I believe the world is meant to be traveled. That would make sense since it’s right there around us- and provided we have the time and resources- entirely possible. However, as a first-time traveler, you probably feel hesitant about the Dos and Don’ts- whether you’re traveling locally or internationally. You want to be prepared- and that’s great because we have some excellent travel experts and adventurers here, with their handy advice, who can help you get prepared for your first travel.

Offline Maps

“Download the offline maps of the area you’re going to be in through Google Maps so you always have access to an interactive map. Maybe you’re off the grid without cell service or in a new country where you can’t read local signs–whatever it may be, it’s enormously helpful! 2. Have an itinerary, but keep it flexible. For example, book your hotel or AirBNB but have a list of different activities to do in the area. Depending on time, weather, and crowds, your first choice activity may not be an option and it’ll be nice to have back-up ones. 3. Always carry a reusable water bottle. Travel itself dehydrates you and you can fill up for free at the drink dispensers at gas stations or convenience stores, at water fountains in airports, or public parks. If you’re flying, of course empty it before going through security. Paying $3 or more for a plastic water bottle is a waste to your wallet and the environment.” 

Hilary Bird is a freelance marketer who travels around the country in her self-built 1999 Ford E250. She is also the owner of Green Van Go

Local Guide

“A tip for first-time travelers that I would suggest is to try to find a local guide if possible. The reason for this is because most of the major tourist guides available will only take you to those popular tourist spots. This may sound good at first, but eventually, you’ll find out that it’s just a trap. Many of these tourist spots will charge higher prices than normal and won’t even be that good. Plus, you will most likely be crowded together with other tourist groups who have been taken to the same spot as you. For the best experience, get a local guide for a more authentic and educational experience. These local guides know the area very well and can show you all the amazing places that not many people know about. They can show you where to eat the cheapest and most flavorful foods, show you where to go shopping without getting nickel and dimed, and even show you some of the most beautiful places the area has to offer. It’s overall a much better experience. So if you can, try to get a local guide whenever you are traveling around. It will be totally worth it!”

Thanh (Wayne) Dang is a professional Travel Blogger and Food Blogger and Owner of The Daily Tourist

Traveling In the Pandemic

“If you’re traveling this summer, one of the most important questions to answer is figuring out where you can travel and what the restrictions or regulations are. If you’re heading internationally, it’s extremely important you familiarize yourself with the covid-19 travel rules and policies of the destination country, and the airlines plus hotels before you book. Plan for some headaches and hassles. Before you book your trip, use a free tool like Peanut to see which countries are open and what the rules and regulations are, as this information is often hidden or inaccessible on booking websites. Wherever you decide to travel this summer, be prepared and research the destination before making a decision.”

Brady Simpson, Founder of the Peanut Travel extension for Chrome

Embrace the Experience

“The most important lesson I learned after my first trip abroad was to let go of expectations and embrace the experience. It will depend on your destination but chances are, things won’t go as expected (many times). Maybe the locals won’t speak as much English as you thought, maybe one of your planes will get delayed, maybe it will rain all the time while you’re there. I learned that traveling is full of unexpected events, and that’s the beauty of it. Before you even start to plan the trip, take some time to decide what your goal(s) are. Is it to meet new people? Is it to learn a new culture? Is it to escape from your life for just a bit? Having a goal in mind will help you to embrace the experience as a whole. Minor inconveniences will occur and it’s up to you to not let them ruin your trip.”

JohnVo, Destination: Everywhere

Some Dos and Don’t

Don’t skimp when it comes to safety: While getting to know public transport is always a good thing, it is important to always value safety and assurance first. This means that in the event that you feel either tired or lost, and want to get back to your hotel or lodgings, then don’t hesitate to spend some extra cash for a taxi or rideshare service.” Do: “Learn some language basics: It never hurts to take a small course in learning the language of the country you plan on visiting. After all, there is a benefit to learning a few important phrases that could help you get around the place much more easily. For instance, knowing how to ask where the bathroom is located or how much something costs, could prove very useful, don’t you think?” Do: “Leave your valuables in the hotel. Traveling is not all fun and games; depending on where you are going, there is always the risk of you falling victim to pickpocketing, especially when exploring new and unknown places. This means that you don’t carry around anything valuable that could prove invaluable like jewels or even your passport.” Do: “Find a local guide. One of the best ways to ensure that you have a good trip and avoid getting lost or having challenges interpreting the local language is to simply get yourself a local guide to show you around the place. In most cases, they will provide you with the most authentic, fun, and educational experiences. Don’t avoid unfamiliar cuisine. When traveling to new places, it is important that you do not avoid trying out all the local cuisine, even if it’s something unfamiliar. Don’t be that person that goes everywhere and just orders a burger and fries. After all, trying out the local cuisine is usually one of the most rewarding parts of travel!”

Eden Cheng, Founder, WeInvoice

Start Small

“My best tip for first time travelers is to start small and choose close. So many first time travelers tend to become overwhelmed because they think that they have to travel Outside of their state or country for it to be considered travel. That could not be further from the truth. Traveling can mean as simple as a staycation or exploring surrounding states. Choosing a “close-cation” can relive the stress from your travel planning process and give you the practice that you need to feel comfortable planning extended trips.” 

Sierra Redmond (MSTT) is a journalist in the travel industry. She is also the Founder of a Luxury Family Travel Blog; The Daily Impressions, and CEO of East Star Media Agency

Travel Insurance

“Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time backpacker, never leave home without first ensuring that you’re adequately insured in case something goes wrong. As the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated, unexpected emergencies might strike at any time. Things happen. Fate intervenes. Purchase travel insurance to secure your protection. I never leave home without it since I am well aware of how quickly things may spiral out of control. You never know what may occur. The route is fraught with danger. Consider your protection. Additionally, it will provide you with peace of mind and enable you to travel with confidence.”

Holly Zorbas, Assistant Editor at CreditDonkey, a review and comparison website that publishes data-driven analysis for financial decision making

Flexibility

“There are so many tips that I could give to first-time travelers. First off, I would advise first-time travelers to not overbook themselves. While you definitely want to research your destination and have your list of must-see attractions, you should also allow flexibility in your schedule for unplanned events. This leads me to my second tip, talk to locals! Locals are great resources are little hidden gems in an area, whether it be a great restaurant or an off-the-beaten-path attraction. This is where having flexibility in your schedule allows you to truly experience the destination as a local does and not just as a tourist.”

Michelle Snell, Founder of That Texas Couple; a Couples’ Travel and Lifestyle Blog

With all that covered, it looks like you are all set to pack your bags and find your first destination! And most importantly, don’t forget to savor the experience and enjoy yourself. Take home beautiful memories.

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