Having been to 90-plus countries, accounting professor shares his tips for a successful travel experience

As accounting professor Kurt Hull counts the days till his next trip with hopes to visit his 100th country this year, we count the tips he has to share for a successful travel experience.

June 1, 2018

Kurt lifts up a tiny plush globe over his head for the camera. Photo by Justin Traylor.

Professor Kurt Hull, an accounting professor at El Camino, is an avid traveler who recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with virtually no preparation or training. Tanzania was his 92nd country visited in 20 years, and he hopes to have been to 100 countries by the end of 2018. While traveling to 90-plus countries may not be attainable for students on a budget, Professor Hull shares his top ten tips for anyone who may want travel to a new country on or off a budget.

1) Don’t be afraid

All around the world, people are very similar. There is very little to fear about the people around you.

2) Be flexible

Things won’t always go your way while traveling abroad, and you need to be okay with adjusting your plans.

3) Travel light and pack only what you need

“You don’t need to bring 30 outfits if you are traveling for a month. Bring three and find a laundromat” Kurt says.

4) Bring Cipro (Also known as ciproflaxin, which treats bacterial infections.)

If you get sick while abroad, Kurt says that Cipro can cure virtually anything.

5) Don’t book all of your flights and rooms in advance

If you make a change to your itinerary while traveling, booking spur-of-the-moment will ensure that you don’t lose money on pre-booked stays.

6) Set different start and end points

“For me, this way of traveling is a blast. Several years ago, I flew into Sofia, Bulgaria and out of Helsinki, Finland. Getting from Budapest to Finland one city at a time was so much fun,” Kurt says.

7) Ask for help

“People are generally willing to help strangers. So, if you are lost, don’t be afraid to reach out.”

8) Get lost Don’t always play everything by the book

Finding things off of the beaten path can create lifelong memories. The worst that could happen is you’ll have to refer back to tip number seven.

9) Stay in hostels

“You will meet like-minded people from around the world, and grow your social circles. While I’ve outgrown staying in them, I made great memories while staying in hostels,” Kurt recalls.

10) Don’t be the “Ugly American”

Cultures all around the world are vastly different. Attempt to learn as much as you can about the culture and respect the differences in customs while traveling.

Kurt is ready to hit his 100th country. Photo by Justin Traylor.

Bonus Tip!

Kurt says that thanks to the internet, planning trips have never been easier. Websites like tripadvisor.com make booking flights, hotel, and transport an ease, while sites like lonelyplanet.com and nomadicmatt.com give travelers destinations to visit and tips to travel on a budget. Travel.state.gov gives information on entry and exit requirements, as well as any other important information that one may need before traveling out of the country. Be sure to check out Kurt’s blog, taosabi.com to see photos and read about his experiences while traveling across the globe.

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While Kurt says that all of his trips are unforgettable, he obviously has his favorites. Some of his top destinations are: Angkor Way, Cambodia; Began Region, Myanmar; Serengeti National Park, Tanzania; Maasai Mara National Park, Kenya; Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania; Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; Merida, Venezuela; Taganga, Colombia; Luang Prabang, Laos; and Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Kurt poses in front of the music building as he recalls stories from one of his favorite destinations. Photo by Justin Traylor.

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