What’s Your Best Tip for a First-Time Traveler?

From the good advice to the bad advice, travel tips can be based on anything from personal experience to general fears. Last year, we asked our BootsnAll community what the worst piece of travel advice you’d ever received was. The list was both funny and random, where we could almost have played a game of opposites and had a great list of advice. So now we’re asking you: What’s your best tip for a first-time traveler?

Most of us get that feeling of excitement and nervousness right before leaving on our next big adventure, but can you remember what you felt like on your first trip? First-time travel is such an eye-opening experience. Everything is new. You’re mind is processing a million things – How much is this change worth? Will this bus stop at the next place or do I need to pull the cord? What language are they speaking? No matter what we do, we’re going to make mistakes — that often end up as some of the best memories — but if you could go back in time and tell self-circa 2009 or 1999 or 1989 or 1979 or whatever decade you began your adventures: What’s one of the first things you would say?

» This week on BootsnAll: Articles you’ll read this week include: Is It Worth It? An Insider’s Thoughts on Voluntourism in Orphanages and Schools, a look at why home exchange is perfect for indie travelers, and how to embrace coming home after a round the world trip.

Week 22 of the Indie Travel Challenge is all about sharing your best tip for a first-time traveler.

What do you wish you’d known before your first trip?

Don’t forget to add your blog posts to the main Indie Travel Challenge page – and be sure to include a picture when you do (we love pictures!).

The Indie Travel Challenge is a year-long blogging project. Every Monday, we’ll post a new prompt, question, or challenge that bloggers can respond to via text, photos, or video. Respond on your own blog, and link back to BootsnAll so we can find and highlight the best submissions.

Check out the Indie Travel Challenge landing page for all information related to the event. You can see the week’s daily prompt, follow the hashtag on Twitter, share your posts, and check out submissions from around the world.

photo by pinterest

Comments on What’s Your Best Tip for a First-Time Traveler?

28 May 2012

Best tip? Only one? Wow…

1) Research where you are going before leaving.

2) Identify all the sites to see and places to go. Download and print (several copies work well) the local maps, mark the sites, and draw a route of the sites to visit. I use a “circle circuit”. It works best for me because I end up where I started…usually near the bus/car parking lot or hotel. Identifying the restaurants of interest along the way also allows you the freedom of stopping for lunch, etc. If you find the “circle” doesn’t fit your schedule (too much walking in one day) try the “daisy (flower petals) circuit”…from a starting point you go to a couple places and back again, then go a different direction the next day. Three or four of these from a central point looks like a daisy from above. (The names of the circuits are my own creation).

3) Locate someone who lives there and ask about the sites, which are best and which can be avoided (any reason is a good one).

4) Prioritize the sites to visit. Play “what if” games with the sites. If I had 3-5 days where would I visit? If I only had one day what is a must see?

5) Back in the photography days I would visit souvenir shops, locate their selection of postcards then try to take the same picture myself. They have much better colors than the sun-bleached postcards on display.

OK, I know that’s not really one tip, but how about one tip with five sub-tips?


Robin Clark
29 May 2012

Don’t spend too much time or money on planning. You don’t need anything other than an open mind and enthusiasm. You don’t need a plane ticket, a train ticket or any kind of ticket.

Great travel is a state of mind.

29 May 2012

Count Travel Time –

When you are planning, trains and busses and boats sound sooooo romantic. In reality, back to back travel is exhausting and it feels like you spend so much time getting somewhere and not enough being there. Yes, yes the travel part IS fun, I agreen I just love to BE in a airport for the energy , just remember to create a travel to experience ratio.

Mary Furness
31 May 2012

My best advice for a first time traveller? Pack light. Don’t carry too much stuff…half as many clothes and “things” as you think you’ll need, and a bit more money. And bring the good manners your mother taught you–nothing gets you through a tough situation like “please” and “thank you” in the language of the country!

Classic Travel
31 May 2012

Given prompting for only ONE tip for a first time traveler, I will resist my urge to say “Use a travel agent!”

The best tip I can give is to plan ahead, but expect and embrace deviations from that plan. Keep an open mind and remember that detours often lead to a magnificent destination you would have not experience otherwise.

Bon Voyage Travelers!

31 May 2012

Go alone!

Sandra H
03 June 2012

Book your hotel in advance for the first night you arrive. You don’t want to worry about finding a place to sleep after a long flight.

SoloMate Travel
13 June 2012

My best tip is to travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, no matter how far away it is and ENJOY!

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