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 (within your own country), you only need to arrive about an hour and a half before your flight. This can be shortened to an hour if you aren’t checking any luggage.
However, for international flights, arrive at least two hours before your flight. 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 online.
2. Watch Your Valuables
Many travelers are afraid that they’re going to get things stolen or be pickpocketed on their travels. As a tourist you’re naturally more vulnerable and less likely to be paying attention to your belongings.
To prevent this, use a cross-the-body purse, carry wallets in your front pockets 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; 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. You will likely need to carry it yourself everywhere you go and you probably won’t need everything 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 can be 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 money before you depart. You can also often find ATMs and exchange counters when you arrive at your 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 US dollars 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 come in handy. Some airports won’t even let you into the departures area unless you can show them a copy of your itinerary, so in the event of your phone dying, this advice could be a trip-saver!
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 Facebook post!
by Lauren Marinigh
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