Top 5 Tips for First Time Travelers
Top Travel Tips
Writers and travelers around the internet are always keen to share their particular and individual brand of travel advice. It’s just in the personality of a traveler. We love talking about it almost as much as we love the actual travel.
Most of the advice you’ll find is practical—what to pack, how to fly, what to do when you’re lost, etc. But I have a more personal kind of advice to share. That is, how to handle travel emotionally. It can be exhausting, scary, and often incredibly stressful. You need to be able to overcome these in-your-face emotions and enjoy your experiences.Because you may never get the chance to try them again.
I’m writing this article as part of the BootsnAll Indie 2015 Challenge. To learn more about the challenge and even participate yourself look up the #DoYouIndie hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
5 Pieces of Advice for First Time Travelers
1) Don't Panic
At some point you’re going to hate the person you’re traveling with. Or you’re going to be lost, or hungry. Maybe you’ll miss your bus or get scammed on a tour. Maybe your hostel will open at 4pm but you’ll arrive at 11am and desperately need a nap. And at some point you will almost definitely overpay for something.
There are so many ways that travel goes wrong, even for experienced travelers. In the moment they may seem like the end of the world, but they aren’t. Your experience will be worth occasionally being hangry or cold.
There is no way to stop things from going wrong, but you can be prepared to handle it. The well placed tear can work in your favor (and it often does) but you need to keep your wits about you. If you miss a flight it’s your responsibility to figure out when the next flight leaves. Do you have to let your hostel know?
Don’t panic. Take a breath—You’ll figure it out. Plus, it’ll make a great story.
“Leave your expectations at home” – Nicholas Marshall
2) Leave Your Expectations Behind
You can do as much research as you want and read all the blogs about other people’s travel experiences. But this is your experience. And it is what you make of it. If you go into a travel experience with set expectations there’s a good chance you’re going to end up sadly disappointed. If you’re flexible you’re going to have a great time.
Along the same lines, don’t expect the place you’re visiting to look just like the photos. Filters and heavy editing can turn a beautiful street into something that looks almost magical. And as magical as that place may actually be, it’ll never look like the photographs. Don’t expect it to. Instead just decide to enjoy it.
3) Trust Your Gut
You are your most reliable resource. Trust yourself. Never tell yourself you’re overreacting. If you feel safe—then do it. If someone is freaking you out, leave.
The same goes with haggling and prices. If a price doesn’t feel right haggle for it. If something looks or feels cheap—it’s probably cheap. People love to scam travelers and tourists out of money. Trust yourself to make the right choice. And if you’re wrong refer back to tip #1. Don’t panic, so you overpaid, it’s not a big deal.
4) Don’t be Afraid to Screw Up
It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling for the first time or the hundredth time, you’re going to screw up. You might book your hostel or train ticket for the wrong day. Or you might embarrass yourself trying to speak French. Whatever happens, don’t be afraid of it.
What happens, happens. And you’ll survive it. Maybe $300 short, but it’s not the end of the world.
5) Enjoy Every Minute—It’ll be Over Too Soon
It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling for a week, a month, or a year. It’ll be over before you know it. So do those things you’ve always dreamed about doing on your travels. Ride a camel. Spend an entire day on a beach in Greece. Whatever your dream is. It may seem like you can do it on your next trip, but you never know if or when that’s going to happen.
Your trip should fulfil your dreams. And every moment won’t be incredibly fantastic, but enjoy it anyways. You’ll find yourself thinking about it 3 months, 6 months, 10 years down the road. Soon it’s going to be fond memories, so live in the moment while you can.