It’s a great, big world and we’re so stoked that you’re about to get out there and explore it! No matter how much you’ve traveled in your home country there’s something equally thrilling and terrifying about taking your first trip overseas.
I’ve been globetrotting full-time for nearly 4 years to almost 60 countries and I’ve learned a thing or two along the way, including some top travel tips for first-time travellers.
1. Going Advance
The most important of all tips for first-time international travellers? Avoid unnecessary
stress by applying for a passport well before your expected departure.
Don’t book a flight or make any arrangements that can’t be changed until you have that little book that opens doors around the globe in your hand.
Some international flights require that you enter your passport number when booking or during online check-in, so it’s best to just have it first before you start booking anything.. somewhere completely new, different, and foreign is endlessly exciting but can also be a bit scary and confusing. But, it doesn’t have to be! Follow these simple tips to get your logistics in order to ensure smooth sailing.
2. Expenditure information for travelling abroad
As of 2022, the application fee for U.S. passports is $145 for adults and $115 if you’re under 16. If you’ve already gone ahead and started booking and paying for your trip you can pay an extra fee for your passport if you need it in a jiffy (the official term is “expedited”). Usually, you can receive an expedited passport within 2 weeks of your application.
3. Go abroad Things that are needed
Once your passport arrives, make paper and digital copies of the identification page. Give
one to your parents to keep safe and keep another in your wallet.
Take a photo on your
phone and keep a quality digital copy on your Google Docs. Once you get your visa stamp,
take a picture of that as well.
4. Do you want to stay close to your home country or go far away?
On your first trip, it’s okay to start somewhere close and head further afield as you get more
comfortable being an international globetrotting traveler.
5. Do you speak a foreign language?
Or, are you comfortable traveling to a place where you don’t speak the language? France
was the first country I visited that wasn’t an English or Spanish speaking country and I was
completely overwhelmed by not being able to communicate.
6. Are you eager to make new friends and connecting with locals?
If so, you may want to consider booking a guided tour – that’s a great way to connect with
fellow travelers and many tours allow you opportunities to meet local guides too.
7. What are you looking forward to the most?
Are you drawn towards beautiful buildings and architecture, eating delicious or unusual
foods, relaxing on a beach, climbing a mountain, or do you just want to party? It might help
to jot down a quick list in order to figure out 1-2 things that are the most appealing aspect
of your first-time overseas.
8. Keep Yourself Safe
Your first international trip may seem scary, but it’s almost always scarier in your mind than
it will ever be once you’re traveling. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while abroad:
9. Pickpockets and petty theft:
To avoid becoming a victim, always keep an eye on your belongings and hold your bag
tight. A crossbody bag or fanny pack are by far the most effective way to deter pickpockets.
Never carry a backpack on just one shoulder or leave your bag on the ground or on the
back of a chair.
Avoid putting cellphones or wallets in back pockets. If you’re really
concerned, money belts you can wear under your clothes and theft-proof wallets are also
10. Above all, common sense:
Ask locals which areas of town or city neighborhoods you should avoid, travel with a buddy
at night, don’t drink too much, especially if you are alone or not in a group of people you
trust, and meet new potential friends in public places, at least at first. If using a dating app,
keep the date public.
11. Check for health advisories and travel warnings and advisories
Check the State Department’s website to find out whether the U.S. government has issued a
travel warning, for countries where long-term issues create a risky environment for
travelers, or a travel alert, for countries with short-term conditions that may pose a threat to
travelers, for your destination.
Many travel insurance policies will not cover travel to countries that are under travel warnings.The continuing impact of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (which causes the COVID-19 disease) is still unfolding and is affecting different
countries across the globe in different ways.
Before your next trip, check the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention’s website for the most current information, including
updates on COVID-19 testing and vaccinations that may be required for international travel.
12. Register your trip with the State Department
If you’re traveling outside industrial countries or to remote areas, consider registering
online with the U.S. Department of State, and enter your itinerary.
In case of an emergency,
the U.S. government will know about your presence in the country and where to contact
Also, if you specify that your travel information can be shared with third parties, your family and friends can contact the Department of State to locate you if necessary.
Registration is free.