Travelling for the First Time

Significant holidays are always an exciting time in your life. By significant I mean, it’s the first time visiting a place you’ve always dreamed of, the first time travelling with a partner or even just travelling alone. Whatever, the reason or occasion, there are a lot of common themes which when you look back on it, are actually quite amusing. Hindsight is always great, so if you are well travelled, let’s relive a few of the common travel misconceptions.

1. The ‘Window Seat’

The best view was from the plane – said no one ever

Tell me one person that hasn’t done this and I’ll call you a liar. That’s not to say that you’ve never had a relaxed holiday which unfolded at a comfortable pace. More so it’s the sense of ‘nonsensical coverage’ that is trying to be achieved. It could be the ’10 cities in 10 days’ approach, the ‘spending more time asleep or in airports than actually out and exploring’ or the very common ‘5 year old scribble route.’ I think that this is generally a waste of time and money, where the only positive outcome of all this is attributed to padding your Instagram feed – in which case you might as well have stayed home and just followed a few travel accounts. In any case, that can hardly be considered a good return on your time, money and emotions. Fortunately for us in Australia, our high minimum wage means that this trip that you are planning to undertake will most probably not be your last. Consider, planning something that you will enjoy in the moment and not something that will allow you to ‘brag’ to all your friends. Memories stay with you forever whilst stories told to people who weren’t there are forgotten instantly. What should be your priority?

2. The ‘Us and Them’ Mentality

Gondola for Two?

I find the ‘Us and Them’ mentality very amusing. In most cases, this is displayed by an individual who wants to express their independence. Whilst I’m all for someone finding themselves and therefore gaining confidence from their actions, at some point it just gets stupid. This usually occurs when said person rejects ideas (usually from parental figures) merely because of who suggested it. I will admit that your parents suggestions for nightlife might not be the best suggestion for a 20 something year old, but turning down free 5 star accommodation just so you can have ‘privacy’ or ‘meet people’ may just be a bit misguided. After all, free is free, even if you have to do the ‘horrible’ and ‘unstylish’ thing of staying with your parents. I really do get the need to express yourself in your own setting, but realistically if it’s something you definitely couldn’t do in front of your parents, is it something you should be doing?

3. The ‘Stress Out’

Above the crossing
The chaotic Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, Japan

Everyone knows a stress rat who is constantly worrying and trying to optimise the time they’ve been given. A holiday should be relaxing and therapeutic yet ultimately, the prospective holiday-er gets themselves sick in the lead up to the holiday. I don’t really know what you can do to help said person. Reading my ‘Achieve by Breathing‘ post is probably the best bit of advice I can give. That and breaking down the trip into ‘what matters’ and what you can essentially ‘wing.’ Doing this will hopefully, let you figure out what’s worth stressing over and that you can let slide. Just make sure there’s enough in the ‘slide’ column as any moments of spontaneity will probably be your best memories.

4. The ‘Run out of Money’

I was overdue for a meme - don't hold it against me
I was overdue for a meme – don’t hold it against me

How many times have your heard of someone going away for a holiday and coming back in debt? There are some cases where this might be justified – e.g. a once in a lifetime opportunity came about that was worth shelling out for. However, these are few and far between so there really isn’t any justifiable reason for overspending what you budgeted for the trip. You wouldn’t have gone on the trip if there wasn’t a remote chance you could afford it so all you’ve really done then, is delayed the time until its time for you to go on your next trip. Holidays really aren’t meant to be once in a lifetime trips so you probably shouldn’t treat them that way. There’s a sporting metaphor which says, ‘you’re only as good as your last game.’ Maybe the same is true for holidays? – i.e. ‘You’re only as good as your last holiday.’

5. The Contiki Tour

I think I remember seeing this before I chundered into the fountain

Similar to the ‘window seat’ traveller, the contiki tour is often a misguided experience. Unless you are a fresh faced 18 year old experiencing alcohol and travel for the first time, I’m not sure I know of a bigger waste of money. Between the ‘passed out’ bus rides, crappy ‘cheap’ bars, vomit, ‘5 minute visits’ to interesting locations and general lack of respect and appreciation for where you are, I really don’t see the point. You could argue in favour of the potential for crazy promiscuous European sex. However, ask any person that’s stayed in a hostel dormitory before and they’ll tell you don’t need a tour to find that. As such, consider going for the ‘hostel pubcrawls’ and not the entire contiki tour. You’ll still get all the fun of a contiki tour, but you’ll also get to have some positive lasting memories of the places you’ve been. 413a54a89c23caf2660020a0af82fdfd_large Irony and hindsight can really be such a bitch sometimes. I’m sure there are many other hindsight travel moments or examples that could make this list so leave your comments below if you think of any. Ultimately, even if you have done all 5 of these travel related things, you would still have some great travel memories and stories. Just maybe not as many of the ones that you wished you had 5 years down the track. No point dwelling on the past though. Better, is time spent in the present maximising your holiday experiences. Until then YOLO!


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2 thoughts on “Travelling for the First Time

  1. Its all about the goals. If your goal is to get drunk in as many cities as possible, then ConTiki tour is right for you. If your goal is to produce as many Instagram selfies of yourself with famous landmarks as possible, then by all means go on a “window seat” trip. Not my thing, but I don’t condone people who do it. All I wish them is to spend a few minutes considering what is it they want from travel.


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