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african american traveler 750x500 - 10 tips for new travellers

I have travelled a lot and i still do not consider myself an experienced traveller. I always find out about something new that i believe i should share with people. In this post, i will tell you my 10 tips for new travellers that i wish i knew when i started travelling.

I noticed some mistakes new travellers make when they want to start travelling and i am here to settle some of them.

These are my 10 tips for new travellers.

Tickets are “non-refundable”. Something i notice a lot when people want to travel is that they are not 100% sure about the date and they still buy the cheapest ticket (economy ticket). This is a huge mistake. Economy tickets are always the cheapest. And they are the cheapest because they offer no other benefit. You cannot change the date, you cannot choose your seat, etc. If you want to have flexibility or priority boarding, buy a business/first class ticket. Yes, it costs more, but it allows you to make changes and you are treated better (better food, better seats, lounge, etc.). Economy tickets are non-refundable, which means that if you made a mistake writing your name, it is unlikely they will allow you to change it. Same with flight dates. If you want any change, it will be difficult for you. You will have a buy a whole new ticket in some cases. So, before you book, don’t think about the price that much and focus on what you expect.

• Don’t pack too much. Another common mistake i see is people carrying a huge bag for a weekend trip or a week trip. This is not necessary. Travelling is not about clothes, it is about the experience, and i am sure most people won’t even notice if you wear something twice. You are in a new country/city, nobody cares about your clothing. They probably care more about their own clothing than yours. Another issue with packing so much is moving around the city with it. It is a pain in the ass. Don’t do that to yourself. Carry a cabin bag + a purse and you will be fine, even if the trip lasts 3 weeks. You can always wash your clothes. And not checking your bag is great as you will be able to check-in online and go straight to security check. If your trip is long (1 month – years), you can buy a 35l or 45l backpack. Much more comfortable and also bigger than the average cabin bag. I use a 45l backpack for my long trips and it is just perfect.

Read the airline’s carry on size before you fly. Some airlines do not care and will let you board without checking the size but low-cost airlines like Ryanair and Wizz Air check regularly. If your bag is slightly bigger, you’re in soup. Bring cash, just in case. If you don’t pay, you stay. No mercy.

Nigerian traveller
Ryanair’s message is clear

Do your research. Similar to the last tip is this one. Before you travel, try to get to know the country a little bit. The culture, transport, prices, etc. You may not want to bring your shorts and tight dress to India. Don’t say i did not tell you.

Screenshot your boarding pass, flight itinerary, visa, hotel address, etc. Or just print them, much better. You will be asked to show these sometimes when you land so to avoid headaches, better have them printed or a picture to show. Some airports have no wifi and the staff does not care about your issues so save yourself some trouble and do things right.

Never count on airport wifi. Some people may think “Come on, this is the 21st century, wifi HAS TO be everywhere”. Nope, not really. It really depends on the country and the airport. And sometimes, there is wifi but not for free. People want free wifi, if you have to pay, there is no wifi then. In countries like Spain and Turkey, you do have “free” wifi but do not expect this everywhere you go. In Praia (Cape Verde) there is no wifi, so be prepared for this.

Nigerian traveller
Free wifi? Only in your dreams, and Switzerland

Ask the hotel/host. If you have any doubts about the country that requires local help, for example, what’s the best way to get to the hotel from the airport without a taxi, ask the hotel or your host before you leave so you don’t feel lost once you’re there.

Bring your own entertainment and snacks when you travel. If you fly business/first class, you will usually be taken care of. But if you don’t, you may not get any entertaintment or snacks. What i do is this, i ALWAYS carry my Kindle with me. My Kindle is my baby, if i do not bring my Kindle, i will die…of boredom. I just love it. I also bring some snacks i can eat when i feel a bit hungry. Remember you cannot bring your own water bottle, you have to buy one inside the airport. If you travel by train/bus/car, this rule does not apply.

Don’t go too far. People usually ask me this: I have never left my country, what’s the best way to start travelling the world? Well, my advice is to start inside your own country. I believe there is a fear inside us we need to control before travelling for a long period of time or further. My advice is to travel to a city in your country, then another one, until you feel okay with it. For example, if you are an ivorian from Abidjan, go visit Yamoussoukro, then go to Man. Once you feel comfortable, visit Ghana or Burkina Faso. Once you notice you’re getting comfortable, go further, you could go to Kenya or Morocco. Always go one step further, never get too comfortable. We grow when we challenge ourselves. That’s the only way.

Be open-minded. When you travel, you will meet different people with different experiences, ideas and cultures. Don’t reject everything just because you do not relate or agree. Try to give it a chance, you may enjoy it. For example, while i was in Sweden, i had an indian host who used to sit on the floor and eat rice with his hands. As a nigerian, we do eat pounded yam with egusi/okro soup with our hands but rice??? Never. I have never done that, but you know what? I did it, and it was not that bad but i still prefer spoons. I don’t like getting my hands dirty unless there is some okro soup waiting for me. It is an experience, and it is not that bad. Some experiences will be nice (like the spraying money at parties thingy we nigerians do), others will not (like having to deal with african checkpoints), but being open-minded is key to travelling.

img - 10 tips for new travellers
Nigerians spraying money at a party

This is all i can say. There are more tips, of course, but those will be shared through Instagram stories. I hope you can use this to start your journey and get out of your shell. If you have any doubts, ask us.

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