Top Travel Tips For First-time Travellers

29 July 2022

Flight Centre, as you know, has successfully served seasoned local and international travellers for over 40 years. And while seasoned travellers may be acquainted with the intricacies of foreign travel and know what to prepare for and pack before boarding a plane for that trip to a new destination, the whole process may be daunting to the first-time traveller.

So we have put together a quick and easy reference for you as a first-time traveller that will take you gently by the hand and steer you through the ins and outs of what may seem to be a somewhat overwhelming experience. In this edition of our first-time traveller guide series, we will cover the issues of what you should pack in your carry-on luggage, some neat packing tips, the meaning of duty-free shopping and how to survive long-haul flights (especially jet lag). 

We will close off with a list of some other tips provided by seasoned travellers that we suggest you explore further at your leisure.

What to pack in your airline-approved carry-on luggage

   Electronics (phone, tablet, spare batteries.)

   Small toiletry bag with toothbrush etc.

   Regularly prescribed medications (with a copy of the script)

   Flexible silicone water bottle

   Change of clothes and underwear

   Workout towel

   Large oversized scarf

   Leak-proof travel mug

   Small first aid kit

   Foldable bag

   Pen and paper

Packing tips

   Place heavy items at the bottom of the suitcase

   Roll clothes and pack them first

   Choose travel-friendly fabrics

   Pack the first outfit you will wear on top

   Layer plastic dry cleaning bags between clothing (do not discard when unpacking)

   Avoid over- and under-packing

   Take a mini (travel) iron and multi-adapter plugs


Surviving long-haul flights

It is highly recommended that you get up from your seat on the plane when it’s convenient for the airline staff and walk up and down the aisle. When sitting down, make circular movements with your ankles to keep the blood flowing. Perhaps purchase a pair of flight socks which go a long way towards helping to ease the swelling of your feet and ankles.

Jet lag is a temporary sleep problem that can affect anyone who quickly travels across multiple time zones. Our bodies have their own internal clock which signals us when to stay awake and when to sleep so jet lag occurs because our body’s ‘internal clock is still synced to our original time zone, instead of to the time zone where we have travelled to. Symptoms can vary from disturbed sleep patterns to feeling unwell to general mood changes.  

The best ways to counter the effects of jet lag are:

   Keep calm, don’t stress

   Get good rest before taking your flight

   Break your journey (have a stop-over)

   Drink lots of water before, during and after your flight. Skip alcohol on the flight!

   Make yourself comfortable (ear plugs/headphones, inflatable neck pillow, etc.)

   Eat healthy foods after arrival - avoid junk food

   Take light exercise after arrival

   Stay outdoors as much as possible within the first couple of days after arrival

Duty-Free shopping

The "duty" in duty-free simply refers to taxes. Duty-free shops are allowed to sell their wares exempt from various national and local taxes on the condition that the goods will be taken out of the country by international travellers. In the absence of taxes, duty-free shops are therefore able to offer lower prices on their goods and international travellers can save money on a whole variety of products: from clothing and cosmetics, photographic equipment, to tobacco and hard liquor to name but a few.

Some other useful tips

   Draw up a detailed checklist well before departure

   Always take out travel insurance

   Learn a few common phrases in the language of the place to which you are travelling

   Make photocopies of important documents

   Always pack the night before

   Put your room number and hotel address on your phone

   Speak to the locals

   Beware of free public Wi-Fi, especially when doing banking

   Notify your bank of your travel plans

   Wear sunscreen if you are travelling to sunny country

   Let someone know of your plans - keep in touch

   Separate your sources of money 

   Keep an open mind

   Use common sense

So, there you have it! What may seem to be overwhelming and you not knowing where to start has been made simple and pretty easy to follow. We hope the above goes a long way towards eliminating the stress for you as a first-time traveller remember, our experts at Flight Centre are always there to help you and please look out for and visit our first–time traveller guide series.

Enjoy your journey!