Your first time traveling abroad can be both exhilarating and kind of intimidating. You’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, journeying far from home, and dealing with new cultures, cuisines, and languages. It gets easier each time but everyone has to start somewhere. You may prefer to ease yourself into the experience of international travel by first visiting one of the best places to visit for the first-time traveler.
The United Kingdom
Often times it’s the language barrier that worries new travelers the most. While traveling in countries that speak a foreign language isn’t as difficult as you might think, you can sidestep this issue completely by cutting your teeth in another country that also speaks English. The U.K. is a country full of diversity, from the iconic city of London to the misty mountains of Wales and the dreamy Scottish Highlands. This is a great part of the world to immerse yourself in without having to worry too much about language or cultural differences.
Similarities are great, but sometimes you want to visit somewhere completely different. Iceland offers that unique experience. The landscapes here are uniquely beautiful and you may find yourself questioning not just what island you’re on but what planet. Despite its otherworldliness, Iceland is quite convenient for first-time travelers due to it’s solid infrastructure, proximity to the U.S., and the fact that everyone speaks English as well as Icelandic. Plus, crime here is basically non-existent, eliminating another common travel concern.
Out of all the countries in South America, Ecuador may be the most accessible. This tiny country has a little bit of everything that makes the continent great, from the Amazon to the Andes, colonial cities like Quito and the fascinating wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. As a result, the country is quite used to catering to foreign travelers and it’s easy to find English speakers. Ecuador uses American dollars, so no need to learn a foreign currency either–perfect for the first-time traveler.
Asia definitely ranks higher on the travel difficulty scale, but the beautiful culture, history, and amazing food make it an incredibly worthwhile challenge. You can dip your toes into the pool by first journeying to Japan, an amazing country with a strong travel infrastructure that caters to Westerners. Although English isn’t widely spoken, Japanese people are unfailingly polite and helpful. Not to mention, everything is so organized you’ll easily figure out where you need to be.
America’s neighbor to the south gets some bad press, but don’t let that deter you from visiting the safer parts of Mexico. Since Mexico is only a short plane ride away from most of the U.S., it’s an ideal spot for a long weekend or short trip abroad. Visit one of the amazing historical cities like Puebla or Oaxaca or book some beach time along the Mayan Riviera or around Puerto Vallarta. Mexico is very accommodating to tourists and is a very easy and fun place to visit.
Bonus Tip: If you’re a first-time traveler, be sure to check out TripIt to help you organize your itinerary for free.