Traveling to a new destination can be overwhelming, especially when you haven’t done much in the way of traveling before. However, it isn’t as hard and stressful as it may look. The more you travel, the easier it gets, and you’ll begin to feel more and more prepared for your adventures. To get you started on the right foot, we’ve put together a list of five tips for new travelers.
1. Arrive at the airport early
How early should you arrive at the airport? That’s a common and important question many people have. The general rule is that if you’re traveling domestically, aka within your own country, you only need to arrive about an hour and a half before your flight. This can even be shortened to an hour if you aren’t checking any luggage.
For international flights, arrive at least two hours before your flight, however, giving yourself a little bit of extra time can help calm your nerves and make you feel less stressed. To speed up the time in the airport, pack carry-on only and check-in in advance online.
2. Watch your valuables
Many travelers are often afraid that they’re going to get things stolen or be pickpocketed on their travels. This does happen. As a tourist you’re naturally more vulnerable and with all the new and exciting things you’re seeing, also less likely to be paying attention to your purse, wallet, etc. You might think you’d be able to feel someone slipping their hand in your purse or pocket, but you’d be amazed at how sneaky pickpocketers are.
To prevent this, use a cross-the-body purse, carry wallets in your front pockets if you’re a guy, and make sure you are always aware of your valuables. If you’re wearing a backpack, use a lock to keep the zippers closed! Most importantly, don’t carry your passport and all your money on you at one time, keep them in a safe in your hotel, use a money belt, or spread out your money and passport across multiple pockets and bags when you need to carry them with you.
3. Avoid over packing
Even experienced travelers make the mistake of over packing. Having a giant bag that weighs half your body weight is going to slow you down. Not only will you likely need to carry it yourself everywhere you go, but it’s also very likely that you won’t need half the stuff you packed. To avoid making this mistake, make sure you know the weather conditions expected at the places you’re going to, create a packing list of everything you want to bring, and then cut it in half. Lastly, pack versatile items that can be worn multiple days and mix and matched with other things in your suitcase.
4. Think about currency
Most major Canadian and US airports have ATMs available where you can take out foreign currency, or they have an exchange counter where you can exchange Canadian or USD currency before you depart. You can also often find ATMs and exchange counters when you arrive at a foreign destination. However, it’s important to note that foreign exchange places often don’t take ALL currencies; usually they will only exchange major currencies like USD, Euros, and Pounds. Consequently, it’s always helpful to carry USD money on you, even if you aren’t traveling to the United States or aren’t coming from there. This currency is widely accepted around the world.
5. Print your confirmations
In the age of technology, this may seem like a dated thing to do. However, having print out confirmations of your hotels, transportation, etc. can really come in handy. Some airports won’t even let you into the departures area unless you can show them a copy of your itinerary. Also, what happens if your phone dies, or worse, you lose it, and now suddenly you don’t have all those important details with you?
These are just some tips to help you travel successfully whether domestically or abroad. What are some of your tips for first time travelers? Share them with us on our latest Facebook post!