Traveling is a great way to relax and get away for a little. Whether you are traveling to another city, state, or country, it can be intimidating, especially for first time travelers. The steps are the same no matter if you are a first-time traveler or an avid traveler.
Deciding on the destination isn’t the only planning you have to worry about. Finding a hotel, flight, and transportation are also important steps to take in the planning process. Some trips you are able to decide the day of and leave to your destination, others can take months to plan. You will want to start planning and saving for your trip as early as possible. Determining your budget for your trip is one of the first steps to take. It will help provide direction when looking for destinations, hotels, and flights. I suggest factoring in travel insurance to your budget. I’ve personally experimented with buying travel insurance and going without it. As they say, “You never need it until you don’t have it.” It’s pretty cheap, and in my humble opinion is a good way of having peace of mind when you travel. Now that you have it figured out where you want to travel, you can start making plans for what you will do during your trip. You don’t want to miss any experiences but you also want to make sure you aren’t cramped for time. My family constantly reminds me that I tend to cram too much into a schedule. Most people want to enjoy a tour or activity and then have time to relax before doing another activity.
Traveling abroad? Make sure you have any necessary visas in time. Also, make sure your passports are valid.
Once you have your destination, you will know how to pack. You can check the weather during the time you will be visiting to dress accordingly. (Plan to dress in layers.) Make a list of items you are going to need on your trip. When you put it in your suitcase, check it off. It will give you peace of mind. You might want to bring multiple outfits in case the weather does change. Being prepared for the worse can be the best way to pack. Bring extra toiletries in case the hotel doesn’t provide them or you run out. It is best to pack the essentials in your carry-on such as electronics, passports, identification. (Bring photocopies of your passports and IDs in case they are stolen.) It is also a good idea to weigh your bags so there are no surprises at check-in. This will let you know if you need to remove non-essentials from your suitcase.
Helpful hint: Bring laundry soap sheets so if you get stuck somewhere, you can wash clothes. Also, bring snacks in case you get stuck with an unexpected airport layover.
If you’re traveling abroad, call your bank to tell them you are traveling so your debit or credit card isn’t blocked when you try to make purchases in a foreign country.
You have arrived and now it’s time to start enjoying your time. Once you have had the opportunity to check into your room and unpack. It is time to start sightseeing. Though you may be inclined to take photos throughout your entire trip to show family and friends, you want to avoid using your electronic devices as much as possible. Enjoy your experience and don’t live it through your phone. If you are traveling to a different country that has different customs, you will want to make sure you respect their culture. It may be normal for you to act one way at home and another way in someone else’s home. Just be aware of your surroundings and enjoy your first travel experience!