Every world traveller has shared the same experience; that anticipation as you pack your bags for your first trip abroad. The tension builds up as the big day nears. You spend hours on the computer browsing through photos of places that you want to visit. Then finally, there is that mixture of uncertainty and excitement about what you will face as you prepare to disembark from the plane.
While nothing can truly prepare you for what you will experience on your first trip abroad, you can definitely prepare yourself. Here are 25 tips that I want to share with any first time travellers.
Travel Tips for First Time Travellers
1. Respect Local Customs
You might think the custom is strange, you might think the manners are odd, but remember you are the foreigner here. So whether it is kissing a guy on the cheek to say hello in Argentina or burping after you’ve finished a meal; it is important to learn, understand and respect local cultures.
2. Manners Are Everything
Just because you are travelling abroad doesn’t mean you should forget how to say please and thank you or start shouting at the stupid foreigner who can’t speak your language.
3. Learn the Lingo
Even if you can only say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ being able to say even the most basic phrases in a foreign language will be appreciated by everyone you meet.
4. Be Open to New Experiences
Embrace every opportunity that you have and make the most of the moment. You should remember, there is every chance that you will only visit the place once, so make it memorable.
5. Be Aware
Not every person you meet is your friend. There are plenty of scammers, thieves and hustlers out there who target travellers. In some countries life is cheap, guns are plentiful and policemen are corrupt. This is just the way of the world, so be aware of your surroundings and you will have a great time.
6. Off the Beaten Track
If you want to experience something truly different on your travels then head off the beaten track. Honestly, most travellers follow the same routes, so don’t be afraid to escape the tourist trail.
7. Be Prepared to Grow
As you travel you will be faced with lots of challenging, amazing, frustrating and heart braking moments. These experiences are all part of life’s great adventure, so try to take away something from them.
8. Travel Your Way
Travel in a way that suits your values, aims and ambitions. Don’t follow someone else’s plan at the expense of fulfilling your own goals.
9. Travel Friends
Travelling with friends can be tough. You’ll be living on top of each other 24 hours a day. Be prepared to have a few arguments with the person that you are travelling with. Also, if you find that your friend does not suit your travelling style, then be open to going your separate ways.
10. Be Flexible
If you’re travelling with a group then be flexible about your plans. If you are travelling in a country with terrible infrastructure, don’t be surprised if the bus is late. Basically, learn to be flexible and patient.
10. Leave a Good Impression
You could be the single best ambassador for your country, so don’t screw it up by leaving a bad impression.
11. Just Travel
You are never too old or too young to travel. There is nothing holding you back from going abroad. If you get the chance, take it and don’t turn it down.
12. Talk to the Locals
You left your country so that you would be surrounded by people from a different culture, so spend some time with the locals.
13. Smile Often
Everyone likes a happy traveller, nobody likes a grumpy sod. Make sure you are the happy traveller, I guarantee you will have more fun.
14. Be Prepared to Pay
If a once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself then don’t be stingy. You can always earn more money when you get home, or save some money by staying in a cheap hostel or eating street food.
15. Stay on Budget
If you have a travel budget then stick to it. You don’t want to blow all your money on your first few days away.
16. Eat Local Food
Try local food and different dishes. If you don’t like it, you can always go back to eating food you are more comfortable with.
17. Eat Street Food
It’s fresh, it’s healthy and it’s cheap (well, most of the time).
Sometimes you need to bargain and sometimes you don’t. Learn where it is appropriate to bargain before trying your haggling skills, because it is not always appreciated!
19. Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it from travellers and locals alike.
20. Get the Visas and Guard your Passport
Loosing your passport when you are travelling is a major headache. Just avoid it…
21. Enjoy the Moment
Don’t be afraid to simply relax, do nothing and enjoy the moment. Travelling doesn’t mean running around like a headless chicken all of the time.
22. Make Friends
You will be surrounded 24/7 by people who could one day be your best friend, so don’t be afraid to reach out and start a conversation.
23. Ditch Idiots
You will be surrounded 24/7 by people you have absolutely nothing in common with, so don’t be afraid to just walk away.
24. Get Travel Insurance
It’s not as expensive as a week in hospital, so just pay it and save yourself a future headache.
25. Travel With Your Phone
Your smart phone is a global dictionary, map and general guide book. Really, it’s a great tool, so don’t be afraid to travel with it and make the most of it! (just remember to make sure it is unlocked so that you can buy a local sim card where ever you happen to be).