…well, that’s really something.
- How close to death have you come on your travels? By Tom of Spaghetti Traveller
One of the questions I get asked a lot is around how close to death I have got while travelling. I have had my fair share of close shaves, including being stung by a stingray, anaconda tracking, swimming in a lake filled with alligators and cycling down Death Road, so I can see the logic in the question. But a number of people are scared to travel through South America as they are scared of the crime, something I reassure them is actually a lot safer than they imagine.
Being a wayfarer and avid traveller, I was approached by lot of tourists during my coveted trips and asked about destinations I cover and the carry on essentials that I prefer during my trips. Since I undertake mostly adventure and hiking trails, the questions were related to the hiking trails and accessories that I carry before planning the voyage.
- How can you afford to travel so much? By Wendy of Empty Nesters Hit the Road
Friends are always commenting on how often we travel. Often they are curious about the places we’ve been and how we can find the time to travel the world. But quite a few people ask how we afford to travel so frequently.
Travel isn’t cheap, but there are plenty of ways to travel affordably and comfortably. First, we remind friends and curious folks about the value of acquiring points with travel credit cards like Chase and American Express. The sign-up bonuses alone have provided us with tickets to places like Europe and Asia.
Next, we share the benefits of loyalty programs like Hotels.com. Stay ten nights and receive a night free. The value of the free night is the average of the paid nights. There are hundreds of loyalty programs available, the trick is to sign-up and then keep track of your progress.
Finally, we share the benefits of travelling off-season or during shoulder season (the time right before peak season). We’ve booked hotel rooms off-season for less than half the price of peak season. This also applies to airfare and tours. An additional benefit of off-season travel is reduced crowds!
Travel is possible, but to do it affordably takes planning and flexibility.
- What is the worst country for food? By Amber of Food and Drink Destinations
Because we travel for food, we often get asked about our favourite countries for food. It’s a hard question to answer because so many countries have amazing traditional cuisine. The harder question for us, though, is what is the worst country for food. Together, we’ve been to over 70 countries and I would hate to say I had bad food of any country. That said, there are the countries where we became sick while travelling and those are often on the top of my list, mostly because of the bad memories. We also add Chile to the top of the list. I like mayo, but they put obscene amounts of mayo on everything!
- How do you get good photos of yourself while travelling solo? By Coni of Experiencing the Globe
Over years of travelling, I’ve come to some important realizations. One of them is that people suck at taking pictures. This is terrible for me because I love photography. After not finding one photo of myself I can use in a particularly long trip, I decided that I’d take matters into my own hands. No more asking for photos. I’d start doing it myself! I mastered the art of programming my camera and sprinting to pose, usually provoking some smiles in the people around. Now I have amazing photos of every trip, including some in which I’m featured!
22. What country is your favourite? By Myles and Karen of Motoroaming
We travel full-time in our camper across Europe, and in our 40 months on the road, we are regularly asked; ’Of all the countries you’ve visited, which has been your favourite?’
In our early days I used to dread this question for fear, through my selection of said favourite, I would somehow demean the rest. Now I relish it. I relish it because I have learnt that travel is not a collection of favourites, best’s or worst’s. It is about experiences and discoveries; each country and community holding a unique pattern of traditions and culture for us to learn about. Some of those challenge us and some delight; either way, they enrich our lives beyond measure.
So many people look for travel to be a perfect gathering of moments with beautiful memories, crystal sharp photos and backgrounds that offer a magical Instagram perspective. Yet, we’ve learnt that it is so much more profound than this. Travel is about the perfectly imperfect experience; learning to see the beauty in flat landscapes, the shininess in grey facades and joy in all things. Some places we would return to in a heart-beat to dive deeper, whilst others remain a one-off experience. Either way, each country allows us a privileged glimpse into their authentic fabric, which together makes up the most amazing tapestry for our life on the road. With that philosophy how can there possibly be a favourite?
- I’ve heard there a big homeless problem there, is it safe? By Jo of TeaandCakeforthesoul
We often visit San Diego and areas in Los Angeles where there are large homeless communities. Most homeless people will not bother you. You can, of course, chose whether or not you want to give anything to them or walk on by. Most local authorities would rather you donate directly to a shelter so it goes to those who really need it. Unfortunately, there are many professional beggars. My rule of thumb is I never give to panhandlers at traffic lights but I will offer to buy food to those who genuinely look like they live on the streets. I quite often take food and drinks parcels round to them.
- Is it safe for women to travel in India? By Mariellen of Breathe Dream Go
As a female solo traveller from Canada who travels extensively in India and blogs about my travels, I get this question all the time. In fact, you can’t mention travel in India without someone asking this question! It’s ironic since when I was originally planning my first trip to India in 2005, travel safety for women barely came up in my research and I never gave it a lot of thought. However, that all changed after some terrible gang rapes in India in 2013 received a lot of global media attention.
I always say that asking if India (or anywhere) is safe is the wrong question. Anything can happen anywhere. It’s less about WHERE you travel than HOW you travel. (War-torn destinations excepted of course). Have you done your research? Are you travelling within your comfort zone? Are you practising safe travel strategies?
Each country is unique, and you need to find out the social norms, cultural etiquette, and best destinations for solo female travellers. For India, my post My top tips for women travelling in India will give you a lot of the information you need.
So, the short answer is yes. Yes, you can travel safely in India, millions do every year.
As a traveller have you been asked interesting questions, or even stupid questions lol – we all have our stories.