43 Travel Tips for first time travellers

I’d like to thank the guys at Y Travel Blog for this post:

When you are fresh off the plane on your first travel adventure there is much you don’t know about the wider world, but a lot you do know about the place where you just left.

This can be dangerous as it can lead you to commit many cultural faux pas. It may also mean that you travel with a mind that is not yet open to new experiences and ways of being.

To make it easier your journey of discovery and growth easier here is a list of

43 travel tips for first time travellers

1. Don’t expect things to be like they are at home.
2. Travel with your eyes wide open.
3. Be open to learn new things.
4. Don’t judge, instead say, “Isn’t that interesting? Tell me more.”
5. Learn the basics of the local language. Use them often. It is the best way to show respect,  break down barriers and start conversations.
6. Manners are universal, use them.
7. Do not shout at others, they are not deaf, they just can’t understand you.
8. NEVER complain that the people of the country you are visiting do not speak English. Remember where you are.
9. Bargain, it is an expected part of a transaction.
10. Do not over bargain. 50 cents is nothing to you, but may mean a days worth of meals to the person you are haggling with.
11. Respect local customs. It is not about your way, you are the visitor.
12. Party yes. Have fun yes, but do not go so far to extremes that it means you trash the local area and country and people die.
13. Leave a good impression of your culture on the countries you are visiting.
14. Have off the beaten path adventures and enjoy travelling to the touristy stuff too- just add a different angle to it.
15. Dont think you are so awesomely cool just because you’ve visited 58 countries on a budget of $25 a day and all you do is go off the beaten path like a real hard-core traveller does.
16. Travel in a style that is in alignment with your values and suits your likes and interests. Ignore everyone else’s opinion.
17. Start travelling when you are young
18. Don’t listen to the naysayers and dreamstealers telling you why you can’t live your dreams and how you should conform.
19. Eat street food. It won’t kill you. In fact, there are many reasons why you should eat street food.
20. Try different local dishes- ditch the Western diet
21. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, it is how you grow.
22. Be flexible, it is the best way to adapt.
23. Ask for help when you need it, even if it is in sign language and charades.
24. Carry palm cards with important phrases written on it in the local language. essential for vegetarians in China.
25. Don’t be afraid to respectfully say no.
26. If the chef of a village offers you rice wine shots at 10am after a morning hike so you can chase away any evil spirits you are carrying, do not be afraid to say YES.
27. Talk to the local people. Be friendly. It’s amazing what you will learn.
28. Do as much local as you can: local food, local transport, local accommodation
29. Smile smile smile and laugh often- you’ll meet so many new friends this way.
30. Do one thing each day that scares you and push those comfort barriers a little further out each time.
31. Share and mingle with other travellers. It will give you a feeling of always being among friends.
32. Celebrate local customs and festivals with the local culture in their traditional manners.
33. Learn about other religions, not necessarily to believe something new, but to understand and perhaps to bring light unto your own beliefs.
34. Don’t rely on technology to help get you around, you will end up lost when the map app crashes.
35. Travel for longer in fewer places.
36. Don’t be afraid to take each day as it comes with limited plans.
37. Guard your passport with your life and don’t ever give it to US immigration for visa extension because they somehow think you don’t need it to leave the country and won’t return it to you.
38. Have travel insurance – it ain’t sexy but neither is the thousands you could end up paying if you don’t have it.
39. If you get robbed or bad things happen, don’t get hung up on it. As long as you are safe and well, let it go and continue to enjoy yourself.
40. Learn how to toilet squat. You’ll need it.
41. Don’t be afraid to blow the budget on those once in a lifetime experiences.
42. If you are really hating it, then change direction.
43. Be prepared for reverse culture shockwhen you return home as it could really mess you up.

My additions to the this post are:

  1. Always always trust your gut instinct. Learn to listen to it and follow it. If you feel safe – then do it. If you don’t, then for goodness sake, don’t! (As a new traveller, I once missed a Turkish wedding because I was too scared to accept an invitation to go; others that went had the time of their lives. On other occasions, I’m sure I’ve saved my skin by not accepting lifts to invitations to houses for dinner that felt dodgy).
  2. Travel on your own from time to time. It forces to you be become self reliant and interact with those you may not have otherwise
  3. If you really like it, buy it. It might blow the budget today but you will have a memento that will last for years (such as a carpet, handbag, painting / artwork, etc). You may never get the chance to go back.
  4. If traveling on your own and feeling lonesome and not meeting other fellow travellers that you gel with, change hostels / accommodation.
  5. Remember, cheaper is not necessarily better. Sometimes it’s worth splashing out some extra money to eat in a really well regarded restaurant, or take a taxi and save yourself an hour of public transport.
  6. Be smart, be safe. Take calculated risks. Be wary of taking drugs in other countries, you are really allowing your defences and gut instinct to be compromised if you do. Always think: Is that phone call to my parents worth it?  (Your son / daughter is arrested for possession of XYZ  illicit substance / in in hospital on life support …etc)
  7. Avoid restaurants that have pictures of the dishes on billboards out the front and look for places where locals are eating.
  8. Eating out on your own can be daunting, especially for the evening meal. Take a book or a smart phone to keep you occupied when you first start going for a table for one.
  9. Guard your passport with your life.
  10. Of course be happy and always respect that you are a visitor in someone else’s country.


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