Going on your first ever trip can be a mix of sheer excitement but also a nerve-racking prospect. Now, if it’s your first trip, you’re likely having those giddy feelings from planning everything, then bouts of butterflies and a few nerves?
Well, this was in my case at least!
That being said, there can be elements of travel that can be tough and it’s worth identifying these as quickly as possible.
Now, I’m not talking about those dreaded moments when you sleep past your alarm and are almost sprinting to the airport, I’m talking about things that should be easy. Things like making your journey more efficient, personal safety and overall making your travels that bit easier. After all, no one wants to make their adventure harder than it needs to be.
That’s why I wanted to share some of my go-to tips on making your first trip that bit easier. Each little hack should hopefully be a little saviour on your travels… or at least they have been for me.
1.) You might lose something
One of the biggest things that I really fear is losing something essential during one of our adventures. The things is, for me at least, I’ve had the panic-driven moments where I’ve not been able to find my passport, DSLR… or even Yaya whilst on a trip. Though, If I’m totally honest, I can usually find Yaya by following the smell to any (and all) bakeries or doughnut stalls. 😉
But let’s be frank, it’s the loss of those meaningful, important and keep-sake items (that we know can’t tell us where they are) that cause the most stress. We’ve all been there, right? It can’t be just me?
It’s usually when I’m rushed, tired or frantically darting off to the airport when I’m most likely to forget (or lose) something. And truth be told, they’re the moments I stress about most, especially when it comes to that sheer panic that I now might miss my flight and end of forking out a shed load more money due to a lost passport or camera.
This is where my new BFF, Tile comes into play. If I’m thinking back, I’d almost purchased one a few years ago – though, I remember hesitating since you couldn’t change the battery. That’s all changed now with the new Tile Pro and Tile Mate which I’ve now popped on my most precious travel essentials.
The great thing about Tile (yes, they look like mini tiles) is that they act as a Bluetooth tracker that keeps tracking anything you put it on. Where Tile comes in handy is when you have those, ‘oh no!’ sinking feelings in the pit of your tummy. You know, similar to the mum on Home Alone when she’s on the flight and realised she’s only gone and forgotten Kevin!
That’s where Tile comes into its own. Once you’ve realised you’ve lost your item, you can pop on your iOS App, Android App, Google Assitant or Alexa and ping your item if it’s close by. It also works in reverse too, if you’ve lost your phone press the button on your Tile and your phone will ring – even when it’s on silent.
As a Bluetooth tracker, the Tile Pro can find your item that’s within 90m (300ft) from where you are. Likewise, the Tile Mate can find something 45m (150ft) from you. This all means that it should be your very first port-of-call when you have one of those forgotten moments. Better still, with the new Tile Mate and Pro, the team have made the Tiles much louder, with a longer range and those replaceable batteries (which is a big win for me).
Oh, and don’t fret if your lost your item is in a completely different area from when you realised.
As a Tile member, you become part of the world’s biggest lost-and-found community where anyone with the Tile app will begin to search for your lost item (anywhere in the world). It’s like a big connected web of searchers who’ll lend a hand when needs be. Once it’s found by a community member, the Tile pings the location to you (totally anonymously) and allows you to see where you misplaced it.
Trust me when I say, you breathe a massive sigh of relief once your items been found!
2.) Trust your instinct
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from travelling is to listen to your gut instinct, especially on your first trip.
If something doesn’t feel right, or if you feel uncomfortable, listen to your own instincts as these are usually formed over decades of past (sometimes subconscious) experiences
For me, my instincts are rarely wrong (and I guess it’s the same for you, too). Don’t feel pressured to do something that triggers those internal alarm bells. I’m not saying that you should push yourself outta your comfort zone, but there are very clear instances when something doesn’t feel right and you should listen to your instincts.
Honestly, by doing this, you can limit those precarious situations that might cause unnecessary stress on your first trip.
3.) Separate money
Money is a tricky subject when it comes to travelling and personally, I hate carrying it. That being said, not every country offers card transactions in every outlet. This is why I always pack some emergency notes in two places. Firstly, in my wallet but secondly, in the pouch of my carry-on bag.
This way, if the worst happens and you lose some dosh, you’re not stuck without any money to get you around. You don’t wanna get caught out with no cash, so always keep a few notes stashed away for an emergency.
Okay, now you’re gonna think this is the strangest (and cheesiest) advice ever but trust me when I say this makes travelling much easier and friendlier. In certain situations, where language barriers can be tough or you might feel a little uneasy, smiling is key.
Emotions are part and parcel of who we are as humans, with a happy smile being a global way to communicate that you’re a friendly, happy and an overall good egg. 😉
This helps when you visit somewhere that’s totally unfamiliar and people are possibly a little unsure of you. Smiling goes a long way and keeps the mood light on your first trip.
5.) Get comprehensive travel insurance
I can’t emphasise this enough, travel insurance is almost essential for any trip (especially your first one). Now, I know it feels like you might not need it but it’s a relatively small cost for a pretty hefty amount of protection.
Let me give you an example, on our recent trip to Hawaii, one of my friends banged his knee on a sunbed by the pool. Something that happens so easy but he had to go to the doctors as it started to swell. Nothing major you might think?
Wrong! Over 5 days of treatment, doctors appointments and scans, he was charged $11,000. Thankfully, he had an insurance policy that covered every cent. It’s for situations like this that you really need it. You don’t want to head out on your first trip and end up paying a bill like that!
6.) Travel with others
Now, this might seem pretty obvious, especially if you’re looking for some company during your first trip, but there can be massive financial benefits to travelling with friends or family, too.
For instance, if you book a hotel, you’ll likely find it much cheaper to book a room together than booking separately, the same goes for taxis or even luggage allowance on a flight. By splitting costs and sharing, you’re likely to keep day-to-day costs of your adventure lower.
Not only does this allow you to lower your holiday cost, but it also takes off some of that financial pressure that you might otherwise experience. Plus, you’ve got the added benefit of having a buddy with you too.
7.) Stay curious
Yeah, this sounds wishy-washy but hear me out. Often, when we travel, we have preconceived notions of what a place might be like. Sound familiar?
Well, this is all well and good, we all do it but where it can make travel that bit tougher is if that expectation doesn’t get met.
For instance, a silly example but a person might go to Bali and think that it’s going to be like Disney World – that in itself could be a huge disappointment and make their trip less enjoyable. After all, your emotions do affect if you enjoy your trip.
This is why I always say to keep an open mind and stay curious, it’s not only the best way to discover a new place but it’s also a great way to make your first trip easier.
8.) Pack essentials separately
This seems obvious but being prepared for unexpected ‘bumps-in-the-road’ will make your first trip much easier.
For instance, when we visited the Arctic Circle, our checked-in bags didn’t arrive at the airport. This proceeded to us not getting our bags back for 72 hours. Trust me, it was a whole thing!
On the face of it, it’s not a deal-breaker, until you realise you’ve just landed in the Arctic Circle and temperatures are creeping to -20c (-4f). This is where the problem comes in. If only I had worn my winter coat and thermals on the plane or packed a few emergency things in my cabin bag.
Thankfully, some of the local’s in a nearby town borrowed us their clothes and coats for us to wear. Some truly amazing Norwegian hospitality.
That being said, If I’d kept a few emergency essentials in my cabin bag, I’d have been in much less of a critical situation, making my travels that bit easier. After all, you can’t plan for unexpected hiccups but you certainly can prepare for them.