We all love travelling as travelling gives you some fresh air amidst the busy schedule. It allows you to see new places, meet new people and experience new things that would enrich you with knowledge. Solo travel is like a practical exam. No matter how prepared you are, you will undoubtedly make mistakes. First-time travellers make silly mistakes which are experiences to them. Let’s discuss the mistakes done by most of the first time travellers. It requires a lot of research and a bit of courage to make a trip pleasant.
Proper planning is the well-built base for your travel
Planning is a beautiful and systematic process. A good planner may not be an adventurous person, but he remains safe in the oddest situations. When an adventurer runs for life, a well-planned traveller is always ready with different options. So plan well. If you are going out on a solo trip, you need to be ready for almost all sorts of odd situations. You are travelling to a new country, and here everything will be foreign for you. The language can become a barrier; hence you have to be prepared with backups, and obviously, essential connections and numbers should be kept handy for your safety.
● If you are a vegetarian, keeping some dry food or canned food will be helpful. If you are a vegetarian, you will always have food-related issues during your journey. There are places where non-veg foods are readily available, but veg foods will make a hole in your pocket. It is better to be prepared for such situations and bring canned food or instant mixes for such occasions.
● A guide book is always good for the first time travellers. This will give you an idea of what you should do, where you should go, what you should experience etc.; but do not take this as the rule book to the place. It’s just like a helpful companion, and that’s it! Make your own experiences and try new things. This would certainly help you in gaining more courage to make such trips on your own in the future.
Book it on your own or take help from an agency?
You can either book the whole trip with the help of a well-rated tour company, or you just need to do it all by yourself. Planning the entire trip on your own sounds adventurous, but if you hire someone to plan the trip for you, he may help you get a safe and hassle-free trip. If you plan everything on your own, you will be able to save a lot of money that you can never do if someone plans the trip for you. Teenagers always like to go out on a trip on their own, but it is still advisable that one should go for a certain amount of adventure that can be handled if something goes wrong. So what would be the difference if you plan it on your own and if someone plans it for you?
● If you plan it on your own, you will be able to roam around the city on your own. You can go to places at your own time, and no one will be there to remind you of an itinerary! You have all day and night to yourself, and you can do anything with it. No restrictions, no boundaries will be there for you. At the same time, you will have to face the consequences of taking the wrong directions and making wrong decisions.
● If you are travelling with a group or a travel agency, your trip will be safe and hassle-free. The agency will take care of you. They will arrange everything for you, and you are actually roaming around under their supervision. You will not be able to do anything on your own. You have to follow their instructions, and that’s it!
As a first time traveller, you may not be knowing the difference between a tour operator and a travel agent, huh?
Read our blog about the benefits of hiring a local tour operator over a travel agent!
Keep your documents handy
When you are travelling to a different country, the first thing you need to keep with you is your documents. Remember, even if you are going to the washroom, never leave your documents behind! You are a foreigner there, and it will be a massive problem for you if you tend to forget things at different places. The cops may ask for your identification proof at any point of your trip and you have to submit all the documents then and there. So keep everything handy. Besides this, you need to know things about your passport. While travelling to different countries, you actually need to know the passport related dos and don’ts. In several countries, they will expect you to have some pages left on your passport. If you fail to provide that, they may not allow you to enter their country!
Keep money adequate amount
Keep money in adequate amounts and in different formats available with you. Keep all your documents error-free and updated. Sometimes it is necessary to keep all your documents in updated condition. Do not put these important documents in your check-in bag. Just keep them in your handbag, but make sure you keep them in such a place from where you can retrieve them during your trip. Get your currency exchanged into the local currency as the local shops or restaurants might not accept foreign currency.
Check the baggage allowance limit
If you are travelling through air mode, the baggage allowance is a big factor. You cannot always take as many dresses as you want! There’s always a limit that you should know. Some airlines have fixed the hand baggage limit, hand baggage number and size. If you do not follow these points, you may have to face the consequences. You will end up paying them huge amounts of money for those extra kgs. So you should know the baggage allowance limit for every kind of flight. Try to be prepared even before you enter the airport. Weigh your bag before and keep your bag under the allowance limit.
Do not overpack! You will get everything out there!
It is important to pack wisely. Do not take anything extra. You need to take fewer dresses, more underwear. Get a comfortable pair of shoes, a pair of hiking boots if you are travelling to a hilly area, and you are good to go. Do not overpack as it will make you pay more for extra luggage. Additionally, a pair of flip-flops can be useful for using inside rooms and washrooms.
● Take a roll of toilet paper for an emergency. You would need it everywhere, we know, but if you are hiking to a place or driving to a remote area or to the countryside, keeping an extra pair of toilet paper would help you when you are in serious need.
● Medicine is an important thing that you should pack properly. If you are taking regular medicine, you will have to pack. You may not get the same medicine available out there. You have to bring your prescription if you are suffering from any serious disease. This will help you in any kind of serious problem that you will face in the future.
● Some airlines do not allow liquid toiletries or makeup products. You better check these details before you go out to the airport. Else you have to open your bag and take out everything in front of everyone out there. Some airlines allow zip lock, see-through bags. You have to pour 100 gms of those liquid toiletries and makeup products there in those see-through pouches. But these requirements are different from flights to flights. So check what is instructed in your flight brochure and act accordingly.
● You may be taking your passport and driving license along with you during the tour. But you have to scan them and store the soft copy on the cloud. This will help you if you lose your documents somewhere during your journey. Keep some copies of your passport photo along with you. This will be needed if you are going for ‘visa on arrival’ option. They will require your photo, and you have to give it to them.
● Emergency medicines like band-aids, aspirin, analgesic medicine should be there with you for the minimum type of illness you may feel at any point of your journey. List of Medicines that you should not forget to take for your next holiday.
Open your heart and soul to new experiences.
You are going to a new place, and you will have new experiences. You have to open yourself for the amazing opportunities that are coming in your way. Do not be shy in those situations.
● Try new foods as much as possible. You will be back in your regular routine soon, why don’t you try something new? But be aware of your system, do not overdo things, as this may end up giving you severe heartburns and indigestion.
● Adjust your watch to the local time once you land in that country. This is very important. Your smartphone will access the zone you flew to and will adjust itself accordingly. But your wristwatch needs an adjustment.
● You have to convert your currency to the country’s currency you flew to. But the exchange rates at the airport counters are pretty worse. You can either convert them in your country or convert them outside of the airport after reaching your destination.
● The country is new, the language may differ. So always try to take help from the airport information panel. These people are very helpful, and they are sitting there just to help you. So go there without any shyness and ask for help. Anything you want to know, anything you are confused about and anything that can make your journey comfortable; you can ask for. They will answer all of your questions.
Be open and courteous towards the locals
Pic Courtesy: YouTube
You are travelling to an all-new place. So the people will be new for you and all of their habits are pretty new for you. It will always be better to talk to the local people. This is the way experiences get shared, and the cultures merge. If you want to know the correct information about the country, you have to talk to its local people. Go to a roadside cafe or a small store and start talking to them.
In most of the countries, you will get people speaking in English. This will be an easy task for you if the person speaks English; if not, you need to learn some popular words of their language. Using those words here and there, merging those words with your English, will help them understand your genuine wish to talk to them. People love it when you show love towards their language and their people.
Know what you can and cannot do there!
You cannot take photos everywhere and cannot do anything you want! It is a foreign land, and they must follow some rules. You have to maintain the dignity of the place and do not do anything that might end you up in jail! Before you travel to the part of the world, try to gather information about that place. What you should do, what you shouldn’t, how you behave and what you supposed not to tell; these are a few things that you should know before taking your flight. These are the small but important piece of information that can save you during such odd situations. If you have a guide, follow his instructions. Do not be super enthusiastic and do not end up doing unnecessary things that might bring trouble for you and your guide. Read more about being a responsible traveller in another of our blogs!
● You will certainly have jet lag after flying to a new destination. Your time zone will change, so a person needs to plan accordingly. Say you are taking a 20+ hours flight and expect your body to stay rejuvenated so that you can start roaming around once you reach there! You will definitely need to take some rest, and you have to plan accordingly.
● Waiting at the airport indeed is one of the most annoying things to do, but imagine missing that important flight after all of these preparations you have taken! So do not be late for the airport. Check the duty-free zone, catch some music, eat something or just read a book while you are at the airport, but do not miss the flight.
Go for travel insurance; it will be there when no one is around!
Travel insurance is one of the most important and ‘to do’ thing for every traveller out there. In this world, everything is not important, but travel insurance is there for a reason. When you are travelling to a new country, you have to see different happening places. You will certainly want to make memories for a lifetime! For that reason, you will definitely need cameras, tripods, laptops, chargers, batteries, power banks, external hard drives, drones, action cameras etc. Basically, you are taking a lot of pricey things along with you. You have to be very careful about your belongings.
But what if your luggage gets lost and most of these pieces are there in your cabin bag? Well, travel insurance may not be able to save your photos, videos and experiences, but it would certainly get you money for the gadgets you just lost! This is the importance of having good insurance. The insurance desk will help you properly and promptly. Just go there and tell them the problem you faced. Submit the required documents, your air ticket copy and your problem will be solved as soon as possible.
These are some points that every first time traveller should consider if you are flying to another country or if you are going on a solo trip for the first time. Every mistake would be a lesson for you, but you have to have faith in yourself and have to keep courage in your heart to encounter all odds coming your way. Just be brave and face it. If you plan properly, your first solo trip will be memorable for the rest of your life.
Get to know important travel tips for a holiday in Kerala!