Travelling to a new country can be an exciting experience, especially if it’s your first time leaving the country or visiting certain cities. However, whether you are UK citizens travelling to Italy or American residents going for an Asia trip, there are some concerns every first-time traveller has. To ensure that your trip is an overall success, and that you don’t encounter any unexpected problems, here are some helpful tips to remember before you go to ensure hassle-free travel if it’s your first time going abroad.
6 awesome tips for first time travellers
1) Take public transportation
One of the best travelling hacks is to take public transportation whenever possible. Whether you’re in a foreign country or visiting a city you’ve never been to before, you’ll quickly learn how much easier public transportation makes life on the road—not only does it get you from point A to point B, but oftentimes public transportation makes your trip more fun. Wherever you go, make sure to download an app like Google Maps, HopStop, or TransportforLondon; these will show all of your bus and subway stops and give real-time updates on when they’ll arrive at each stop. If there are traffic problems or delays reported along any route, these apps will also alert you so that you can make an alternate plan if necessary.
2) Go with someone
Travelling with someone else (or a few people) can be a fun way to make new friends. You’ll also have someone you know and trust with you in case of an emergency—or just to check out that restaurant that has everyone talking. Just be sure to coordinate arrival times, or you could end up waiting around for hours. Use social media: Before you go anywhere, be sure to use social media and other sites dedicated to travellers—such as TripAdvisor and Yelp—to find recommendations on things like must-see attractions and inexpensive restaurants. It’s easy enough to ask locals: If there are any natives in town when you arrive, don’t be afraid to stop them and ask what they suggest.
3) Get a guidebook
The world is a big place, and chances are you’ll find that you don’t know as much about where you’re going as much as you think. To make sure you get what you want out of your trip, it helps to have a book that can give quick descriptions of all (or at least most) attractions in an area, along with prices and hours. If someone does just one thing before taking a trip abroad, it is recommended to make sure to get in touch with at least one local who can share recommendations—and he or she will almost certainly mention needing to grab some kind of guidebook or cultural primer. No matter how convenient (or not) apps are right now, there’s nothing like having something tangible on hand when exploring somewhere new.
4) Book an AirBnB apartment
It’s not difficult to get a reservation on AirBnB. In fact, more than 10 million people have booked stays with AirBnB and there are over 4 million properties listed around the globe. That means you can find an affordable place to stay in pretty much any neighbourhood you want while travelling in one of them. That’s great news, because oftentimes staying at a hotel is more expensive than actually booking a vacation rental. When booking with AirBnB, you can choose from among all sorts of places including houses, condos, and apartments located throughout cities around the world so finding one near things like public transportation or tourist attractions is easy.
5) Bring home comforts
It might seem strange, but when you’re away from home, home will do a lot to keep you comfortable. Taking pictures of your favourite spots around home or bringing along a gift from home (even just a piece of clothing that smells like home) can be very comforting when you’re on a trip. Also remember to take along something that will help ground you in reality—your wallet, keys, cell phone, and such—because it can be easy to let wanderlust get out of control while travelling. To make sure you have these essentials with you at all times, keep them with an understanding friend or family member instead of checking them in luggage. Alternatively, pick up an ID holder so they can hang safely off your belt loop at all times.
6) Skip souvenirs
When you get off of a flight, you don’t want to waste precious vacation time on shopping. Instead, skip souvenirs and buy food, drinks, or new clothes at local grocery stores. You’ll have something to do when you settle into your hotel room after landing and it can save you money in the long run because prices tend to be cheaper abroad. Plus, if you like a particular restaurant or store, there will be other locations around town where you can find similar goods.