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Tips Traveling Abroad First Time Etiquette Safety

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 12 Tips for Traveling Abroad for the First Time (Etiquette, Safety & More!)

Traveling abroad for the first time is a big deal. It's an exciting, yet nerve-wracking experience to be in a new place with different customs and cultures that you may not be accustomed to. 

tips for traveling abroad first time
Paradise Island

While it can seem like there are endless things to worry about, don't let them get you down! In this blog post, we will provide 12 tips for traveling abroad for the first time. These tips cover everything from etiquette to safety to ensure you have a great international travel experience while you're away from home!

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tips for traveling abroad first time
San Diego

Where should I go abroad for the first time?

If it is your first time venturing out of your home country then there are a few locations that are nice to start with. European countries are some of the most popular destinations for first-time international travelers. 

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Traveling abroad for the first time is a big deal. It's an exciting, yet nerve-wracking experience to be in a new place with different customs and cultures that you may not be accustomed to. Read the article now.

These countries are used to travelers from around the world and if you are mainly English-speaking, then you will be able to navigate very easily in these locations. If you’re looking for a tropical vacation for your international trip then Mexico, some Caribbean islands, or Central American countries, like Costa Rica, are also used to tourists and can be easier to navigate. 

tips for traveling abroad first time

Even locations like Switzerland, Italy, and France are fairly easy to travel to if you don’t speak the language as English is very prominent in the tourist areas.

How to plan for your first international trip? 

The important thing to remember while planning an international trip is that you need to start preparing early. That means that once you decide on your preferred travel location you should start looking at their travel requirements.

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tips for traveling abroad first time
Mendocino Coast, California

You will need a passport so you want to order that early to avoid expedited fees. It can take up to 18 weeks to receive a standard passport, so, be sure to plan well in advance to have it in hand for your travel. You also need to see if there are specific travel restrictions like if you need to get a visa or get COVID tested before flying in.

Santa Monica Pier, California

You want to set up your travel with your bank so they are aware you will be using your card out of the country. This means you will need to investigate the exchange rates of the country you’re visiting and the costs of exchanging currency with your bank as well. 

Puerto Maya, Cancun

If you have healthcare concerns you need to plan to have all of your required medications and contact your health insurance or a travel insurance agency to make sure you will be covered overseas. 

What do I need to buy before traveling abroad? 

Before traveling, depending on the climate of the country you are visiting, you may want to buy clothes for the warmer or cooler weather you will experience. 

Belize ruins

You will need to buy your passport, travel documents, and update any identification you may need. You will need to buy enough medications, if you take any, to take on your trip. You will want a backpack, fanny pack, or another bag to carry your essentials around with you during your trip. 

tips for international travel
Montego Bay, Jamaica

Detergent, toothpaste, shampoo, and many other bathroom products you may need to stock up on and pack with you. You can also invest in a portable charger for your electronics so that if you end up going too far from your hotel you can still use your devices.

12 of the Best International Travel Tips

   Research Your Travel Area 

tips for international travel
Cancun, Mexico

The number one most important tip is to research your destination, meaning the area around your hotel and the areas around your planned activities or shopping destinations. This way you will have a feel of what is close to you in those areas should you need anything such as a charging outlet or a public bathroom. Public bathrooms are not always common in other countries so be sure you know where to go.

tips for international travel
Wake from a cruise ship (Carnival Cruise)

       Carry Local Currency

Some businesses may not accept credit or debit cards, such as markets or food stands in other countries. You want to have a portion of the local currency on your person at all times in case you encounter a store or event that only wants cash.

tips for international travel
Mackenzie Beach, Tofino British Columbia

       Get a Messaging App 

To avoid roaming charges and overseas phone fees, it is best to download a messaging app that you can use over Wi-Fi. Many international cafes have Wi-Fi that patrons can use, as do hotels so you can still be in touch with those back home or those traveling with you. Be wary of certain public Wi-Fi services though as there is a threat of hackers, so protect your phone’s connection.

etiquette tips for international travelers
Inner Harbour, Victoria, British Columbia

        Use Public Transport

A tip to help save you money is to use public transport. In Europe, Japan and other locations there are extensive public transport systems which can get you anywhere you want to go. These options are far cheaper than using taxis, rental cars, or rideshare services. They are also safer, on average, as you will be in a public space and there are usually law enforcement officers around these systems in case of an emergency. 

etiquette tips for international travelers
Paradise Island

4 Safety Tips for Traveling Abroad

       Keep Your Essentials Close 

If you are traveling abroad for the first time you have likely been warned about the pickpockets who will prey on tourists. This is an accurate safety concern and happens frequently, so it is advisable that you keep your money, credit cards, and personal identifications close to your person in a fanny pack, money belt, or another theft-proof-carrying system.

etiquette tips for international travelers

       Blend In 

You may be traveling internationally for the first time, but you do not want to broadcast that fact to anyone. Many scammers or even those who would wish harm to travelers, look for those who are obviously tourists. So, you want to try and blend in with the local atmosphere as much as possible, whether that be in attitude, fashion, or both. 

etiquette tips for international travelers
Cancun, Mexico

       Make Copies of Documents

A safety precaution for you should you lose or have documents stolen from you. You want to make copies of important things like your passport, ID, visa, and anything else you feel necessary. You may want to leave these with someone you trust back home or have them emailed to yourself so you can have them should you need them.

best international travel tips
Judean Desert - Israel. *due to the current conflict obviously travel is not recommended to this area.

       Have a Health Plan 

Whether you have health insurance or invest in travel insurance that also covers medical emergencies, you need to have a health plan. You want to be able to locate a hospital and have all of your medical essentials with you. While other countries may charge you much less for their services you still want to ensure that you are covered in the event of an emergency. 

best international travel tips
Rathtrevor Beach, Parksville, British Columbia

4 Tips on Proper Etiquette When Traveling Internationally 

       Be Mindful of Food Etiquette 

You may not think twice about your eating etiquette but if you’re going to an international location, you need to so that you avoid insulting or offending those in the country. For example, in Japan, it is considered offensive to stick your chopsticks straight down into your rice and it is taboo to ask for cheese on seafood dishes in Italy. 

best international travel tips
Ixtapa, Mexico

       Be Patient and Polite

This may seem obvious but we all have our moments of frustration. It is important to remember you are in another country and you should wait patiently in lines, be patient with locals if you do not speak their language, and try not to attract attention to yourself by causing a scene. 

best international travel tips

       Know How to Greet Others 

Once again, you do want to research the usual taboos and social faux pas of the country you’re visiting as greetings you are used to may be offensive or socially off-putting in this country. For example, in certain Asian countries waving hello is considered overzealous, and in some European countries, it could indicate a negative response. Generally, handshakes are universal but you will want to make sure by doing your research.

best international travel tips goats on the roof, Parksville, BC
Goats on the roof, Parksville, British Columbia

       Learn the Language 

The most respectful way to navigate a country is in their native language, and the locals will appreciate your effort. If you are traveling to a country where their first language is not English, it is a great effort toward those you will interact with to learn simple phrases to help get your questions answered, say please and thank you, and ask where a bathroom is.

View of ocean/coast at Parksville, British Columbia
View of ocean/coast at Parksville, British Columbia

If you implement these tips on your first trip abroad it’s sure to be a success! 

Traveling abroad is very exciting, but it can be nerve-wracking or scary too! That is absolutely normal and hopefully, these tips will help to relieve some stress and get you set up for an amazing first trip abroad!

By on March 1st, 2024

About Powered by Mom

I’m Michelle aka Powered by Mom. I’m married with one daughter, my hubby was my high school sweetheart, our two dogs Nyx and Cleo and our cat Oliver. As you can see we’re a family of animal lovers. We love to travel when we can, try different food and activities all over the world and enjoy being together. My passions are writing, travelling, creating new recipes, encouraging people to adopt not shop and just to enjoy life while we can.

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