What makes a seasoned traveler?

Brooke Saward Casa del Mar
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If ever there were an elusive concept in the travel world, it would be the infamous claim to be a “Seasoned Traveler”. But what exactly makes a seasons traveler? Is it a defined number of flights, frequent flier points, or passport stamps? Perhaps it’s a high % of ‘places traveled’ on a world map? Whatever it is, it is a different definition for each of us. But for argument’s sake, let’s take a look at the…

Seize the day: if you're still in bed at noon, you might as well be at home

Seize the day: if you’re still in bed at noon, you might as well be at home

Top 10 signs you are a seasoned traveler

1. Your passport is filled with stamps from more than 3 continents

A seasoned traveller has found themselves in various time zones – experiencing various cultures – overheard conversations in various foreign languages – and stepped foot in at least 2 continents outside of their own.

2. You know the secrets of travel

Packing light, checking-in online, taking your valuables in your check-in baggage… all the (not so) common tricks of the trade now come naturally to you as you have done it enough for it to become second nature.

3. You think “what can I leave behind?” rather than “What should I take?”

The novice will begin writing a packing check-list as long as their arm, while the seasoned traveler will be emptying out their suitcase until they walk out the door. The seasoned traveler knows whatever they have left behind can merely be bought once at the destination, and has probably learned to do without said items anyway…

4. You’ve been ripped off

When considering your mode of transport, you almost factor in an extra 20% to a typical cab fare, knowing that as a foreigner you will likely be ripped off. You’ve paid more than you should on more than one occasion and learned to deal with it, and probably even factor it into your expenses.

5. You know how to avoid rip-offs

But you haven’t let them get off that easy. You know the typical traps for tourists and you know how to avoid them. You wouldn’t dare let someone help you with your bags, you turn a blind eye to gypsies, and you know when an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

6. You take everything with a grain of salt

Just like you know rip-offs are an inherent aspect of traveling, you also know that plans change, things go wrong, you won’t like every restaurant you visit despite the word-of-mouth recommendation, and you’re okay with that….. it’s all a part of it. It takes most travelers many trips and years of experience to understand that it is okay for things to go wrong…. moreover, it often reveals a new adventure!

7. You don’t need a packing list

You can recite in your sleep the essentials for a weekend trip, week-long trip, or 6-month journey overseas. This ain’t your first Rodeo!

8. You can communicate in hand gestures alone

A seasoned traveler doesn’t ask “What language do they speak there?”, they just go with the flow. This breed of traveler has been in sticky situations before and found language is indeed not a barrier, because it is possible to communicate in hand gestures alone. English also helps…. a lot.

9. You don’t question the value of Travel Insurance

You wouldn’t dare question the value of travel insurance because you know it is an absolute necessity when traveling overseas. A seasoned traveler is also more likely to pay the extra for the most comprehensive cover, and even more likely to have a year-long coverage to cover multiple trips throughout the year.

10. You know you will never “see it all”

Unlike the rookies, you never claim to have ‘been everywhere’ or ‘seen enough’, because you know you will never see it all… there’s a whole world out there to explore!


Over to you – what do you think makes a seasoned traveler? As a subjective term, these are subjective answers – feel free to contribute in the comments section below!

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    June 28, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Love it! I fit in all 1-10 on the list…especially number 1! My passport has one page left…all filled up between 2009 – current!

    Jana Miller
    June 28, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Taking the time to lounge around and not always having to see something!

    Betty J. Ogburn
    June 28, 2014 at 12:52 am

    …O.K., so obviously the amount of stamps/how many places you’ve been IS important–but, to me, what makes a traveler seasoned is not just how many times s/he has been outside of their home country, but also if they took the time and initiative to really put themselves out there and EXPERIENCE the places they’ve been to…

    After all, it’s one thing to say “been there, seen that, got the stamp”, but actually REVELING in the experience of being someplace different–the tastes, smells, and people that you don’t normally hear about in the guidebooks–is something different entirely, :-)…

    June 28, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Alright, I’ve got a bone to pick with online checkin. Is it really worth it? Really?

    It seems like every time we check in online, we have to stand in line at the airport to drop off our bags at which point a machine, or check in attendant, will reprint our boarding pass. So what did we save by checking in online?

    I know you can sometimes pick your seats at the 24 hour mark, but more and more airlines are getting rid of that option in lieu of charging people for most of the advanced seating options.

    Maybe I’m missing something…

    Have a lovely weekend!


    June 28, 2014 at 12:02 am

    I’m an international student from Asia who has been fortunate enough to attend college in the USA and participate in study abroad programs in Europe and – here’s hoping that I get to visit the other four continents, especially Africa and South America!

    June 27, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    My passport is running out of pages fast two years in… especially since I have to get visas to a lot of places that I travel. What’s the most unusual stamp that you have? I think the quality of stamps is also important…

    The only criteria I don’t fit is travelling light…such a difficult one to master. I always, withoit fail, overpack. I think you ought to do is ‘tips for packing light’ article! I have 50 kilos of stuff (including all the camera equipment) for a three week trip at the moment. The only excuse that I have is that isa very cold weather trip… :S


    June 27, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Hm I think this is a difficult one to define. But definitely the amount of stamps, they way you pack, also the way you adjust to local culture when in a new country shows if you are a seasoned traveller I think!

    June 27, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Getting through your passport in three years and having to apply for a new one as, with seven year validity still remaining, my passport was full..!!!