Note from a Failed First Time Traveler

Learning new things about travel might came from a newbie, too.

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Traveling is a new thing for most hermits like me. My first travel years back was a combination of failure and laughter. So if you are a first time explorer, these tips can help you on your way to awesome adventures.

Research, research, and research

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As a first time traveler, you don’t know what awaits you on your first travel destination. Most of us are usually accompanied by experienced people. Even though, you need to research as well. Research about the places or sites you want to see and what you should try. Know the local’s way of life, customs, culture, food, history and arts. Try to research not only for the famous sites, but also for the interesting places where you can hang out. I failed to do this before. I relied wholly on my friends so I don’t have any idea of what makes me excited about the trip.

Pack what is necessary

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Packing for the first time is like solving a calculus problem—so difficult! Packing is a foreign thing to me. On my first trip, I placed all my clothes in the luggage without considering what is important and not and I ended up having a bulky and heavy one. Don’t do that! The clothes you bring should depend on the number of days you’ll be on a trip. Consider the places you’ll go to and the weather. Know the culture; if you’re visiting conservative places, consider wearing modest but comfortable clothing. Know the seasons as well; if it is summer there, forget your winter collection. It also helps to put extra clothes in your hand carry bag for emergency purposes. Release your “scout” feels when traveling; be prepared. Be wary of your luggage capacity to avoid excess baggage which would mean additional charges.

Sleep and Relax

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Days into my first out of the country trip, I wasn’t able to sleep for nights. I was so nervous because it was my first time to ride an airplane and my first time to travel abroad. I thought of plane crash, being lost and missing my mom. There is this feeling of oddness due to lack of sleep combined with long hours of travel. It will affect your appreciation of the place. So relax and just be excited about your trip and forget the negative thoughts running in your mind.

Wear appropriate clothes

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When I met with my companions at the airport, guess what I was wearing? I was in a purple formal blouse with a big ribbon on it. My friends were in comfortable casual clothes while I was wearing clothes suited for a job interview. I forgot that I will travel for a vacation and not for a business meeting. In my embarrassment I hurriedly opened my luggage and pulled a shirt out of it and changed. Wear appropriate and comfortable clothing but not so comfortable like being in pajamas.

Don’t be a flight freak

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My first plane ride is ok. I must admit that it was scary especially during the take off. Don’t overthink. Try to sleep during the flight. It will help you gain more strength particularly if you will do a lot of walking during your trip, so charge up always.

Bring enough money

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Thank God because on my first trip I was able to buy what I wanted. Bring extra dollars or the country’s local currency always. Buy only what you need. I spent most of my money on food. One way of enjoying the place is with such good food in your mouth. As much as possible, try the local foods. Don’t be afraid of trying but be mindful of what you are eating. Does salmonella ring a bell?

Be kind and help others

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Help when needed and be kind as always. When my friends and I traveled to Korea, we are anxious of where can we have our transport back to the city because we had a failed decision in riding a taxi that cost us 18,000 KRW (the reason you need to do #1).  As we huddle, a Filipino started giving suggestions to us. He was very helpful. Same with other travelers you’ll encounter, they might be lost too and if you know the way, don’t hesitate to help. That is one way of making new friends. Be kind to all and mind your manners at all times.

Capture what is memorable and share

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Bring a camera with you when you travel. Pictures are proof of your travel especially on your first. Travel has many benefits too. One is being able to share your realizations and experiences. Sharing to others what you’ve learned is like sharing your blessings.

Save for your next travel

Start saving for your next travel. Saving is a discipline so do it as early as now. Don’t be stuck in being a first timer. Make another step and move to your next travel destination.

Don’t be afraid to explore. Remember that the now frequent travelers were once first timers, too.  Just go, discover and travel more.

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Happy travels!