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So you’ve finally taken the plunge!

Maybe it was finances, perhaps it was the pressures of career and family, or possibly it was that fear of the unknown keeping you close to home. Whatever the reason, that moment when you decide to strike out and take that first grand holiday overseas can be one of the most thrilling and daunting moments of your life.

Fortunately, you are not alone, and there are plenty other people that have forged a path before you. As someone who waited until my 50s to undertake my first international trip, I figured I could share some simple tips that will help to make such a huge undertaking smoother, and less frightening for travelling newbies.

Plan, plan, then plan some more

As hinted above, one of the most nerve-wracking aspects of travelling can be the fear of the unknown. While some people thrive on the thrill of not knowing what’s around the next corner, most of us do better when we have things a bit more under control.

Make no mistake, there will always be things that go wrong and unexpected surprises on any trip. However, by planning things out thoroughly before you leave, these can be minimised effectively. If you know where you are going, where you are staying, how you are getting there, what there is to do and eat, you will give yourself a much better chance of being able to relax and enjoy the ride.

Take Advantage of Local Tours

Why do everything yourself, when you can leave it to the pros? Tour companies know all the ins and outs of your destination, and can ensure that you enjoy everything that the location has to offer with peace of mind.

My first ever overseas trip was to Thailand. I’d heard great things about all the wonderful sights and activities to be experienced in Phuket but was a bit apprehensive about organising it all by myself. I ended up going to, and arranging my place on tours to all the places I wanted to go, in a way that didn’t cost the world! The additional planning was well worth it to know that all the details are looked after.

Safety First

Unfortunately, the world is full of people that are only too happy to relieve you of your hard-earned cash or valuables or other dangers. This is never more true than at many vacation destinations or tourist spots. There is nothing that can put a dampener on the adventure of a lifetime quicker than having your bags or passport stolen, finding yourself lost in inhospitable surroundings, or getting physically injured. With a bit of planning and common sense, you can give yourself the best chance of staying out of trouble:

  • Never carry a large amount of cash or wear expensive jewellery when travelling.
  • Make sure to keep your passport, travel documents, spare cash and credit cards in a holder that you can wear underneath your clothing.
  • Know where the seedier parts of town are and avoid them at all costs.
  • Take a small first aid kit with you.

Take a Friend

Aside from having company, travelling with a friend makes you much safer. There is strength in numbers, and an extra pair of eyes to keep watch and mind to think can make all the difference.

Pack Light

One of the biggest mistakes that first-timers make is packing the kitchen sink. I guarantee you that you will use less than half the stuff in your suitcase and lugging those large, heavy suitcases and bags around can be a major pain. Make sure you pare it down the minimum required.

With these tips and more, you will give yourself the best chance of enjoying your big adventure, while staying safe and organised!