6 Lessons You Might Learn the Hard Way as a First-Time Traveller

Travelling teaches you a series of invaluable life lessons, and is generally considered to be one of the best ways to develop as a person. However, it isn't all plain sailing. Sometimes you learn a lesson the hard way when you're halfway across the globe. Let's explore six such eye-opening experiences which first-time travellers might find.

​1. Earplugs are worthwhile

You'll love the atmosphere and noise which accompanies you when you get to a new hostel – at least, for the first day or two. After some time, the excitement will quickly wear off however, and you'll wish you had something to block out the drunken guys and gals when they're still stirring up a storm in the early hours of the morning.

It stands to reason you probably hadn't even considered this as a problem. After all, there's a good chance you'll want to be partying along with them. Again, this won't be something which carries on for too long – with a decent night's sleep something you'll crave relatively early on. 

2. Not every day out is a "life-changing experience"

It's pretty common to hear people prattle on about travel experiences which changed their lives – and while days like that certainly do exist, it doesn't mean every excursion you're on will have a profound impact on the rest of your life.

Don't think of that in a negative way. Heading down to the beach with your friends and sharing a few beers in the sun isn't something which will change how you see the world, for example, but it's nevertheless an evening very well spent. 

3. Medical insurance is worth it

Medical costs abroad can rack up. Get insurance to make a trip to the hospital affordable

If you're one of these types who thinks they don't need to worry about a potential injury before heading off on holiday, you might want to reconsider your stance. Yes, the chance of you getting into a sticky situation are low – but not completely improbable.

Medical insurance is without question worth opting in for to avoid a potentially devastating hospital bill crippling your finances. The cost of medical treatment across the world is staggering, with just a selection of different treatments priced at:

  • $120,000 – for a rescue helicopter in the Bavarian Alps
  • $50,000 – for a 14-day hospital treatment in Bangkok
  • $800,000 – for an 18-day hospital stay for Pneumonia in the US

4. Don't believe it if it sounds too good to be true

Invest in some ear plugs to drown out the noise at your accommodation

Sometimes a deal – for something like accommodation or travel – sounds so good, it's hard to believe it can even exist. This will primarily be because whatever's being offered is such a shoddy quality that it's probably worth paying double the price just to avoid the experience.

Sure, you could stay in a considerably marked-down hotel room for a third of the price of anywhere else in the city – but prepare yourself for squalid conditions and foods which you question the condition of. Always pay that little bit extra to avoid disaster. 

5. Structure doesn't work

It's great to have a plan in place for what you do and don't want to get involved with on your adventure, but it'll be basically impossible to stick to this throughout your travels. You'll definitely be able to check out some of the locations you've planned to see, but it'll more than likely be a spur of the moment decision, as opposed to at the exact time you planned for pre-travel.

If you're someone who likes structure and order, this is admittedly a little challenging. It's not easy learning to go with the flow, but if you can convince yourself to loosen up and let it happen, it'll make your travel experience significantly better. 

6. You won't be able to do everything you want

Everywhere has lots of amazing things to see, but you won’t be able to visit them all

On that note, don't expect to get everything done in your limited time. Unless you're planning on spending in excess of a year in your chosen locale, you'll probably not get the chance to see everything you would have wanted to on your adventure.

This could very well leave you coming back feeling a bit disappointed. Don't let it bum you out too much. The beauty of travel in the first place comes from the fact there's so much to see. You'll never be able to experience every wonder of a nation – and, in reality, that's a good thing. If you could explore everything you ever wanted life would be a little dull.

If you're thinking about heading off on your first long-haul travel experience in the coming months, make sure to bear these six key factors in mind before your journey. Most people had to learn these lessons the hard way, so be grateful you've been handed some prior warning before your big adventure. 

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25 June 2017
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