Travel could potentially threaten your physical well being or even lead to your demise. You might die in any number of horrific ways on your travels. You could come down with Typhoid fever, you could be on flight 224 that crashes into the Atlantic Ocean, or you could even drown in feces after falling into an Indian porter potty. Death could come at any moment and in any number of uncomfortable ways.
Admittedly, with travel comes the potential for terrible accidents, disease and even death, but that is not what truly scares us. At least, that is not what scares most rational people, who realize the improbability of the events listed above. No, true fear lies in the emotional and mental change that accompanies travel.
To travel is to forgo the comfort of the predictable life, to face difficult decisions, to be forced to adapt, and to discover a deeper sense of self.
Despite having traveled for the past 8 years, every time I set out on a new adventure in a new land, my first few days on the road are still fraught with bowel churning anxiety. And when that happens, I remember those truths of travel, many of which my fellow travelers share.
In order to help alleviate these fears, inspire you to hit the road, and prepare you for the unexpected, below you will find 101 pieces of advice for first time travelers from the Top 100 World Travel Experts.
1) Earl Baron | Wandering Earl
There are more opportunities out there than you can could ever imagine that will allow you to travel for as long or as much as you wish. If you think otherwise and end up giving up on your travel goals, the only thing that is certain is that you will regret such a decision later on in life. And nobody wants to live a life full of regrets!
2) Dave Levart | Daves Travel Corner
Ownership of most things is overrated – ownership of worldly experiences is not.
3) Lisa Niver Rajna | We Said Go Travel
Remember to use the F word: FLEXIBLE! Everything does not always go to plan!
4) Jeanne Dee | Soul Travelers 3
Pack light, wear comfy shoes, eat like a local, learn at least a few phrases in the local language, wear a money belt, always carry TP/kleenex, be fearless and enjoy every moment!
5) Jonny Blair | Don’t Stop Living
Don’t set any limits or boundaries on yourself, believe you can go anywhere and everywhere you want and work hard to live your dreams.
6) Larissa & Michael | Changes In Longitude
Don’t wait for the perfect time in your life to travel. Just go already!
7) Johnny Ward | One Step 4ward
If you’re lucky enough to be a native English speaker, teach English overseas, it opens so many doors.
8) Chris Staudinger | Captain and Clark
Do it. Record EVERYTHING!
9) Gary Arndt | Everything Everywhere
The ability to adapt is more important than the ability to plan.
10) Melvin Boecher | Travel Dudes
Get lost and try as well to travel spontaneous without planning everything!
11) Kristin Luna | Camels and Chocolate
You don’t need half the crap you think you do. Learn to pack light early on, and you’ll save yourself a whole lot of trouble, not to mention money!
12) Francis Tapon | Francis Tapon
Learn to love traveling and living simply.
13) Leif Harum | The Runaway Guide
Trust in the universe, emanate positivity, and all will unfold as planned.
14) Nellie Huang | Wild Junket
Keep an open mind and spirit!
15) Carole Edrich | Dance Tog
Be open, don’t put yourself in jeaprody but try to recognise and then ignore any social preconditioning you have. You’ll discover far more about the people and places you visit and will have a far more rewarding time as a result.
16) Sebastian Canaves | Off The Path
Don’t plan too much on your trip and leave room for spontaneity and don’t buy the biggest backpack you can find. 50 liters are enough!
17) Norbert Figueroa | Globotreks
1) Plan your trip so you have an idea on where you want to go and when, but don’t plan it too detailed or tight. Be flexible on your planning because things always happen on the road, and you might want to change your plans on the go.
2)When it comes to documents, have digital and paper copies of everything. This includes your Yellow Fever card, Passport, ID, and other legal documents. It’s also good to have at least two debit cards in case one gets lost or captured by an ATM. That way you won’t get stranded without money.
18) Lesley Carter | Bucket List Publications
Just go! Pack a bag and go! The possibilities are endless.
19) Dave Dean | What’s Dave Doing?
Pack less stuff, plan as little as possible and don’t be afraid to throw away the guidebook. You’ll have a far more enjoyable trip if you do.
20) James Clark | Nomadic Notes
Long term travel has changed the way I see the world.
21) Bendan van Son | Brendan’s Adventures
Trust your instincts, but don’t be afraid of being naive. You’ll only grow by being open, you’ll only learn by making mistakes.
22) Marcello Arrambide | Wandering Trader
My best piece of advice would be to always remain confident. If one always remains confident then we will have less chances of being robbed or targeted and even have a better time overall. This has served me very well.
23) David Lee | Go Backpacking
Go backpacking says it all!
24) Eric & Karen | Trans-Americas Journey
Plan is a four letter word.
25) Dave | The Longest Way Home
Smile at everyone, once they start smiling back then you’ve traveled to a good place.
26) Marina K. Villatoro | Travel Experta
Get prepared and just go!
27) Barbara Wiebel | Hole In The Donut
Be prepared, but don’t be afraid. Travel is not a dangerous activity and people the world over are generous, kind, and will bend over backward to help.
28) Lash | Lash World Tour
As Susan Jeffries explains in her famous book, “Feel the Fear But Do It Anyway”. If your’e heading out into the wide world for the first time, you’re bound to feel at least a little bit nervous, scared, apprehensive.Perhaps very scared. I know I was. That’s natural. Just dont’ let that stop you from going! Do it anyway.
29) Eric & Simon | Never Ending Voyage
Travel light—we’ve been travelling full time for four years with a carry-on sized backpack each and have never needed any more stuff.
30) Federico Arrizabalaga | Mai Travel Site
Don’t be weary: people all over the world will try to help. Even if they want some money from you, they will be helping, and it won’t mean much to you.
31) Abigail King | Inside The Travel Lab
Book the big ticket. Once that deadline’s in place, you’ll find a way of working everything out in time.
32) Laurence Norah | Finding The Universe
Tear up the plan and go with the flow!
33) Nora Dunn | The Professional Hobo
You’ll never have everything figured out before you go, so stop making excuses, get out there, and carve out your own travel path!
34) Anthony Bianco | The Travel Tart
Don’t stuff around planning your travel – just go ahead and do it. Just select the entry and exit points, and whatever happens in between happens! I promise you won’t regret it.
35) Robert Schrader | Leave Your Daily Hell
Jump-a net will appear.
36) Cam Wears | The Traveling Canucks
Push your comfort zone whenever and where ever possible. Try foods that look strange, ask for directions using the local language, participate in adventurous activities, and get outside your hotel before sunrise.
37) Samuel Jeffrey | Nomadic Samuel
Travel is not a competition, a bucket-list or a list of things to do in a guide book; instead, it is a personal journey where you get to define the rules.
38) Simon Falvo | Wild About Travel
Go, travel, make a journey to meet the world and most of all… to discover a lot of unexpected things about yourself.
39) Marysia Maciocha | My Travel Affairs
Do not wait! Time is only moving forward you should as well
40) Lillie Marshall | Around The World L
Travel now or you’ll regret it later!
41) Alexandra Kovacova | Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler
Get prepared and just go!
42) Laurel Robbins | Monkeys And Mountains
Embrace the uncomfortable and the unknown, the lessons you learn from it will stay with you long after your trip is over.
43) Andrea & John Spirov | Inspiring Travellers
Just get out there and have an open mind.
44) Lisa Lubin | LL World Tour
45) Raymond Walsh | Man On The Lam
Be not afraid — most people are there to help, not to harm. Be not judgmental — it’s not wrong, it’s just different. Be not an ass –remember, you are a guest.
46) Chrystie & Scott | Ordinary Traveler
Don’t expect everything to go as planned when you travel!
47) Dalene & Pete Heck | Hecktic Travels
Travel slowly for a more enriching (and less expensive) experience on the road.
48) Kirsty Henderson | Nerdy Nomad
Go without any expectations! Oh and that backpackers are tourists, too… so don’t feel superior to those group tour folks. Everyone looks equally ridiculous so just go with the flow and live your own experience without looking down on other people’s.
49) Becki Enright | Backpacker Becki
Don’t plan to much – the beauty of travel is spontaneity and the unknown. Some of your best moments will come from those times where you changed plans last minute, or pushed yourself to follow a different path.
50) Phil Paoletta | Phil In The Blank
Be patient and don’t forget to greet people.
51) Eric Gonzalez-Payne | Your World Your Home
Never be afraid to explore the unknown.
52) Stephen Lioy | Monk Bought Lunch
Pack light, move slow, and eat the street food!
53) Melo Villareal | Out Of Town Blog
Always research about your target destination and be friendly with the locals.
54) Amar Hussain | Gap Year Escape
Michelangelo created many beautiful sculptures during his career and yet one of them happened to be made of snow. It was a rare creation to purely be enjoyed in the moment and made even more beautiful because of its fleetingness.
My advice travel advice is simply this. Look up from your phone. Put your camera away. Don’t worry about your next Facebook status. Just enjoy those small moments for what they are; beautifully crafted sculptures just for you.
55) Stephen Schreck | A Backpackers Tale
Don’t think of horrible travel mistakes as failures; instead think them as little adventures crafting your unique story.
56) Candace Rose Rardon | Candace Rose Rardon
57) Gerard | GQ Trippin
Try to take it slow and soak it all in.
58) Tom Stockwell | Waegook Tom
Do what you want to do, but be respectful.
59) Alex Berger | Virtual Wayfarer
Say yes to (safe) invitations and opportunities, even if they’re uncomfortable, unexpected or not in your pre-set plan.
60) Liz Carlson | Young Adventuress
The hardest part is taking that first step out the door, once you’ve made that happen, the rest is easy.
61) Annette White | Bucket List Journey
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid of being embarrassed when fumbling through a foreign language, not knowing the transportation system or getting lost in a new city.
62) Savi & Vid | Bruised Passports
Take a deep breath and savour your surroundings instead of crossing things off a check-list.
63) Jasmine Stephenson | Jasmine Wanders
Eat at restaurants where locals eat, not where tourists eat, and you’re bound to have wonderful cultural experiences.
64) Christine Kaaloa | Grrrl Traveler
Grab hold of your fear and jump.
65) Mark Wiens | Migrationology
Eat at restaurants where locals eat, not where tourists eat, and you’re bound to have wonderful cultural experiences.
66) Audrey Bergner | That Backpacker
Leave room for spontaneity! One of the most common mistakes first time travellers make is that they over plan their travels and they are then trapped by their own schedule.
67) Mariellen Ward | Breathe Dream Go
Do in Rome as the Romans do. Or in Rajasthan as the Rajashtanis do, in my case. In other words, take the time to get to know the culture you are travelling in. Do your research, open your eyes, get off the Lonely Planet / backpacker / tourist trail and stay in a locally owned guest house. Get to know locals. Be curious. Forget yourself. Immerse.
68) Lauren Juliff | Never Ending Footsteps
Don’t be scared — when I first set out to travel I had no life experience, no common sense and no idea what I was doing — you’ll figure things out along the way.
69) Adam Groffman | Travels Of Adam
It can be scary, but I recommend getting out of your comfort zone while traveling. Try new things and seek out new experiences.
70) Kate McCulley | Adventurous Kate
Independent and solo female travel can be safe, easy, and a lot of fun.
71) Carlo Cretaro | Next Stop Who Knows
Buy a guide book and use if for researching some information about what to see and do, but don’t use if for places to eat and sleep. You can find way cheaper and cleaner spots off the beaten path.
72) Suzy Guese | Suzy Guese
Never pack more bags than you have hands.
73) Stephen Bischoff | Shameless Traveler
Leave your fears, ego, and assumptions at home and dive into traveling head first with everything you got and immerse yourself into every culture as deeply as possible.
74) Flora Baker | Flora The Explorer
Don’t worry if things go wrong when travelling – they almost always work themselves out in the end, and it usually makes for a great story!
75) Jennifer | Moi, mes souliers
Go! Just save up and book, then you won’t have a choice and won’t be able to hesitate as well all know the hardest part is taking the first step.
76) Carrie Kellenberger | My Several Worlds
Say yes and just do it. Not everything will work out the way you think it should; whether it does or doesn’t will still make for an unforgettable experience.
77) Bethany Salvon | Beers And Beans
Stop over thinking – Just Go.
78) DJ Yabis | Dream Euro trip
79) Amanda Williams | A Dangerous Business
Allow yourself some flexibility, listen to your gut instincts, and, most of all, let yourself have an adventure that you’ll never forget.
80) Katie Aune | Katie Aune
If you find overseas travel intimidating, start slow and build your confidence by visiting some place where they speak your language and tend to be “tourist-friendly.”
81) Nicole Smith | Bitten By The Travel Bug
82) Caroline Eaton | Traveling 9 To 5
Trust your gut and only bring a carry on bag with you.
83) Natalie Sayin | Turkish Travel Blog
Turkey as a country, has a remarkable ability to make everyone feel welcome. The locals love chatting with foreigners, there is a wide range of cuisine to suit everyone, and an abundance of sites, attractions and things to do. As the bridge between East and West, just come, relax and go with the flow. I promise you will have an amazing time.
84) Lauren Metzler | The Wandering Orange
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu
85) Ronald Robbins | Active Planet Travels
Just get out into the world and do what makes you happy; don’t let anything hold you back. Only then will you find true happiness!
86) Brian & Noelle | Wandering On
Enjoy every moment, have no regrets and take every opportunity that comes your way.
87) Giulia Cimarosti | Travel Reportage
”It is so hard to leave, until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”
88) Matt Stabile | The Expeditioner
Don’t overplan or overbook otherwise you’ll waste too much time trying to stay on schedule, and not enough time enjoying your trip and being spontaneous, which is when all the good things happen when you’re traveling.
89) Diana Edelman | D Travels Around
The most important part of traveling is being able to roll with the unexpected. As a foreigner who doesn’t speak the language (in most cases) things can go wrong. You can choose two ways to react: angrily or with a smile on your face. Smiling goes a lot further.
90) Jaime Davila | Breakaway Backpacker
Don’t let fear stop you from taking the trip of a life time, once you are on the road you will never regret it.
91) Jeremy Foster | Travel Freak
Being a traveler can be scary and daunting, but that’s kind of the beauty of it. Learning to accept change and inviting new experiences into your life are my favorite things about being in a new place. As a traveler, I try to say yes to everything, talk to every stranger I can, and be open to the possibility of anything happening! Try anything once, because you’ll never regret the things you didn’t do.
92) Gareth Leonard | Tourist 2 Townie
Travel deeper by going slower, getting off the beaten backpacker path and connecting with locals.
93) Matt Gibson | Matt Gibson
Leave lots of time open for random exploration; travel experiences are much more rewarding when they’re stumbled upon rather than planned.
94) Alexandra Baackes | Alex In Wonderland
The good judgement and wise intuition that keeps you safe at home will also guide you on your travels. And truly, the vast majority of people you meet are there to help you, not harm you.
95) Agness Walewinder | eTramping
Just let it be and enjoy every second of your adventure!
96) Chris Walker-Bush | Aussie On The Road
My advice would be to be open to new experiences. You never know which snap decision is going to be the one that completely changes your life. Believe me, some of the most life altering (and fun) experiences in my life have been last minute choices to go out or say ‘yes’ to something.
97) Kiersten Rich | The Blonde Abroad
Always be open to learning and experiencing new things.
98) Ted Nelson | Traveling Ted
The more you push your bondaries while traveling, the greater reward you will reap.
99) Flip | Flip Nomad
Be there. It’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten from a long term traveler that I met in Laos. Sometimes when we travel we tend to be pre-occupied with thinking about our past and future worries and tend to forget to enjoy the present moment.
100) Eliza Stein | All This Luscious Chaos
Don’t ask, “Why?” You will always have a more fulfilling adventure when the question you ask yourself is simply, “Why not?”
101) Ryan Newburn | Straw Hat Backpacker
It is going to get tough, and I mean extremely tough your first week on the road but don’t give up because it gets better and better with every step that you walk. You will become a newer, stronger you and that comes with the challenge! Push yourself and remember why you are doing this! Anything is possible with sheer willpower and determination!
The first few days on the road isn’t going to be easy. It’ll be both a shock to your body and mind. But anything worth doing and rewarding in life usually is.
Instead of focusing on your fears, focus on your fantasies. Visualize the person you want to be. See yourself as confident, easy going, adaptable, and as a world traveler. Imagine the cities you will discover, the backpacker parties you will attend, and that sexy exotic lover you’re going to meet.
Focus on the positive and forgive yourself of any negative inclinations. You have the power to create whatever reality you want as long as you believe it. If you are quick to plant these seeds, the more likely they are to characterize your future travels.
Good luck and safe travels,