If you're a newbie traveller, you're in for a great adventure ahead. You'll also be thanking us after you read this and hopefully recall some useful tips to help you navigate airports, transport, and some tourist 101 we're about to share with you.
The first trip you make as an adult without your parents/family is certainly one of the most memorable and exciting milestones in your youth. The freedom, the choices and everything that makes a trip worthwhile all boils down to you! You plan your trip, you build your itinerary and all those adventures and memories are yours to keep forever! It's a pretty wonderful time for any young adult (year 12 finishers, and uni students, I'm looking at you!) and you'll have an amazing time exploring new corners of the world. We've compiled a few tips to help you get the most out of your first trip. Feel free to add more below in the comments if you think of anything else.
Here are a few tips to get started:
1. Register your travel plans
For Aussies, you should register your trip details on www.smarttraveller.gov.au to get updates on your travel destination. The last thing you want is an alert that you shouldn't be travelling there due to natural disasters or when political tensions are causing potential troubles. It's best to be prepared for this and once you get the alert you make a decision about what to do - cancel and claim it back from your travel insurance? Or make a detour and try to negotiate a change of flight times with your airline maybe? Have some backup plans in place.
Travel money cards are very popular these days and a great way to keep your money safe and together. Consider options dependant on where you travel to. Are you going to a location that readily has lots of Eftpos terminals? If you're going to a developing country, there is a likelihood of much less terminals so its good to carry some cash over, but the best exchange rates will be in the destination you're in (as you will be buying their currency).
3. Be aware of the locals
Most locals are very friendly, which makes for a great experience on your trip, but if you stand out like a sore thumb, you have a chance to fall victim to the ever popular tourist traps. Locals will spot out lost looking tourists and start up some conversation to make themselves endearing to you and will offer advice on the best type of tours - this could all be a farce whereby they charge a ridiculous fee to take you on a small tour that isn't worth what you're paying. Always be friendly, but don't feel like you have to take their advice. The locals have a keen eye and are pretty good at spotting their next targets, especially if you're staring at maps and your phone.
4. Don't drive overseas
If you aren't covered for it, do not risk it! While it seems like a very tempting way to explore the local lands, you're better off catching public transport, walking, or even a tuk tuk if you're in Thailand! The likelihood of getting in an accident is very real, and you don't want to spend the next few weeks in an overseas hospital! The vehicles all have slight differences and speeds, so always take caution and resist the urge to ride a motorbike or drive a car while you're travelling. Your travel insurance might not cover you for it, and before you know it, you could be stung with a $10K+ bill.
5. Get travel vaccinations & build your first-aid kit
See your local chemist or GP to find out what you need to be mindful of, and bring along the general first aid kit; I'm talking bandaids, paracetamol, pain killers, constipation medication (& the opposite too!), insect repellant, sunscreen, aloe vera after-sun lotion, antacids, electrolyte sachets (ie. hydralyte), antihistamines, allergy eye drops even! Prepare for almost all the possible sitations so you aren't left scambling to find an all-night chemist! Once you're all locked and loaded, go and try all the street food! If you're in a developing country, sample all their delicacies if you dare. The weird and wonderful foods on offer are part of the experience!
6. Secure backpacks
You're likely to be bringing along a backpack or purse as your go-to bag for your daily wanderings. Make sure you choose a bag with zippers (and not just a magnetic closure), and always keep them closed. There's nothing worse than realising you might have left your bag open for your passport to fall out!
7. Make copies of your documentation
Give a copy to your family at home, and keep them in different compartments of your luggage/or on your person. In the event that you do lose your official identification, or travel insurance details, there will at least be another copy somewhere else to speed up the process with your local embassy in your destination country.
8. Know your transport options
Once you land in the your destination, you need to know what method of transport is best suited to you to help you get from the airport to your accommodation or next destination. In some countries, Uber may not be readily available, or Taxis can be expensive. If you're travelling in a big group, it might be worthwhile to organise a mini bus to take you to your accommodation. Some hotels may offer airport transfer specials, which is worth investigating in advance.
Enjoy your travel planning
Your wonderful and packed itinerary with TravelMustard will give you loads of fun. Make sure you have put everything in your wishlist, and that way you won't forget what you want to do. This allows for you to drag and drop the activity to the day you want.
Have you got a travel hack you want to share? Share it with us below in the comments to help fellow young travellers plan their trip!