travel tips blog

Tips for Traveling Internationally for the First Time

by Diana Ditto

April 19, 2022

4 minute read

I’m a self-professed wanderlust-lover. My nature is to dive into any new place. Equipped with maps and confidence to ask the locals, find recommendations and experience the local culture as completely as I can, it’s not exactly surprising that my career is in the travel industry.

From designing tours to diving into the customer experience, I’ve made it my life’s work to be a traveler who’s intentional and eager. Eager to learn. Eager to find. Eager to solve the mysteries of the world one destination at a time.

I’ve chatted with many colleagues or travelers who are just starting out in travel. They may be taking their very first international trip and they want to put their best foot forward and make the most of the trip. I love sharing tips on how to prepare and make the most of traveling internationally for the first time.

  • Grab a guidebook! This one is more obvious and usually the first thing people think of doing when they’re planning to go somewhere new. My tip is to make sure the book you buy has popular phrases for travel in a non-English speaking country.
  • Research the most popular foods and must-try foods (and of course, try them all!)
  • When you get to your hotel, ask the concierge or a local what are the top attractions within walking distance from your hotel. You’ll want to have the chance to walk around and explore, especially when you first arrive.
  • Find out what the area is known for. What are the must-see things to do in the cities you’re visiting? Make the most of your free time by creating a list of these experiences so you can check them off one by one!
  • Binge it on Netflix! Or wherever the content may be. Before you leave, watch some TV shows or movies that take place in that destination. Seeing the scenery and getting a feeling for the vibe of the place gets you excited. Outlander; Emily in Paris; Yellowstone; Doc Marten; Downton Abbey; Under the Tuscan Sun; Anne of Green Gables; Eat, Pray, Love – the lists are endless and this is probably the most fun research you can do!
  • Read novels and other works about these places. It’s the above point in literary form – equally as fun as bingeing a series if you’re a reader (which I am).
  • Listen to music from the area. Historical music, traditional tunes or instruments, modern pop for the area… music tells you so much about a place and its people. Connect with them before you even arrive in a language that unites us all.
  • Familiarize yourself with the customs and traditions of a new destination to ensure you visit with respect and intention.
  • Know what you want to do before you go. If you arrive not knowing what you want to do, it’s too late for certain plans to be made – or even stressful. Have a plan so you can anticipate your trip excitedly and relax knowing what you’ll do each day.

One of the biggest benefits of going guided with Collette is that we do all the work while you enjoy all the destination has to offer. There are so many things you can do from this list, even going guided, to maximize the experience. But getting out to see must-sees, meeting locals, having meaningful cultural experiences, dining on the local specialties… this is what we do best. Collette travelers know what they want. They are travelers. It’s in their DNA. I get it. I am, too. Creating a seamless experience so travelers can just sit back, explore and take it all in is what it’s all about.

No matter how you choose to go, I hope these tips are helpful!

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