If you are new to major travel — be it domestic or international — you are likely experiencing mixed emotions: excitement, restlessness, joy, and maybe even fear. This anticipation is normal for someone in your position, but it is important to realize that, if left unchecked, it can quickly cloud your travel planning process, leading to a number of rookie mistakes. Most of these setbacks are benign, but they could make an already unfamiliar process more hectic.
So, once you have embraced your plans for what they are, and let out your potential excitement to all involved, consider this list of “don’ts” for first-time travel; you will be glad you nipped them in the bud now:
Lay out your budget
A healthy budget will make your travels easier from a financial standpoint. The last thing you want to do is overspend on items you do not need or lack sufficient funds to get from point A to point B. You do not have to plan for every minuscule aspect of every day, but at least plan for significant spending moments like meals, tours, and local means of travel.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but packing is an area in which many first-time travelers commit crucial blunders, adding unnecessary hardships to their journeys. Pack plenty of clothes, toiletries, first aid items, and other resources appropriate for the city or region you plan to visit. However, exercise healthy restraint in this regard, as overpacking can also weigh you down (literally).
While the previous sections were rooted in under preparation, your lack of travel experience may manifest as quite the contrary: an almost obsessive urge to book every aspect of your trip in advance — “every hostel, every transfer, every breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” You will want to keep your plans organized and well thought out, but there is always too much of a good thing in this regard. It can pay to have some flexibility during your travels, as you most likely will not be to plan for exactly how each day will play out. Channel your inner wanderluster; sometimes it is good to improvise.
Watch out for scams
There are countless scams attached to the travel industry, and the best seasoned travelers quickly identify and avoid them at all costs. In your case, exercise caution in all you do as you plan out your schedule. While it is impolite to be visibly afraid of all locals, it is also important to remember that many scam artists thrive off taking advantage of naive tourists, usually offering them overpriced and/or illegal items and services. The key here is to find a strong balance between your adventurous side and your skeptical side.