While living in Germany for the past 3 years, I’ve been so fortunate to travel to 20 countries with my husband by my side. We’ve walked around landmarks that I had only ever dreamed about, chatted with locals in broken French, sipped on wine with our toes in the sand and accumulated so many memories that I’ll hold on to dearly for the rest of time.
Since I’m back in the states now for the foreseeable future, I can’t help but think about the things I wish I would’ve done while I was traveling Europe. This led me to create a list of My Travel ‘I Wish I Would Haves’:
#1: Not Renting a Car in Dublin
Dublin, Ireland was the first place I visited after moving to Germany and was also the only place I’ve traveled to without renting a car as a means of transportation. This is a huge travel regret for me.
With all of the stories and photos I’ve seen of the Irish coast, I’m kicking myself for not taking the extra step to escape Dublin for a day or two while we were there.
I truly adored Dublin and its Irish charm. I was so enamored talking to the locals, visiting the traditional Irish pubs and witnessing the Celtic history. I would’ve loved to explore the coast of Ireland to see the rolling hills and historic castles. Renting a car in other destinations has given us more opportunity to explore and see the things you wouldn’t see on a group tour or by using local transportation. Nonetheless, visiting Ireland was always on my bucket-list and I was able to check that one off.
#2: Lodging on the Main Island in Malta
Nestled in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily is a true island gem. Malta is at the top of my list for my favorite destinations, along with Greece and Crete. The tiny country consists of 3 islands with the main island being home to it’s capital, Valletta. Malta’s biggest island is 95 miles wide, allowing ample space to explore different beaches and scenery.
Comino is the smallest island, uninhabited except for one hotel. The island is a tourist site for daily boat tours to swim in the crystal-clear lagoons.
The second largest island in Malta is Gozo, where I regret not staying during our vacation. Gozo is north of the other two islands and is pure paradise. We took a ferry there and bought tickets for the “Hop-On/Hop-Off” bus tour so we were able to see the entire island easily. While I absolutely adored where we stayed in St. Paul’s Bay in Malta, it was more populated and busier than Gozo. I enjoy the quieter areas when we travel so not staying on Gozo Island in Malta is a travel regret for me. Read about my stay in Malta here.
#3: Not Fully Indulging into the Cuisines
Everyone that knows me well would tell you that I’m the biggest brat when it comes to food. I totally blame my dad for gracing me with his bland palate. I don’t like a lot of foods and I could go without any spices except salt.
One of my travel regrets is not indulging in some of the traditional cuisines at restaurants. My husband always does, branching out his orders for the seafood platters and swordfish filets.
If we’re at a fancy restaurant and I can’t read anything on the menu because it’s in a completely different language, you bet when I recognize Spaghetti Bolognese I’m ordering it.
I’m allergic to most seafoods anyway, so it’s not like I could try a bunch of the foods in the Mediterranean places I’ve been. I really love tuna, but like the Starkist brand out of a can and probably not the tuna I’d be presented with had I ordered it while traveling. Still, I wish I would’ve tried some different foods and taken it as an opportunity to expand my preferences.
#4: Staying on the Boat During the Rhine River Tour
For our one-year anniversary, my husband surprised me with a full-day boat tour of the Rhine, something I had been wanting to do for a long time. We departed from Bingen, Germany, through the Tour Rüdesheim company. We were able to see an assortment of small villages lining the edge of the Rhine, along with outstanding castles on cliffs, towering over the countryside.
One of my travel regrets is not getting off the boat at one of these villages to explore. Since we were unsure as to how the boat tour worked and how we’d get back on if we got off, we stayed on the cruise the entire time. Exploring the streets of these traditional German villages and visiting the monstrous castles looked magical. Even without exploring, the Rhine River cruise was one of my favorite German adventures that we went on.
#5: Not Riding the London Eye
We visited London last October to attend an NFL game at Wembley and had the greatest time. We spent a week there, staying in the Kensington district and also took a day to drive to Stonehenge, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon (my favorite part of our UK trip because I’m a tad obsessed with Shakespeare).
After a couple of hours of exploring the central parts of London, we felt as if we had pretty much seen everything there was to see. At the time, the line to the London Eye was ridiculously long, so we went to the Sea Life London Aquarium instead to fill our time.
One of my travel regrets is not sucking it up to stand in the queue to ride the London Eye. I don’t think I’ll have another opportunity to visit London so I missed my chance and I’m not sure if I’ll ever let myself live it down. Regardless, every American should visit our Mother Country because it is truly a sight to see. I’m jealous of all the UK bloggers who get to experience this lovely city on a daily basis!
#6: Not Visiting Krka National Park in Croatia
We visited Croatia one hot summer in July, spending a week in Zadar. Wanting to take a day trip, we were trying to decide between visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park or Krka National Park. We opted for Plitvice, which was absolutely, incredibly, (insert every adjective here) stunning. It is truly like something out of a fairytale.
Plitvice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, therefore tourists cannot swim, nor even touch the water. To navigate around Plitvice, it requires visitors to take a series of ferries to reach the different parts of the park.
At Krka, there’s a great waterfall that tourists are able to swim under and the waters are free to touch. Based on the research we did and the pictures we had seen online, we opted for Plitvice over Krka.
I don’t regret going to Plitvice one bit; it was one of the most memorable experiences I had while traveling Europe. But, since we were in Croatia for 5 days, we had plenty of time to explore and one of my regrets was not going to Krka. If you’d like to read more about Plitvice click here, and my trip to Zadar can be found here.
#7: Not Using a Legitimate Camera for Pictures
My biggest travel regret by far, and something that I will never let go of, is not investing in a DSLR camera while traveling Europe. I have so many unbelievable photos of the places we’ve been and looking back on them now (mainly to find some to use for Instagram & the blog), I’m so disappointed that I solely relied on my phone for pictures. Using a phone isn’t necessarily awful, but I just feel like I’ve missed out on so many photo-ops because the photos lack quality.
I’ve fixed that now, as I finally got my camera! So, any traveling done after this is going to be captured through the lens of a camera and not a phone.
Even though I have some travel regrets, they don’t outweigh the memories I made while traveling Europe with my husband. I’m so incredibly lucky for the places I’ve been!
Do you have any travel regrets? Is there anything you would’ve done differently on a trip you went on?