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My 6 Most Asked Travel Questions

Traveling the world is a daunting project to take on, so it means the world to me that readers feel confident enough to reach out and ask me for advice as they plan their own adventures. I LOVE answering travel questions and providing tips, and I spend a ton of time every single day responding to messages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and in the Angie Away comments.

I do seem to receive some of the same questions over and over again, and since I’m both a professional communicator and a perfectionist, it pains me greatly to admit that there are some that I just can’t answer.

What to do captiva island south seas resort

So what are the six travel questions I have the most trouble with? Here goes:

1. What’s your favorite country?

Anytime I’m forced into talking about what I do for a living to a group of strangers (no me gusta), the first question that follows is, “Oh! What’s your favorite country?”

*Pulls hair out* Honestly, I don’t know! I’m not a person who easily picks favorites as it is. I don’t have a favorite color or a favorite animal or a favorite day of the week. Naming a singular best friend, favorite song or favorite season is really an arm-twisting situation for me.

No sooner would I say definitively that Greece is the best, than I’d remember the glorious two weeks I spent in Egypt, change my mind, change it back, and then feel guilty for not saying New Zealand, The Bahamas or Ireland in the first place.

Choosing favorites makes me feel guilty and icky and mean. Every destination has its own special characteristics, and I’d feel like a travel bully if I singled out just one. So please don’t put me on the spot!

Traveling around the world

2. Where haven’t you been?

This question is a surefire way to make me feel untraveled, because I haven’t seen about 75% of the world. Out of 200ish countries, I’ve been to around 50. Which means I’ve still got more than ¾ of the world to visit and somewhere between zero and about 50 more years to do it.

I haven’t been Afghanistan, Algeria, Albania, Andora, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua, Argentina, Armenia or Azerbaijan… and those are just the countries beginning with “A.”

Rest assured, I’m trying to go everywhere… it’s just going to take me some time.

Angie Away - Nashville-min

3. I’m going to [insert name of enormous country] for a week. What should I do? 

Lots of folks asking this question could be better served by typing it into Google. If it’s a list of top activities you seek, try a guidebook.

If you really want my personalized advice on a specific destination, check this list to see if I’ve been there.

If I have, and if I know you and your travel style, I’ll have an easy enough time pointing you to some resources (a.k.a. all the blog posts I’ve written about the destination here on AngieAway!) and must-sees. If, on the other hand, I don’t know you from Adam’s house cat, I couldn’t possibly begin to know what would be of interest to you on a trip. Or what you can afford. Or your comfort level with adventure activities. Or your hotel preference.

Biltmore Hotel

Having traveled through Alaska with my grandparents, with my siblings, with my husband and also solo, I know all too well that different folks prefer different strokes. Some like action and adventure, some prefer organized tours, some fly by the seat of their pants and find fun as they go.

So if you want my personal tips on what to see and do, come at me with a specific question like, “I’m 31, traveling alone for the first time and I’ve got a month in Italy. I’m a foodie and an art history lover. What are the must sees & eats?”

Now that’s a question I can answer! Help me help you!

professional blogger

4. I have high arches/low arches/enormous big toes/stinky feet, etc. What shoes should I wear on my trip if I’m walking between 1 mile and an Ironman per day?

I get it. My feet need a lot of coddling when I travel, and I’ve written about how much I love my Tieks and how boots from The Walking Company changed my life. BUT, I am not a podiatrist or a foot expert or a fashionista.

I know what works for my feet, but I have no way of knowing if the shoes that make me feel like I’m walking on pillows are going to make you want to amputate. By all means, try the ones I suggest, but don’t expect me to know what would work for every foot in every situation.

 

Ladera Resort - Romantic Caribbean Hotel

5. Is [insert name of country] safe? Will I be ok? 

How should I know?! Safety is not an easily predictable black-and-white issue, no matter what State Department warnings say or what you might see on the news. Sure, it might be wise to avoid certain countries in times of turmoil, but in most destinations, safety has everything to do with you and the individual decisions you make on a daily basis.

Realistically, who’s to say that you’re “safe” where you are right now? Frankly, I can’t predict if you’ll be run over by a truck, robbed or killed by a natural disaster in your hometown next week. The best advice I can give on safety (which is the same exact advice I’d give to anyone, any day, anywhere – not just travelers) is be aware, don’t overindulge on booze when you’re traveling alone and be incredibly cautious with people you meet.

The Walking Company

6. Where should I go?

Like, in the whole world? If I could answer that question, I’d have gone there already and cured this whole wanderlust disease by now.

***

Got a travel question not listed above? Fire away!

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  • Avatar
    August 02, 2013

    Ha ha, you crack me up! I can’t believe people are asking you for shoe advice for someone with big toes. 😉
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Flashback Friday: How not to haggle at Otavalo MarketMy Profile

  • Avatar
    August 02, 2013

    Love this post! Great question!

    “I am a 30-yr old traveling to Tuscany with my 28-yr old husband for our anniversary. We love local experiences, food and wine. We’re staying in Pienza – any ideas for day trips? We will have a car.”

    How’s that!!?? 🙂
    Jamie recently posted..life lately, in booksMy Profile

  • Avatar
    August 02, 2013

    Haha Angie, great stuff… some suggested answers for you;

    1. Planet Earth
    2. Dear shoeless reader, if you haven’t worked out what shoes you feel comfortable in yet, you probably don’t do much walking, so don’t travel to any of the places I went to because I only saw all that awesome stuff because I walked around enough to get to it. However, why not ask a shoe retailer?
    3. Everything
    4. Yeah, I’m the same on that one 🙂
    5. Probably
    6. Everywhere, but pay attention to what order you do it in, as you may not finish.

    All your problems solved Angie! 😀
    Peter Parkorr – Travel Unmasked recently posted..Talking Travel Photography Live on Google PlusMy Profile

    • Avatar
      August 03, 2013

      Haha, thank you for your assistance in answering these unanswerables =)

  • Avatar
    August 02, 2013

    I love the reply to number 4!
    Lindsay recently posted..New Themes: Publisher and ZorenMy Profile

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    August 02, 2013

    I agree 100% with this list and wish to add “which country has the best food?” for consideration.
    Julie recently posted..Places I Would Rather be on Monday Morning: Belizean Home Style CookingMy Profile

    • Avatar
      August 03, 2013

      Ah! A glaring omission! I should’ve thought of that!

  • Avatar
    August 02, 2013
    Gisele

    The worse part is that if you don’t answer those questions, it seems all the rest of real knowledge you have is useless… been there, laughed at your open and honest post. 🙂

  • Avatar
    August 02, 2013

    I feel like I’m the only person that can pick their favorite country: Brasil! 🙂
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Miami, Florida: Day 3My Profile

    • Avatar
      August 03, 2013

      You’re in the minority of travelers, but I can appreciate your fervor!

    • Avatar
      August 14, 2013
      Mike A.

      Oh, I have a favorite country and its usually the one that I am visiting at that particular time. Last week France was my favorite as I was wondering around Paris in the baking sunshine.

      I’m back home in Belgium now (not my favorite country) but am planning to get to Morocco in October, so that will be my favorite country.

  • Avatar
    August 03, 2013

    Love this! At times some questions can be frustrating, and your honesty is witty…and appreciated. Sometimes i would like to use the answer ‘google it’. Good work! I do (kind of) have a favourite country though, but it changes every once in a while. Pah!
    Becki | Backpacker Becki recently posted..Riding the Highest Railway Bridge in Myanmar / Burma – Crossing The Goteik ViaductMy Profile

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    August 03, 2013

    I don’t get the, where have you not been, question but all others I have heard, especially number one.
    Cornelius Aesop recently posted..Public Transportation – LimaMy Profile

    • Avatar
      August 03, 2013

      It seems like everyone gets the same questions!

  • Avatar
    August 03, 2013

    Love this post Angie. As Julie mentioned we get the question too, where’s the best food? I always say in our kitchen at home keeps my partner smiling. Thanks for the laughs this morning.

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    August 04, 2013

    I feel like some of the “generic” questions, like “where should I go” are occasionally just random conversation starters. They have no idea where to begin trying to figure out your travel experiences, so they just kind of ask a dumb question, and maybe try to go somewhere smarter after that. Kind of like saying “how was it?” after you get home. I mean…OCCASIONALLY they mean well.
    OCDemon recently posted..10 cool cities in Russia besides the big twoMy Profile

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      August 04, 2013

      Absolutely. And I have no doubt people mean well. And you know they say there are no dumb questions…

  • Avatar
    August 04, 2013

    Hahah big toes, love it! I get these questions a lot too and never know what to answer! Love the idea you made a post out of it!

  • Avatar
    August 04, 2013

    This was such a great read Angie! It always really amuses me to hear what kind of questions people ask! Perfect answers!
    Julika recently posted..The Failed Art Historian’s Guide to Hipster BerlinMy Profile

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    August 05, 2013

    Half the fun of traveling, is figuring it all out for your own self! The less ya know, the more of an adventure it will be!
    Wade recently posted..Gypsy Tales of a Filthy Rich Traveler: Jaime Davila, Breakaway BackpackerMy Profile

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    August 05, 2013

    Too funny. It IS interesting how people come up with bizarre questions like that. Thanks for the laugh!
    Konrad Braun recently posted..Tips to Avoiding Rip-Off Scams in Southeast AsiaMy Profile

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    February 23, 2016

    Shoe advisory – do not wear rubber soled sandals in Sevilla in the summer. Melted the bottom of mine, walking on a cobblestone street, that was in June. Felt like sticky gum on my shoes the rest of the day.
    Lindsey recently posted..Problems with my writing this blog and you reading it..My Profile

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