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17 Tips to Share with Your Favorite First-Time Traveler

Fodor’s member jetsetj recently asked travelers in our forums what advice they would offer to a first-time traveler. Here is a small selection of some of the tips, suggestions, and nuggets of wisdom that members shared on the topic.

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1. Consider all your flight options

“When traveling to multiple destination, fly open-jaw to avoid backtracking.” — JetsetJ

2. Bring an extra bag

“Pack an empty gym bag in your suitcase. I fill it with laundry and check it on the way home and make room that way for any purchases I’ve made.” –Nikki2

3. Take a good look before you book

“Ask for help planning your itinerary BEFORE you buy your airline tickets, railpass and other items that can’t be canceled.” –ira

4. Don’t rely on those old-school cheques

“Travelers checks are a thing of the past.” –yk

5. Carry a light load

“Pack light. You really don’t need that extra stuff and it makes life miserable on the road.” –bdtjbenson

6. Leave room for discovery

“Don’t plan every minute of your trip, leave room for spur-of-the-moment happenings, and plain old downtime.” –sf7307

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7. Don’t bother to fit in..

“Do not be self-concious about being a tourist. You are a tourist.” –Aduchamp1

8. …But be a good guest

“Read up on local customs so you can respect them. Be a polite and considerate guest.” –Neil_Oz

9. Identify why you want to go where you do

“Rationalise with yourself on what it is you are travelling for and research options on where best that may be achieved.” –Bushranger

10. Embrace the differences

“Expect everything to be a little bit different. Do NOT complain about this, enjoy it. It’s the reason you’re traveling.” –nytraveler

11. Call your credit card company

“Be absolutely sure to notify your bank and credit card company before you leave. We were stranded for a couple days once without funds because our account was frozen.” –pdx

12. Leave a little space in your budget

“Don’t budget down to your last dollar. Leave yourself some wiggle room with money. You may have the opportunity to do or see or buy something that may become a once in a lifetime memory or keepsake for you and it would be a shame to miss out on it because of a tight budget.” –goddesstogo

13. See the things you really want to see–first

“Plan your most important “must sees” at the beginning of your stay in a location. That way if something happens and you can’t get in, you still have time to try again. Leave the “I’d like to see, but it’s OK if I miss it” stuff to the end of your stay – if you run out of time, you already know it’s OK if you miss it.” –toedtoes

14. Prepare to lose your checked luggage

“Your carry-on should contain everything you can’t survive without, including a change of clothes, medications, backup source of funds, and all your travel documents. Assume your luggage will be lost forever, and plan accordingly.” –Robespierre

15. Write it down

“Keep a travel journal of your adventures. I tried to write in it daily when there was downtime, on train trips or waiting at the airport or at night at the end of the day. I started a journal on my first trip to Italy in 2004 and I am amazed at the details I’ve lost from that trip since then that were captured in my journal.” –misty_in_stl

16. Have a back-up meet up spot

“If you are traveling with others, always have an agreement to meet back at a specific place if you should become separated. This can happen easily on crowded subways or at large public gatherings.” –saige

17. Take a break

“Never pass up an opportunity to go to the bathroom or to sit down.” –charnees

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