Travelling can be intimidating to those that weren’t born with the travel bug. Where do you start? Where do you go? And how do you prevent yourself from having one of those awful travelling experiences that scar you for life?
Growing up, my family always took family trips, and in high school I went on student exchanges and school trips to several different countries, so for me, travel has just been a part of my life since day one. But I understand that not everyone grew up in a travelling family like me. So if you didn’t start travelling young, is it too late?
For people that haven’t travelled much before, I always recommend easing into it. Jumping in headfirst is often what causes people to have a negative experience. For example, if you’ve never travelled outside of your own country before, hopping onto a plane to a country like India would likely throw you too far out of your comfort zone, and not in a good way.
Instead, start off doing an all-inclusive vacation and taking day trips off the resort with local tour companies, or by yourself to experience a bit of the culture and local customs. Next, move on to countries or places that are similar to your own. For example, if you live in Canada, maybe try travelling to the United States or another province that you’ve never been to before. Alternatively, you could travel to another country that speaks the same language or has similar customs to yours, like the United Kingdom.
After you’ve gotten the hang of planning your travels, getting yourself around, and pushing yourself a bit out of your comfort zone, you’ll feel more ready to tackle places like Europe that have language barriers. And eventually you’ll build yourself up to tackling countries with cultures that are more divergent from your own and will feel more prepared when you’re visiting them. This will help you have a positive experience rather than pushing yourself too far from day one.
But what if you’re too scared to travel alone and don’t have someone who can come with you? Waiting around for others is the biggest mistake you can make. Instead, find a way to travel abroad that still makes you feel comfortable. For example, join a group tour company like G Adventures or Intrepid. This way you’ll still have travel companions and won’t be doing it all alone.
Too many times, I have heard from people who say they wish they could be like me and travel more, but travelling isn’t unreachable. Staying home isn’t going to do anything but make you look back when you are old and grey and regret the chances you didn’t take. Trying something new and putting yourself out of your comfort zone can challenge you in a positive and exciting way. Think of everything in your life that scared the crap out of you—falling in love, a job interview, your first day of school—yet, when you look back at those things now, you wouldn’t be where you are today without pushing yourself to do them.
So take the leap (even if it’s a small one at first). I promise, you won’t regret it.
When you’re ready to take that leap, here are some Tips for Safe International Travelling.
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