Travel tips

What NOT to do on your first overseas trip

My first independent overseas trip was to Nepal just after my 18th birthday. I still don’t really know why I chose Nepal. I knew nothing about the country to the point where I didn’t realise that’s where Mount Everest was, and I thought Kathmandu was just a travel shop not a capital city.

You know that saying “she took everything, including the kitchen sink”? Yeah that was me. I stuffed my 65+10L pack full of things I “needed”, left my family and boyfriend behind, and jetted off to Nepal. Sure enough I didn’t use half the stuff I’d taken and my 2L container of medical items was only opened once. Over the past 7 years the way James and I travel has changed so much since that first trip, so here are 10 things NOT to do on your first overseas trip!

1. Book everything.

We’ve done this once, and regretted it the moment we got there. Booking everything may give you piece of mind, however it gives you no flexibility to go and explore the cool thing you just read online, or stay one extra day in the place you have fallen in love with.

2. Stay in your bubble.

One of the joys of travelling is meeting other people. Go up to fellow travellers, join them at their table for breakfast, look after the random German couples 2 year old while they have the longest shower in history (yes, this happened. And no, the 2 year old didn’t speak English).

3. Bring everything you “need”.

Please, for the love of god pack light. I’ve never met anyone who was glad they’d brought a 70L pack crammed full on their trip. I don’t care how long you’re travelling for, you don’t need that much stuff!

4. Stress about being scammed.

It happens to the best of us. Worse things have happened, you didn’t die so you’ll be right!

5. Drink too much.

So many of those horrific travel stories have one thing in common – the person was drunk. Have a few drinks, but make sure you keep your wits about you!

6. Let bad experiences ruin your trip.

They’ll make for the best stories once you get home!

7. Complain that “it’s not the same as home”.

And don’t buy a Pizza in Phnom Penh and expect it to be the same as your local Dominos. You’re in Phnom Penh, not your local Dominos.

8. Overload on the medications.

A simple kit with Panadol, cold & flu, bandaids, blister packs & diarrhoea meds will do. Malaria medications are a must if you’re going to a malaria area, and travel sickness meds if you’re prone to that sort of thing. I also take Paw Paw ointment because I’m super clumsy and always manage to burn myself on things (e.g. motorbike exhausts…).


Everyone starts somewhere! You’ll make mistakes, everyone does. It’s about how you handle the mistakes that matters 🙂 If you found this post useful be sure to like us on Facebook to ensure you don’t miss any other tips or stories!

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  1. What a great list of tips infused with some humor! It’s always best when we learn and can look back and chuckle at ourselves. The pack light thing is something I am continually working on and getting better with each journey. We managed two weeks with 7 people and only 7 backpacks (1 pp) last month so I feel we are improving!

  2. These are spot on! It’s important to have some freedom on your trip, and I totally agree with the “bad” experiences always end up being the best travel stories. Those experiences are also the ones you learn the most from.


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