Travel Advice

50 Quick Lessons for First Time Travelers

by Emily Sussell

The greatest risk a traveler can take is to travel at all.
If you’ve made the decision to go on your first long-term trip, I personally congratulate and applaud you.
Caravelle décollage take off
Traveling long-term for the first time is beyond baffling. Where will you go? Where will you stay? Who will you meet and how will you pass the time? I honestly believe that it is best not to ask these questions, to plan as little as possible and dive in head first. I remember how frightening it felt to do that, and it gives me a longing to hold the hands of rookie travelers. While I can’t answer your questions  about the future, I can offer some brief lessons based on my own experience

  1. Don’t worry.
  2. Don’t plan so much.
  3. Don’t pack so much.
  4. Really, don’t pack so much. You’ll regret it.
  5. Have fun.
  6. Talk to strangers.
  7. Couchsurf.
  8. Travel alone.
  9. If you’re traveling with friends, spend some time alone every day.
  10. Let go of your attachment to “home”.
  11. Wherever you are NOW is your home.
  12. Practice feeling comfortable wherever you are.
  13. Ask for help.
  14. Try learning the language.
  15. If you’ve learned “Hello,” and “Thank you,” but nothing else since, KEEP GOING!
  16. Try the street food.
    Street food in Causeway Bay
  17. If the street food makes you sick, stop eating it.
  18. Eat where locals do.
  19. Smile often.
  20. See a movie in the native language.
  21. Blog.
  22. If you meet a good friend, change your plans to stick with them.
  23. If they’re ready to move on from you, let them go.
  24. Trust people.
  25. Ride motorbikes WITH CAUTION.
  26. Have insurance.
  27. Really, have insurance.
  28. Leave your map in your room and get lost.
  29. Get out of the big cities and into nature.
  30. Be amazingly adventurous on zero dollars a day.
  31. Don’t plan more than 24 hours ahead.
  32. Say “yes.”
  33. Exchange work for food/accommodation.
  34. Be patient with second-language English learners.
  35. Teach English.
  36. Keep a journal.
  37. Reinvent yourself. Nobody here knows you.
  38. Take pride in your home culture and let everyone know it.
  39. Question the ways of your home culture.
  40. Be grateful for this opportunity.
  41. Practice gratitude towards your hosts.
  42. You don’t need a lot of money. A little goes a long way.
  43. Take the slow route; cars, trains, buses. You’ll see more than from a plane.
  44. Share rides.
  45. Hitchhike.
  46. Share knowledge.
  47. You don’t have to jump out of planes to be adventurous.Tandem sky-diving jump
  48. But if you have the money and the guts, oh my god, do it.
  49. Fall in love with someone you may never see again.
  50. Fall in love with yourself.

Add to my list!

5 thoughts on “50 Quick Lessons for First Time Travelers

    • Hey Rubella! Thanks for reading 🙂 It’s true; once you make that first big leap to get overseas, the rest sort of creates itself!

  1. Regarding #17 “if the street food makes you sick, don’t eat it”- it could be any food, not just what’s on the street. At least on the street, you see the “kitchen…” Although I eat I’d eat in any fine restaurant or hovel and try almost anything, remembering the BRAT acronym (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) has come in handy for when one’s stomach is sad. Failing that, a visit to the local chemist and the ability to gesticulate will have to do.

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