Travel Advice for the Newbie

Many folks planning to travel for the first time often find themselves with certain insecurities as well as a bit of hesitancy. Haunted by questions like “can I”, “what if” or “Is there”. This is completely normal of course. Prepared for you in this article are some tips for placing your confidence in travel and moving along nicely from destination to destination without fearing to get your toes wet.

Basic Planning
All you need to do here is book your first night. You want to find yourself landing in a comfortable spot, after you’re done landing from the plane that is.

Choosing Destinations
Every traveler wants to visit talked-about places like India, or Maldives, or say, an exotic spot somewhere in Europe. However, since you’re a first-time traveler, you might want to stick to destinations that match your limited travel skills and experience; do a little research and travel to places where you know there aren’t too many urban problems or other social or economic issues that travelers tend to shy away from. According to the State Department some places to avoid include Korea, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

Arrival Time
Arriving in an unfamiliar location after dark can tend to make it look unwelcoming or intimidating, especially if you’re not attuned to it at all. Arriving during the latter half of the day can also make it difficult to switch accommodation, in case you have a change of heart. Reading hotel reviews certainly help. Arrive early so you won’t have to do any fretting at the last minute.

Airport officials predict that around 2 million passengers are going to be passing through LAX this Thanksgiving, so you might want to plan ahead.

Take Your Time
The first day in a new city can tend to be awkward, particularly larger ones. A traveler’s first instinct is to start planning activities and be on the move the first day. Give yourself a good 24 hours to settle in and get comfortable with the surroundings. Try to relax a little before setting out on your escapades.

Keep Your “Money and Stuff” Secure
Any kind of money belt or pouch that hangs around your neck or under your clothes would do. Find some nice spots to stash your cash as well. A money belt is useful for keeping your essential documents secure at all times. Distribute money, credit cards or any valuables between two spots. Keep a few dollar bills in your medicine or supplement bottles. A would be pick-pocket will most likely choose not to make away with your bottle of Multi-vitamins.

Security expert (403 Web Security) Alan Wlasuk says not to perform any private transactions on public computers as they may capture your passwords, effectively cleaning out your account.

Take it Slow
It’s quite likely that as a newbie traveler you’re going to want to start doing too much in too little time, in a bid to make the most of your vacation. Take it easy and take time to really take in the sights and sounds. When you’re planning, keep in mind there’s travel time or days between destinations. Try to schedule the number of days you’ll be staying in one spot, in advance. This would include the travel days/time of course. How much time you end up spending in one spot would naturally be determined by how attractive or inviting that place is to the average traveler.

If your destination is outside the US, here’s a great tip by Ed Perkins, consumer travel advocate for ASTA: you won’t get a great exchange rate, unless you convert your currency in the US first.

“Insider” Tips
While moving around the city, dinning in restaurants, roaming the malls, or staying at your hotel, you’ll likely come across numerous tips from the locals or fellow travelers. Make the most of these as they come your way.

Be Safe
You need to be responsible for your own safety, particularly if you’re a solo traveler. Follow your instincts, the safety rules and common sensibility you incorporate at home. Emergency numbers and the details of your stay should be on you at all times. Don’t go overboard with the drinks or alcoholic beverages. Be selective about who you hang out with in the city. Remember, to them you’re still an outsider and a potential free ticket. When trouble comes knocking, it usually arrives without an invitation.

The US State Department recommends you sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so you can be assisted with ease in an emergency.