The questions, the concerns, the excitement, are all things someone who is traveling for the first time thinks about. Even things such as food can be a concern, as well as safety, expenses, health concerns and anything in between. These factors are already pressing enough, and if you’re traveling to a country where your first language isn’t the native language, the anxiety becomes even worse. First-time traveller’s anxiety can get intense, but it’s nothing you can’t overcome. Here are tips to ease the process for first-time travelers:
- Don’t stress what you can’t change. Far too often, travelers are most worried about things that they have no control over. How people perceive you, local customs and the cultural climate will be set in stone even before your arrival.
- Change what you can. While you can’t control perceptions or cultural traditions, you can control where you go, what you do and whom you spend your time with. If you aren’t fond of the culture of your travel destination, seek out places and people that remind you of home to keep you grounded.
- Research cultural traditions. Whether you’re going to be greeted by a kiss on the cheek, a handshake or a curtsy, you’ll want to be well prepared when you arrive at your destination. Educate yourself prior to your arrival so that you aren’t blindsided!
- Be flexible in the information that you do find. High expectations often lead to disappointment, while low expectations often lead to pleasant surprises. Online research is usually very helpful and informative, but it is sometimes rooted in opinion rather than fact. Conduct cultural research, but be sure to leave room for error.
- Sleep and eat on your destination’s time. To avoid jet lag, sleep and eat on your destination’s time for a few days before your departure. That way, you won’t have to add a new daily schedule to your list of adjustments.
- Learn the local language. No, nothing extensive, just enough to get you by. Useful words and phrases include: Yes, no, can you help me, bathroom, please and thank you.
- Live in the moment. With it being your first time abroad, I’m sure you’ll want to capture every moment. Take pictures, upload a few videos to Snapchat and send a few texts, but don’t forget to live in the moment! Your first experience abroad will be over before you know it.
Written By: Arianna Goolsby, Staff Writer, Modern Domestic