Always Keep Your Options Open When Traveling…


Want to find a $9 hotel room on a Thai island with a view like the one above? Keep your options open…

It’s been a bit quiet here, yes? Think of what’s happening here as as a huge plant that is growing a deep underground network and will soon go BOOM and bust out towards the sun, yeah think of it like that. No really, I’m busy as a leaf cutter ant and yesterday this gregarious girl I know who is a long time reader as well skyped me. She had all these questions and concerns about traveling in Thailand, she was flustered.

They just arrived in Bangkok, have never been in Asia before and naturally THEY ARE LOVING IT. It’s a couple in their late 20’s and they want to do some activities and exploring around the country. They told me they got a quote from some booking agency about $300 each for transport, accommodation & diving in Koh Tao, Thailand. Ok so that’s $600US for 2 people to spend 4 days on a Thai Island… Kinda pricey – yes?

This sounds alright, even to me in expensive Costa Rica but at the end of the day – why would you ever book everything in advance when you’re in Asia or anywhere? If you’re adventurous enough to embark on a mission around the world, you should always “just go for it” and that is what I told them. Go to the booking office and buy some tickets, bus tickets and go from there. Spend $15 each to get there, don’t drop the $600.

I see people constantly getting to countries without a care in the world then booking everything and having this crazy itinerary. It’s usually a depressing experience as every city they go to, they wish they could stay longer and find out everyone they are hanging out with is spending half the price on accommodation, not to mention spent next to nothing on transportation. Ever ask people on a plane how much they spent on their ticket? It REALLY SUCKS when you paid the top price, trust me.

This isn’t just advice for the totally noob, no. Even I have to remind myself to just go for it. After you’ve been away from the road a while, you get soft and things can seem overwhelming, they never are. I’ve traveled a large chunk of the world without a guide, guidebook or a plan and things are usually straightforward. On the road and I mean literally in transit is where you often meet some of your best new friends but I digress…

So as it happens, my friends are buying tickets for something like $15 each and just showing up in Koh Tao. I’ve also given them instructions on how to find a $9 a night hotel / guesthouse on the beach. Yes, you read that right. When I went to Koh Tao it was my first real trip into the wild. Not only did I have the time of my life, meet great friends and find a cheap hotel, it gave me the confidence to do it anywhere.

When you’re on an indefinite trip around the world, you need that confidence to just go for it. It will make the trip special and tailored to you. Also as much as we all like to think we’re adventurers; which we are… There aren’t many “new trails left” and remember countless people less equipped than yourself have made it safely so just go, trust the process and enjoy the sights.

Always keep your options open when traveling, you’ll be shocked at what’s out there waiting for those who dare…

Tips hat,


  1. Corin

    November 16, 2012 at 6:28 am

    I couldn’t agree more! Part of the magic of travel is letting the wind blow you in different directions. You never know where it will take you. I like to move at my own pace, spending more time in places I adore, and less time in places that can’t keep my attention. I have also found that there are more opportunities for discovery when you are not being ushered around from place to place. Take time to explore- adventure does not come in the form of an itinerary! 😀

    • Rob

      November 16, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Agreed! I really like your last line…

      “Take time to explore- adventure does not come in the form of an itinerary!”

      That’s spot on, thanks for stopping by and safe travels!

  2. scott

    November 16, 2012 at 6:33 am

    great advice broseph. not having a plan is how I meet knuckleheads like you!

    hope you are well.

    • Rob

      November 16, 2012 at 6:37 am

      It’s true, a plan would have prevented the epic “Matagalpa & Keystone” extravaganza!

      Safe travels as always, my friend.

  3. Wife

    November 16, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Not sure what happened to my last comment … I will try again. I spent 3 months on Koh Tao. Great island. I recommend Ban’s for diving.

    • Rob

      November 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

      Wow, you’ve lived! I spent 2 weeks at the start of my trip and thought that was a long time. Could easily pass a winter there, should have gone diving though!

  4. Matty

    November 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Well said bro comfort kills

    • Rob

      November 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Agreed, comfort does kill.

  5. James Shannon

    November 16, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Nothing like thrusting out into the unknown and finding that everything always works out in the end. There’s nothing like it in the world when it comes to building self-confidence!

    • Rob

      November 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Right you are, it’s also interesting how once you stop doing it for a bit the confidence quickly fades but never goes away.

  6. Nate

    November 17, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Couldn’t agree more. I think the only thing that I’ve ended up paying more for at the moment while traveling was a car rental in Costa Rica (ironically). The wife and I just took a trip to Peru and foolishly booked an apartment in advance on AirBnb. We thought we were sitting pretty for our $25/night apartment when it turned out to be a dump and it was really far away from everywhere we wanted to be. We certainly paid more after figuring in taxis and there were much nicer hostels/hotels for a few bucks cheaper. I guess it was a lesson I had to learn again.

    • Rob

      November 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      I’ve been had a few times as well. Whenever I’m in a city for a few days, I don’t care if it’s a bit more $$$, I want to be IN THE CITY. Not the commuter experience but the real experience if only for a short time.

  7. Michael

    November 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I remember a trip that was so well planned it involved step by step directions on a receipt that ended with when you make it to the Cambodian border ‘ wing it ‘ . Good times.

    • Rob

      November 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      I’ve had a similar experience, good times.

  8. Ava Apollo

    November 18, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Totally agree with you, Rob! I haven’t planned out a single thing and each place I’ve been has been suggested to me by other travelers. So happy with the results and low pricing I’ve been able to get.

    • Rob

      November 18, 2012 at 3:02 am

      Right on, you’ve tapped into the “matrix” of travelers and are clearly living the dream. FYI your photography from Laos is really awesome.

      Keep killing it and safe travels.

  9. Izy Berry - The Wrong Way Home

    November 18, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Great advice, Rob! 🙂 I totally agree with you. I’m gonna be in Koh Phangan on the 25th of November. Do you have any tips for me? Have you been there?

    • Rob

      November 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      I only ever went for the Full Moon Party then bounced. My advice is have fun and be safe. If you are going to the party, keep an eye on friends. If you lose them may e the whole night, it’s huge and busy.

  10. Jessica

    November 18, 2012 at 6:42 am

    I always start thinking about worst case scenarios. Like what if I’ve been on a 14hr bus, and I’m sleep deprived and hungry, and I can’t find a cheap place to stay? Yet, in reality, these scenarios are few and far between. Most of the time, keeping my options open means getting cheaper prices and having a better adventure – I just have to remind myself of that when paranoid pre-booking thoughts start clouding my judgement.

    • Rob

      November 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      I think a good happy medium is to have a piece of paper with the names of a place or so. You just don’t book ahead because you never know what will happen on the road. That said, it’s easier to find a cheap room nearby in SE Asia than say some random European city, particularly in the west.

  11. Lauren

    April 19, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    People thought I was so brave travelling the world on my own, but really, I was too comfortable, I mostly booked on hostelworld and knew where I was going. I’m now aiming to go on a much longer trip and definitely need to be more open to opportunities. Travel is all about facing your fears, and not knowing where I’m going to be staying has been one of them. So next time, I’m going to follow your advice and have a much bigger adventure that way!

    • Rob

      April 20, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      Good luck on all your adventures and always keep your options open! 😉

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