Alyssa R. is a Traveler Support Specialist at EF Educational Tours. This past summer she had the opportunity to travel as a staff member on EF’s London, Paris and Rome itinerary. Not only did this trip mark her first time traveling with EF, but it marked her first time traveling abroad. Below is a list of the top tips she would recommend for any first-time traveler.
Traveling abroad for the first time is exactly what you’d expect it to be; you ask yourself again and again, ‘is this really happening?!’, you pack and re-pack, and you feel your nerves and excitement creep higher and higher. As with all things new, you might wonder ‘what am I missing?’ or ‘how do I best prepare?’ After returning from my first tour abroad, I jotted down a few tricks of the new-traveler trade:
Jet lag is a real thing. Avoid being overly optimistic that it doesn’t actually exist or that you’ll be immune to it because you decide to be. Be prepared for a tough first day of tour, you will feel like a zombie. Some water followed by caffeine and a positive attitude will get you though the day.
Fill up your water bottles for free when you can. Throughout many cities abroad you will find water fountains around most corners. Be sure to pack an empty water bottle so you can stay hydrated throughout the day.
Pack light. No, I’m serious, pack LIGHT. The tour moves fast, the overnight trains are not as spacious as the Hogwarts Express, and trying to wheel out your two heavy suitcases onto any transportation will make you the slow poke in the group.
Make sure your boots are made for walkin’. Our group Fitbit leader averaged us at anywhere between 15,000 – 20,000 steps a day; make sure your shoes can carry you through or you’ll be a-hurtin’.
Embrace the experience. When your Tour Director gives you a language sheet because the locals don’t as readily speak English, try at least once to speak the native language. Pick up a map and navigate the city on your free time. If you’re tired, find a café to sit at and try the local cuisine.
To read Alyssa’s entire experience, see her first blog here.