I was terrified the first time I went out into the world. I had no idea what to expect out of travel, and I did not want to seem like a stupid tourist…
But what was I supposed to do? I had a lot of anxiety about my first trip. Stepping out of my comfort zone seemed more like a giant leap! Unfortunately, I didn’t know any seasoned travelers to warn me about the trials and tribulations or pump me up about the positives.
I didn’t let the travel anxiety get to me, though. In fact, I went out there and, in some situations, learned the hard way. I am so glad that I did because travel is such a huge part of my life now.
It was intimidating and scary to step stretch my abilities, and I even made some mistakes along the way, but I learned more about myself and the world around me than I ever would have by staying at home.
I’m sharing what I learned from my first traveling experiences, that way you can get out there and feel confident too!
Research Your Travel
This is the most important thing to remember. It’s also the most time-consuming aspect of travel. You want to understand everything you can about where you’re going.
Whether you’re traveling internationally or domestically, you need to know how you’re getting there, what you’re doing there, how you will get around, places to avoid, and where you’re staying.
I don’t mean googling “fun things to do in X location”. I mean finding information from others who have been there. Reading about real life experiences from real people will give you the best idea of what you’re getting into.
As a first time traveler, you will want to know things to watch out for, especially when traveling internationally. Plus, you want to find the coolest things to do in that area, and you won’t always find them on the tourist website.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Locals
This one scared the crap out of me at first. I didn’t want to look silly or incompetent, but I soon learned that if you’re kind and respectful, locals will totally help you out.
Most people are proud of their home and they’re happy that others are getting to enjoy it. The trick is to be really nice. Locals always know the bests spots to check out, anyway!
If you’re traveling internationally, you should learn enough of the language to indicate that you do not know their language along with basic greetings.
You should really learn more than that, but you are much more likely to get help if you approach someone speaking their language.
Bring Extra Batteries & Water
Always keep extra batteries or a battery pack to keep your phone charged. Your phone is your lifeline, especially as a first-time traveler, and you don’t want it to go dead.
You want to bring extra water in case of emergency. Trust me, if your taxi never comes and you find yourself walking 5 miles back in the blistering sun, you will thank me.
Get Travel Insurance
This is a big one. You don’t want to leave the safety of home as a newbie traveler without knowing that you’re covered.
Travel insurance will cover the cost of travel if you have to cancel last minute or you transportation gets canceled.
It provides medical coverage if you get sick or injured.
Travel insurance can provide baggage coverage if your things are lost, damaged, or stole.
It will even cover an emergency evacuation situation!
Travel insurance will give you peace of mind, and hopefully, you will never have to use it. If something does happen, then you will be happy you made the investment.
We use RoamRite travel insurance to make sure we are covered!
Keep Money and Valuables in Different Places
Okay, so I learned this one the hard way. Once I was in Vegas for work, and someone stole my wallet out of my purse.
I had everything in that wallet… I had my drivers license, bank cards, credit cards, social security card, and close to $500 in company money.
It was all gone. I had no way to even prove that I was who I said I was. Getting on the plane back home was an absolute nightmare. Not to mention the fact that I had to cancel everything and go through the process of getting it all back.
Have you ever tried to get your license without a social security card? Have you ever tried to get your social security card without your license? Yeah, you don’t want to.
It was so stressful and it could have been avoided if I had kept a bank card/cash and my social on my person. Don’t ever put everything valuable to you in one place, especially if you’re traveling!
Be Respectful of Local Customs
This should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. This is where your research comes into play. Make sure you know and understand the local customs if you’re going overseas.
You want to have a good time, meet new people, and experience a culture different than your own. Don’t ruin it by accidentally offending someone without meaning to.
Be Respectful of Everywhere You Travel
I think that this should also go without saying, but respect the land you’re visiting. There is a lot that comes with that territory. You always want to leave an area cleaner than what it was before.
You are representing your home country or state when you travel, so make sure to leave a good impression.
You can daydream about travel and make-up exactly how you think it will go all day long, but I promise, it will never go the way you think.
That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though. When you keep an open mind, you are much more likely to enjoy yourself. Embrace the discomfort and throw yourself into the experience of stretching your limits!
Travel can teach you so much when you approach it with an open mind. That’s a huge part of the journey.
Now that you’re armed with the best beginner travel tips, you better be booking those reservations, because the world will not wait for you!
Go out there and see what all the fuss is about. You won’t regret it!
What lessons did you learn on your first adventure? Leave it in the comments below!