Research, research, research.
Now that you have a world of information available via the internet, there’s no excuse to be an ignorant traveler. Wherever you want to go, make sure that you read up on anything and everything about your chosen destination: go-to places, travel guides, languages, basic laws and restrictions—in short, the A to Z of what will keep you alive, happy, and out of trouble during your trip.
Decide whether you wanna go DIY or book a travel agent.
While enlisting the help of a travel agent sounds like the easiest way to go, it may come with some problems, too (that is, cost an arm and a leg). If you’re traveling on a budget, consider a Do-It-Yourself trip—just make sure you know how to navigate your way around alien territory!
Prepare all needed travel documents.
Passport, visas, valid IDs, plane ticket—prepare them weeks before your actual travel date.
Plan out everything.
While spontaneity undoubtedly makes trips more fun, there’s no harm in drawing up a detailed itinerary, with a budget estimate to boot. Not only will this save you time and money, it will also ensure your safety. Make multiple copies and leave them with family at home and the concierge at your hotel!
Do as the locals do.
If there’s one thing that you must do when you’re traveling abroad, it’s blend in with the crowd. Skip popular fast-food chains that are also available at home; instead, try the local cuisine. If your vacation destination of choice maintains some religious and legal restrictions, be respectful of them. The last thing you want to do is look like a tourist, because it might just make you a target of pickpockets and other criminals.
Planning to walk the streets of Rome or hike up Machu Picchu? Wear the right clothes and shoes. You wouldn’t want to be that person who skips the tour just because you were wearing heels to a cave, would you?
Pack your medicines.
Brands of prescription drugs vary from country to country, so if you have some health concerns and maintenance meds, bring your own kit from home.
Learn the language. Even just the travel basics.
You don’t have to sound like a pro but at least know how to say simple things like greetings, ordering food, asking for directions. It wouldn’t hurt to immerse in the culture of your vacation spot.
While traveling abroad for the first time and by yourself can be a daunting task, it is also an exciting and eye-opening experience. Traveling is all about learning the culture of the country, all while enjoying every moment of it. So go book that ticket, pack your bags, and live your life!