Advice for First-Time Travellers

Scared? You’re not the only one
I remember being a fresh faced newbie backpacker turning up at my first hostel after 35 hours of travelling from Manchester, UK to Auckland, New Zealand. Truthfully, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I soon realised the position I put myself in was shared by so many people around me. Every traveller I spoke to had been through or was going through the same thing. The shared experience brings travellers together and you soon realise you’re not alone.

Tip: Talk to other travellers, some of the best conversations I have ever had have been in hostel rooms or bars with fellow travellers. The knowledge and spirit possessed by other travellers will help you on your journey.

Prioritise Travel
If you really want to travel YOU need to make it happen, you might need to take a few risks when stepping into the unknown but the experience you gain will forever repay your bravery.

Tip: Familiarise yourself with destinations and the cost of travel, look online, its never been easier to find out information about all aspects of travelling. While it is wise to book ahead; don’t make all plans concrete. Stay flexible so you can choose what you want to do and when you want to do it once you are there.

Homesickness: Your Home Doesn’t Go Anywhere
Your travelling could be the start of something bigger or just a one off short time away. Make sure you make the most of your travels and don’t waste your time fantasizing of home and letting homesickness get in the way of having a good time.

Tip: If you’re concerned about being away from home, dont worry, just remember you can find your comforts, family and friends exactly where you left them when you return. Make the most of your adventure.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Theres an old saying, “If you do what you always do, you’ll get what you always get.” Try something brave and the rewards you see in return may surprise you. Test yourself and you might get a glimpse of what you are capable of once you let go and get out into the big bad world.

Tip: If you see a chance to do something you want to do – take it! To me, thats what travel is all about.

Are you planning your first trip, or do you have any advice you could give to somebody just starting out? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Lee Carter

Born and raised in Accrington, UK, Lee has ventured far beyond his hometown, traveling throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, North America and New Zealand. He is the co-founder of Global Goose and as well as writing the occasional rant he can be found tweaking the code and taking photos of amazing things around the world. Lee and Kelly have no plans to stop their "Gap Decade" anytime soon.

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18 Comments

  1. Hi Charlee,

    I now think of solo travel is like getting an injection, you are always scared before but afterwards you realise you never had anything to be scared about. We now travel as a couple but the best decision I ever made was to set out alone, you really get to know yourself. (I’m sure thats the most hippy thing I have ever said).

    If you need any help choosing a place just let me know.

    Good Luck,

    Lee

  2. Thanks for this post, really appreciate the words of encouragement! I’m heading off as soon as I can after I graduate this summer and all of these things are definitely things I can relate to, especially as I might go on my own. Cannot wait to go but at the same time I’ve not ventured very far before so I know the moment I put serious thought into planning it its going to be terrifying! x

  3. Great tips! I once was very surprised to meet a woman who was extremely home sick on her first ever trip. I would never think this is something that can happen..

    1. I can believe it, I’ve seen people do the same. Perhaps she was not in the right mindset for travel and she was focusing on what she was missing at home rather than what she was experiencing abroad. It’s too bad though, because that attitude probably made her trip less enjoyable than it could have been.

  4. Yes absolutely, it really does have to do with your attitude. You need to be open to the new experience and be prepared for the fact that it will be different from home. When I was teaching in South Korea, two new teachers went back home after one week, which is hardly enough time to know whether you will love it or not.

  5. Great post! I think fear is what stops alot of people from travel and its really something everyone should do at some point. everything from fear of flying to homesickness can be cured by sucking it up and facing your fears!

  6. Great advice! While I’ve travelled internationally with friends and family I haven’t on my own.

    I found tip number two particularly useful. There are many destinations I plan to visit and I’ve saved enough money to embark on an overseas adventure but I always wait for family or friends to go with me. My friends are prioritizing starting their careers after university graduation and I have to face the fact that if I want to travel then I have to make it a priority. Even if it means going alone. I can always join a tour group if I want company and perhaps I’ll make new friends who share my passion for travel along the way.

    By the way as a kiwi I’m glad you enjoyed your backpacking trip around New Zealand!

    1. We thoroughly enjoyed our backpacking adventure around your beautiful country. New Zealand is amazing!
      Good luck on your solo travel adventures, you will definitely make lots of friends along the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Thank you for posting these tips. The biggest thing I have to overcome is making excuses. Money is a very easy excuse, and time is another big one I always use. But you are making me think – why wait? There is always going to be an excuse, and my “obligations” only increase with time. There is so much of the world I want to see, and I know that pictures can last a lifetime. So I’m going to get a camera and venture out. I love your blog and I’m going to forward this to my friends.

  8. I agree – great tips and advice!I travelled to Cape Town for the first time – wait, it was my first travel internationally, on my own and I was 26 at that time. Being babied and spoiled my whole life by my parents and 3 older brothers, I was scared and excited at the same time. Nevertheless, it turned out to be the best trip ever! I did it again, a year later.

    I would certainly advise people to travel on their own, just for the experience. I met and spoke to many people and it felt good that others wanted to know more about Malaysia, my home country and its culture, just as much as I wanted to learn about theirs. I met Americans, British, Kenyan, Kiwis and others during my trips – it was awesome!

  9. It’s good to get over the home sickness – this is one of the main things that stops people travelling. Also, more then this, is flying. A lot of people (myself included) are pretty scared of flying because if a plane has a fault you can;t do anything about it! Although probably absurd (you have more chance of crashing in a car) it reaffirms the fear a lot of people have and stops them venturing out of their regional territories.

  10. Wow you backpacked to a lot of places. That’s pretty awesome. I don’t think I could ever do that. I’m too afraid of it, especially if I want to go alone. The only thing that I can do alone is probably go to the airport and have family pick me up at my destination lol. I know its sad but that’s me. I think its cool that people go backpacking around different countries. I’ve seen a few people in Hawaii that backpacked here in Honolulu. I’d like to go on trips but its hard especially when money is involved and there’s always deadlines at work. Ugh. You are so lucky!

  11. I agree Lee, good advice for people getting out there for the first time.

    I would also suggest making a document about it. In terms of a travel diary or perhaps a video diary. If you feel like you’re doing the adventure for others too, it’ll give you more inspiration to keep going and push yourself more! Plus when you look back, you’ll have memories to share for years to come!

  12. The best advice I have for a first time traveler is to not overthink your trip and plans. I have learned this first hand. If you worry too much on following a schedule and what you are suppose to be doing, you often miss out on some cool things that are right there in front. Some of the coolest things I have seen on my travels were sites that we just happened to stumble upon and were not in any guide book or on an internet site.

  13. And first timers should get in touch with bloggers like ourselves for advice! If I’d have known there was a whole community of experienced travellers who were literally making it their business to write down hints and tips about travel my initial experiences backpacking around Europe would have been so much easier…

    1. That is so true! Reading travel blogs was one of my early inspirations when I started traveling and I am glad now that I can pass along what I have learned to others who are just starting their journeys.

  14. I have this golden advice, always keep the money and the card on you, not in your luggage or bags. Keep one or two currency notes in the shoes. Do not reveal the very important personal information to the strangers, they may misuse. Avoid traveling in countries which are not politically stable.

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