Wed, July 18th, 2012 - By

How to Cope as a First Time Traveller

I remember being a first time traveller.  The newness of it… the sheer terror of it.

Let’s face it: the unknown is scary, right?  I have never been scared of foreign ice cream, finally seeing that amazing monument or attraction, exploring cobblestone streets or soaking up in the experience of another language.

It’s all the stuff that you aren’t sure about that can get under your skin:

  • What if I can’t communicate – and can’t find the toilet?
  • What if I get mugged?
  • What if I packed the wrong stuff?
  • What if I don’t like it?
Heck, I still think those things sometimes on a trip to somewhere far away and somewhat… foreign. Here are some tips to cope as a first time traveller.

First, stop playing the What If Game. ‘What if ‘ does not help anybody. If something truly is bothering you, hop onto Twitter or Facebook and ask around – no place on earth is really “undiscovered” and so find someone who has been and can help.

Also, keep in mind most of the stuff that you’ve manufactured in your mind will not happen. Yes, you might get lost, but a fleet of knife-wielding ninjas will not appear from around the corner to attack you because you’re holding a map and looking lost. You can get run over by a car in front of your house – you just aren’t as aware of the risks because you’re more familiar with the terrain.

Tip: The Solo Travel Society is a good Facebook page if you want to ask questions about travelling – especially if you’re going solo.

Second, remember – life is an adventure.  Even if you just want to go and lay on a beach somewhere, you’ve got to get there, and if you want to get far away from home, that means dealing with airports and all the awkward/uncomfortable stuff that goes along with it, from the “horrific” food on the plane to that strange airport security pat-down moment.

Chalk it all up to a character building adventure. I promise you, it will be a lot more fun and a lot less scary than you are thinking.

Now, who’s your travel buddy? Everyone needs a buddy/companion/wingman when it comes to travel. Yes, everyone. If you’re going by yourself, you need someone you can send a wee text or Facebook message to when things have all gone to s___ and you need to moan. Send them a postcard as a thank you.

Better yet, it can be a lot of fun to travel with a friend and experience all those new adventures together. It can feel a lot less scary to navigate foreign terrain with someone with you who can help with the map and weigh in on those “well, what do we do now” decisions.

Do you remember being a first time traveller?  What are your tips?

Photo by author.

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 at 10:00
Category : How To...
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