After years of saving, reading every travel article you can get your hands on, and watching travel shows on cable, you’re finally about to take your first adventure out into the big, wild, and wonderful world. The mere thought of holding that ticket in your hand gets you all excited. However, there are a few things you should know before you pack your bags and take off.
Traveling for the first time can be quite a daunting experience. Here are some general tips that can help you enjoy your out-of-the-country vacation for the first time.
Choose your destination. The first thing you need to do is to take your pick among travel destinations. Are you keen to embark on an African adventure? A European tour? Or how about visiting the bustling cosmopolitan city of Singapore and live the Formula 1 (F1) racing experience? Whatever your choice destination is, make sure that it is the one that you can actually enjoy and pay for with your hard-earned money at the same time.
Do your homework. This is perhaps the most important tip that any experienced traveler will give you. It is important that you do as much research as possible about your destination – from the climate, visa requirements, transportation, to local customs and events. Get some guidebooks and talk to your friends who have been there.
Part of doing your homework is researching about accommodation. There are a lot of options available on the Internet. If Singapore is your chosen destination, you can check out hotels in Clarke Quay that suit your needs and budget. Most of these hotels offer free city tours, free breakfast, airport transfers, and other perks that will make your vacation truly enjoyable and convenient. And if you’re traveling with children, there are a lot of family hotels in the area with amenities that are kid-friendly. These include spacious rooms, outdoorsy fun facilities, and infinity pools, which make these hotels ideal for families.
Check your passport. Make sure that your passport is still valid. You would not want to be held up at the authorities! For most countries, your passport will need to be valid for at least six months after your intended departure date. Furthermore, be sure to check if you require a travel visa for the country you’re visiting or transiting through.
Get an insurance. It’s hard to think that things can go wrong while you’re vacationing, but yes, things do sometimes go wrong without warning. Get an insurance in case you find yourself faced with an emergency.
Plan your itinerary. Learn what you can about the places where you would like to go. By doing this, you don’t feel rushed when you actually reach the place, or miss out on something that you would have loved to do or visit.
Get the help of a local or a guide if possible. While there are a lot of wonderful tour options, make sure that you leave time in your itinerary to wander. You might stumble upon places of interest that are not in your itinerary.
Make copies of all important documents. Tickets, passports, visas, travel insurance – make sure you have photocopies of these documents and separate them from the originals.
Bring enough money. Don’t rely on a single form of currency. Bring a credit card, cash, and perhaps some traveler’s cheques with you.
Share travel details with your family and friends. It is always good to leave your travel details with your family or a close friend. If possible, send regular e-mails so that they can keep tab on you while you’re travelling.
Respect local customs and laws. As the saying goes “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” you must remember to respect the local customs and laws. Make sure you research about the laws that govern the place where you’re going.
For instance, Singapore is known for being a “fine city” – imposing punishments for breaking civil laws within its borders. If you’ve got plans to head over to the Lion City and you can’t live without Trident gum, just remember to keep it in your mouth. That’s because chewing gum is banned – it causes a sticky mess that will cost you $1,000.
Be adventurous. Step out of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself a little, sample exotic food, or learn some local words and phrases. Open yourself up to adventure and you might just be on your way to the trip of a lifetime.