Travelling for the first time can be pretty exciting but just as daunting. If it weren’t for the internet and people sharing their travel tips and travel hacks, I would probably be a nervous wreck each time I travel. Here are my 10 travel tips for first-time travellers that should help make your first trip slightly easier and pain-free.
Three weeks before your trip: plan activities
1. Make a list of activities: if you have a list of things you’re excited to do, jot them down. Whether you’re printing it out or saving it on your phone, it’s always easier to quickly refer to a list than trying to recall to-do lists and activities from memory. As a bonus, you won’t miss an adventure!
2. Research your activities: imagine flying halfway across the world, going to an iconic landmark only to discover that they’re closed for maintenance. In addition to the list you made, do a quick google search of all the things you want to do and you can easily see operating hours, prices and locations with directions. This way you’ll know how to plan your days plus you’ll know what to expect when it comes to prices. No shockers here or spending unexpected money.
Two weeks before your trip: check mandatory requirements
3. Check for medical requirements: some destinations have strict rules about needing vaccines before you arrive. There’s usually a 14 – 30 day window for you to get the necessary medicine for the country you’re going to.
4. Pack your own medication: save money by packing in your own medication. Whether it’s your trusted pain meds, something for an allergy or even the eye drops you love. Make a list of what you have, and then purchase what you still need. Pack in small quantities so that you don’t have to spend money on this later.
One week before your trip: sort out your finances
5. Clear your credit card: if you plan on using your bank cards internationally, then you need to clear them with your bank. It’s as easy as a phone call to inform them that they shouldn’t be alarmed with any international transactions. The last thing you want is sitting in a foreign country and having your payments bounce because your bank has flagged you. I once forgot to do this and only remembered while standing in the line at passport control. Save yourself the stress and do it a week before you leave.
6. Move your money into the correct account: if you have a chequing, savings and credit account, you should move your money into the correct account before you leave home. You don’t want to wait until you’ve landed in a different country to do this because you might not have immediate access to wifi but you will need to pay for taxis, exchange your money or even buy some food at the airport. Better safe than sorry I’d say.
A few days before your trip: travel documentation
7. Double check your travel documentation: have a look at flight confirmations, hotel and Airbnb booking confirmations. Double check that all names are spelt correctly on flight documents and the check-in times with your accommodation coincides with your flights. Make sure you’ve calculated the different time zones correctly and let your accommodation know if you’ll be arriving later or earlier than their preferred check-in times.
8. Keep your travel documents on hand: print out copies and save digital copies on your phone. Flights could be delayed and your phone dies this is where papers will help. And if you lose the papers you’ll have your phone. Either way, you’ll be sorted if anything does happen.
At the airport: make your life easier
9. Check-in online to get the best seats on the plane: Here’s what you need to consider when choosing your seats:
- upfront has more leg room.
- the wing is a bumpier ride and rougher landing than the rest of the plane
- Backsitters will get off the plane last and those are golden seats for parents flying with children because they’re close to the toilets.
10. Head through security early: whether it’s a long line that suddenly appears or issues with your papers, head through security early and chill in the boarding section. Airports will usually have the same stores, restaurants and cafes on this side and doing this is a great way of having peace of mind when you’re a first time traveller.
And you’ve made it! By this point you’ll be ready to board your plane and you’ll be on your way to your holiday destination. Leave me a comment and let know where you’re off to or where you’re dream destination is.