The first time you travel out of the country can be somewhat of a milestone! Not only are you planning on experience another culture, but you’ll probably have a life changing experience by exploring the world beyond your backyard.

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Nevertheless, newbies can be a little nervous about what to expect and how to prepare. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of the most important tips to keep in mind if you’re a first time-traveler. Take note!

Plan Financially

Most first-time travelers seldom travel out of the country by themselves, but sometimes, this isn’t the case. According to nationally known travel agent, Jeff Bartel, first-time travelers should plan in detail everything from expenses for meals, to transportation and stay, to fun activities. They also need to have a little extra just in case things don’t add up.

By making a financial plan, you’ll be able to have somewhat of an expense safety net, which can give you peace of mind when traveling on your own.

Get A Passport

It’s not rocket science, you need to have a passport in order to leave and return from the U.S. If you already have a passport, make sure it’s valid and up-to-date.

Choose Your Travel Insurance

You want your first trip to go off without a hitch. So, don’t forget about travel insurance. This must-have is often skipped by new and experienced travellers alike…particularly younger travellers. To keep yourself safe and protected (wherever you’re going!),  always make proper arrangements.

A travel insurance firm is an ideal choice, as they will have a range of travel insurance options, a reputable underwriter, and no age limits to their policies. That means they can be bought by everyone!

TSA Standards

Make sure you have some familiarity with TSA standards. This means you have to know what you can take on the plane and what needs to be left behind. There’s nothing worse than emptying bottles of shampoo in a crowded airport.

Make Phone Calls Before Your Trip

Any phone calls that you need to do have to be done before departure, whether you need to bid one last farewell, check your balance or verify transportation at your destination. Then, you’re all set to go!

Fighting Jet Lag

Jet lag can probably cost you a few days of new experiences. Instead of recovering from it in your hotel room, do your best to sleep in the plane, thus, helping you adjust to your new time zone.

Locals

Don’t stay in your own bubble, try meeting a local! This helps you explore your destination through the eyes of a local, which can help you avoid hordes of tourist. Let them show you around town. You’ll also be able to immerse yourself in another culture.

Using a Map

There’s a heavy stigma about people using maps, especially when men use one. If you’re in another country and you have no idea where you are or where you need to go, buy a map! Getting lost is a lot worse than worrying about what other people think about you.

Be Open Minded

Sometimes, those traveling to a different country may experience a culture shock, which can often lead to homesickness. A remedy to this is to travel with an open mind and understand that not every country you visit to will have the same norms and values as those in the U.S. Also, be sure to respect these norms, values and a country’s traditions. If you need to, research the culture of the country you’re planning on visiting so you avoid making cultural faux pas.

Guidance

Don’t do everything the brochure tells you to do. Be in the moment, find guidance from everywhere you go, whether it’s through a local or a sign above a restaurant claiming to have the best seafood Pho in Ho Chi Minh. Think of traveling as a way to participate in another culture, which means you have to let go of your Western ways and let the city guide you.

Shoes

Remember that wherever you go, you’re probably going to need comfortable shoes, so make sure to bring a good pair.

Sure, your first trip out of the country can be a little nerve-wracking, but by following these simple tips, you’ll be able get an idea of what to expect and what’s expected from you.

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