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Tuesday
Oct272015

5 Tips For First Time Travellers 

Travelling for the first time is many things: fun, exciting, thrilling, but also scary and nerve-racking with all the planning and things to consider. With a little help from an experienced traveller and a few simple tips and tricks though, it suddenly becomes a whole lot easier.

Your friends have come back from the most amazing adventures with a lifetime of stories to tell – from drinking saki with the locals to a sunrise over the Indian Ocean. You are ready to do the same, but there seem to be so many more questions! So here are basic do’s and don’ts for your own trip.

Gain some travel confidence by exploring your own country
It seems frightening to go somewhere you don’t speak the language, where everything is different, the culture, the climate and event street signs. Going a few hours north or south of home, spending a few days away where you have phone coverage and your sat nav is working is a lot less scary, isn’t it? Take a couple of weekend trips, and gain some travel confidence. You will learn to use your sense of direction,  chat to locals and most importantly it will probably be enough to give you travel bug! Once you have started exploring, the world is your oyster!

Ask friends for tips
Every traveller has tips to share. Ask friends, family, other volunteers (link to forum) what they can tell you. You will hear anything from local knowledge to the most important sentences, tricks to keep your belongings safe, scanning and photocopying your important documents, foods to try and to avoid… Some of it will come in handy at some point.
Of course, you could travel with a friend and together, it is much easier to tackle new environments.

Do your research
Just go and see what happens certainly is one way to travel, but maybe not the best approach for your first trip. Instead, make sure you find out what you can about your destination. A country guide from your local library (or book shop, if you would like to take it with you) will do, and then there is the wonderful world of the internet. Somewhere in the world wide web there is an answer to all your questions – someone has usually asked the same before.
Take notes on the language spoken in the country, adapters you need, maybe check transport methods and a place to stay for your first night. Check if you are likely to have wifi or need to find internet cafes should you need to do more research online.

Pack right
Packing is always an issue. You will never get it quite right, but if you think it through and ask yourself the correct questions, it is a lot easier.
Backpack or suitcase? You won’t be able to pull a suitcase on a beach, but if you know you have transport to your accommodation and are staying there, maybe it is the right choice for you.
How much? Think about how long you are going, check the weather, plan to layer your clothes, and remember you can wash in between. You can even get a travel wash bag if you are worried of running out of clean clothes.
Bring one of each: Have a warm jumper, a long skirt (trousers for men) if culture requires knees to be covered, beach clothes as well as good walking shoes, and anything else you know you will need.
Remember, in emergencies you are likely to find a shop on the way or someone to help you out. Except for your important documents, there is nothing that can’t be bought, sent or borrowed.

Enjoy every minute!
First and foremost, have fun and make the most of your experience! Plan as much as you need to feel confident you are ready to go; for some of it that means looking up what the arrival airport is called, for others it involves a file full of research.
If you are going on a volunteering project, make sure you know what to expect and what you want to get out of it, that is how you know if the project is right for you.
And then, enjoy every minute, don’t let small setbacks get you down – a missed shuttle from the airport won’t affect your experience. Just think of all the wonderful stories and memories you will come back with.

Here are some more useful articles:

8 Reasons Why Travelling Alone Is The best Adventure You Can Have

10 Safety Tips For Women Travelling Alone

10 Travelling Apps For Your Next Trip

Packing Apps To Help You Prepare Like A Pro

How To Streetwise While Abroad

Stay Safe While Travelling Solo

By Claire Herbaux – Online Journalism Intern

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