5 MUST KNOW Tips For All New Travellers
Updated: Apr 30
First time travel feels: Fear of the unknown. Excitement of whats to come. Hope of all things fresh and new.
All of us were first timers, once upon a time.
Travelling for the first time provided me with waves of uncomfortable emotions. When I left to travel the world, I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t well travelled and was as green as they come.
No one I knew had ever done this before and it wasn't such a common thing to do. To compensate for not being able to ask friends about their experiences, I followed my guidebooks and my nose.
I was young, inexperienced and made some mistakes I wish I'd avoided. I'd have avoided them had I known what I know now.
Sitting my younger self down now, I'd say:
1. YOU DON'T NEED A LOT OF STUFF
Lots of people worry about having to live out of a small rucksack. Don't!
You don't need all of the superficial and cosmetic products you use back home - choose a select few and take only those.
Ditch the rest and cram your bag full of t-shirts, baggy trousers and hair bands to tie your hair up girls (and some boys!).
A smaller bag makes you agile and free. Don't over-pack and make it hard to move around!
2. YOU ARE ALMOST NEVER ALONE
This was such a worry when I left home for the first time. Will I meet friends? Will they like me? What if they think I'm [insert negative words here]? Genuine thoughts almost every new traveller will experience.
But, it's kind of funny and ironic, though, as travelling 'alone' in my experience is where you meet the most new friends and more than you could imagine. Group tours are great because you have a ready made group of like-minded individuals - so many of whom leave home alone too.
Follow these top tips and you'll not look back after the sun sets on your first day:
(1) Be the adventurous version of yourself;
(2) Smile and join in; and
(3) Ask people about where they've been and where they're going - it's the ultimate icebreaker.
3. CONNECT WITH EVERYONE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
In a world where so much negative is said about social media, use it for its true and pure purpose - connecting with people, and staying connected.
It can be unbelievably useful for travellers. Maybe you will cross paths again and share stories or tips. Maybe they'll let you stay at their pad when you visit their city and vice versa. It's happened to me countless times and it means you almost always have a friendly face in every city you go to in the future.
It's amazing how much an international network of friends trust one another and what they are willing to do for each other. Travelling friends are like no other!
4. DON'T WORRY ABOUT HOME
Without wishing to sound condescending, home will be the same when you get back as it was when you left. Some of your friends will still moan about the jobs they hate and there will still be this perpetual widespread desire to 'keep up with the Joneses' by buying the newest gadgets and clothes.
By deciding to travel, you are choosing to break free from these curses of modern life. Don't look back and crowd your mind of the same thoughts and feelings you had at home. Make head-space for the wonders you are about to see and the excitement you are about to feel!
5. TAKE A BIT MORE MONEY, OR TRAVEL CHEAP?
There are a million and one ways to skin a cat.
There are also SO many ways to travel. First timers, including myself, worry about budgeting and how much it costs to travel. The truth is, it's a very subjective thing depending on destination countries and tastes. You may be used to the luxuries in life and they come with a price tag; or you may also be used to slumming it a bit.
The best thing about travelling to most of the destinations you probably want to go to is; you can choose to do it cheaply if you want to. You'll always find a way to get by, trust me!
Now, some will say that you'll have more fun if you spend more money. Whilst I appreciate the sentiment, this isn't strictly true.
How many times have you heard people say 'I had so much fun at XYZ Hostel'... I know I've said it a million times. You don't hear the same half as much about hotels.
Hostels are fun, they're cheaper than hotels and they are generally the places where new friendships and social networks are formed! So if you're looking to save money, you NEED to stay in hostel.