There’s a glint in the eye of every seasoned traveller. They can’t wait to soak up any new city they find themselves in and long-haul flights are just a painful means to an end they must endure. But every pro started somewhere. They may not recall the nerves and excitement of their first overseas trip but if they thought about it, they’d realise how far they’ve come. If you’re about to take off on a big adventure and are feeling the nerves, here’s a few things I would have told myself back before I’d grown into a seasoned traveller.
Pack Less Than You Think You Need
It took me a long time to learn how not to bring everything I owned on a holiday. It’s not that I needed it, it’s just that I felt more prepared with everything in tow. Now, many years and holidays down the line I’ve realised that there’s no reason to bring a million changes of clothes or more than 3 pairs of shoes. In fact, the less you carry the easier it is to decide what to wear each day getting you out on the town faster. A good way to go about unlearning the overpacking trait is to put out everything you think you’d like to bring, then remove at least one third.
Learn to Ride the Wave
Mistakes will be made. No matter how much you prepare, the world will have its way. Don’t freak out. Just do your best to enjoy the ride. Once upon a time nearly missing my flight would have instilled a sense of impending doom and failure. But when it happened recently I found myself less panic attack, more girl on a mission. Every time you mess up you’ll learn how to handle yourself better and worry less.
Even if your wallet has gone missing, your passport is stolen or you think you’ve been duped on the street – you aren’t the first to make a mistake while travelling and you won’t be the last. If you can part with a little bit of time and/or money you can sort out most failures and carry on your merry way.
All this being said, your safety is the top priority. Trying to blend in with the local crowd is a good way to minimise the risk of being targeted by pickpockets and scams but apply the same sense of safety you would at home. If you’re not going to talk to a stranger on the street in your hometown why bother in a different country?
Checking out Smart Traveller before you leave will keep you up to date on the current risks of your holiday destination. If you’re going somewhere you feel is risky, you can register your travel plans to ensure the right people will be contacted in case of emergency.
Familiar Can Be Good Sometimes
Travelling offers the chance to experience a million new things in a short space of time. Make the most of it, but don’t judge yourself for craving something familiar from time to time. Whether it’s some fries from Macdonald’s or a Starbucks coffee at the airport it can be especially calming when you find an easy, familiar meal to fill your day. Just make sure you’re not wasting the chance for something new by hiding within your comfort zone.
Smile – You’re Somewhere Wonderful
When you start to feel overwhelmed, whether it’s jet lag or feeling lost that has you in a spin, remember to smile because you’re somewhere wonderful. I’ve never had a great sense of direction – lefts and rights still give me trouble – so I’ve been lost around the world more times than I can count. In these moments I’ve taken a deep breath and looked around me instead of fretting about where I’m supposed to be. Google maps will kick back in eventually but I won’t get back that moment in my new favourite city just enjoying the scenery.