The most helpful 26 tips for first time travelers
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Learn 26 first-time travel advice, including how to plan, what to bring, and safety precautions. With these tips, you’ll be able to leave the house with confidence!
Isn’t it intimidating to plan your first trip? While each first-time traveler’s preferences and each journey are unique, I’ve compiled a list of 24 essential tips that I believe will be useful for any travel novice.
There are many crucial things to consider before leaving home, so I’ve divided them into three categories to make things easier:
- Planning Tips for First-Time Travelers
- Packing advice for first-time travelers
- Tips for First-Time Travelers on the Actual Trip
No matter where you are on your path, I hope you find something valuable here.
Planning Tips for First-Time Travelers
1. Purchase high-quality equipment.
If you are traveling to several locations, your two most crucial investments before leaving home will be a sturdy rucksack that fits you well and a good, comfortable pair of shoes. If you’re going to indulge, make it on these two necessities.
2. Obtain travel insurance
Look, no one likes to spend money on foreign travel insurance. But go ahead and do it anyway. Take my word for it.
3. Carefully plan your budget
I highly recommend reading my post on budgeting for travel, which goes into much more detail, but a good rule of thumb is to plan your backpacking expenses as precisely as you can, then bring twice as much money as you think you’ll need.
4. Review safety precautions
No, you should not be afraid to travel the world. However, you should use caution while traveling. Research backpacking and travel safety advice, and then stay aware of your surroundings and keep them in mind throughout your journey.
You can begin investigating The safest locations to travel right now and progress to additional destinations as you gain confidence.
5. Speak with your bank
If you start spending money in a foreign nation without warning, your bank will flag your account, and trust me, you don’t want to find yourself in a strange country with no access to your bank account. You could also inquire about overseas transaction costs with your bank and credit card firms. If they are extremely high, try opening an account with a bank like Charles Schwab, which charges no foreign transaction costs and reimburses all ATM fees on a regular basis.
6. If possible, consider camping to save money.
Depending on where you’re going, tent camping can be a possibility and a great way to save money. Of course, you’ll have to bring a tent, but the savings may be worth it for you.
7. Participate in a job exchange program to extend your stay.
Working and living with locals may be the cheapest and coolest way to immerse yourself in a vacation, and it allows you to stay longer and enjoy a unique cultural experience. Worldpackers is an excellent place to start volunteering because it offers a wide range of programs all over the world. Furthermore, they have a professional team to assist you and your host in having a great and safe time.
8. Think about traveling during the off-season.
When considering off-season travel, the greatest question to ask is, “What makes this time of year the off-season?” I promise you that peak periods are popular for a reason. The savings may or may not be worth coping with inclement weather or losing out on seasonal events. However, it is worth considering.
9. Get acquainted with your destination.
I cannot emphasize this first-time traveler tip enough. Before you leave, do some research about your destination. Is bartering acceptable? Is it customary to tip? What is proper dress in different situations? How will the weather be when you’re here? Are there any common local scams to be aware of? All of these are critical questions to have answered before leaving.
Packing advice for first-time travelers
10. Bring only what you need.
One of the most important pieces of advice I’d recommend to first-time travelers, especially those planning to backpack, is to “pack light.” Give it a test run to become acquainted with the amount of weight you intend to carry. Spend a day or two going about your daily activities while wearing your fully-packed bag. After you’ve done this, chances are you’ll be more willing to lose excess weight before you go.
11. Carry medicine
Never skimp on the fundamentals for a stress-free travel, and a first-aid kit is a must. Bring a variety of medicines, especially if you’re visiting a nation where you don’t speak the language, as well as bandages, antibiotic ointment and medications, and so on. Make sure you have plenty of any daily medications you may be taking.
12. Bring a journal with you.
If you keep a journal on a regular basis, this may already be on your list. If not, it’s something you should think about. Trip notebooks make excellent souvenirs, but even if journaling isn’t your style, you’ll wish you had some paper and a pen at some time.
13. Make duplicates of all key documents.
Make copies of all crucial documents, such as your passport and visas, in case your originals are lost or stolen. Having paper copies as well as digital copies is your best chance.
14. Keep these strange yet useful items in mind.
- Towel made of microfiber
- Plugs for your ears
Toilet paper (not an entire roll, but keep some on hand)
- The use of duct tape
(Depending on your destination) a water filter
- Comfort item can help with homesickness during longer trips (it could be a small plush animal, a loved one’s t-shirt, or even your favorite coffee or tea from home)
15. Consider synthetic materials and layers when packing clothing.
Synthetic clothing is lighter and dries faster than cotton, making it ideal for travel. Layers are a fantastic method to travel between warmer and cooler locales without packing two completely different wardrobes.
16. Make your backpack watertight.
Your backpack will most likely come with a rain cover, but in my experience, those aren’t completely reliable. Instead, line your backpack with a large, totally waterproof sack to keep everything inside safe.
17. Bring a backup battery pack
When I was in a new city, my phone died, I didn’t have enough money for the bus or streetcar, and I couldn’t call an Uber. I also wasn’t sure how to get back to my hostel without GPS. I eventually returned, but it would have been lot less stressful if I had an extra battery to charge my phone.
18. Write down the address of where you’re staying
Every time you visit a new city, write down and keep the address of your hostel, hotel, or host. This way, even if you don’t have GPS or WiFi, you can still ask for instructions.
Tips for First-Time Travelers on the Actual Trip
19. When traveling, wear heavy garments.
This will save up space in your backpack on days when everything must fit.
20. Hide your money in several places.
A money belt is a wonderful investment. Never keep all of your money in one area in case your bag, coat, or other belongings are lost or stolen. Keep some money on you, some in your bag, and some safely stashed at your hotel or hostel.
21. Stay in hostels with complimentary breakfast or prepare your own meals.
By taking advantage of free meals and cooking when possible, you can save a lot of money over time. Many hostels include complimentary breakfast or, at the very least, a kitchen where you can make meals. If you prefer to volunteer, you may be able to do so in almost any type of project, including farms, ecovillages, communities, and NGOs.
22. Speak with the locals
Locals are the best source of information. They can tell you which parts of town are safe to visit, recommend hidden gems to visit, and offer you a much greater understanding of the local culture than talking to other travelers. Begin with the person at your hostel or hotel’s front desk. If you are volunteering, your host will be ideal!
23. Look after yourself
Life does not stop while we go on vacation, despite how it may appear at times. Nothing is worse than becoming ill when hiking. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t have that one extra drink or try all the amazing local dishes, but remember to take care of yourself.
Try to eat at least one healthy meal per day, drink enough of water, and give your body time to relax and recover. On travel days, keep snacks on hand because traveling with a bag burns more calories than you’re used to, and you’ll need them for energy.
24. Be adaptable.
When it comes to giving oneself time to rest, be flexible in your preparations. Make a bucket list for each destination on your vacation, but leave some days open in case you need additional rest, the weather is bad one day, or you meet some cool new people and want to do something spontaneous with them.
25. Keep an eye out for free WiFi hotspots.
Find out and remember which locations in your area offer free WiFi (think McDonald’s, Starbucks, etc.). When you first arrive in a new city, download city maps to your phone. You can then utilize them even if you are not connected to WiFi.
26. Contact family and friends
Before you travel, distribute your itinerary to a few different family members or close acquaintances. Then, make it a practice to check in with them at regular intervals. It may be as simple as sending an email before going to bed each night, but having someone aware of your location and expecting you to check in each day can make a tremendous difference if something goes wrong on your backpacking trip.
I hope you found these 26 first-time travel tips and tactics useful. Backpacking is a learning experience, but it becomes easier as you go, and you’ll undoubtedly discover your own tips and techniques along the way.