Rookie Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling For The First Time

So, you’ve finally planned a trip overseas and you are excited. You cannot wait to explore the new city and fulfill that wanderlust. That’s great but there are some rookie mistakes to avoid when traveling for the first time and I have discussed a few in today’s post.


If I was the only one left on earth, travel agents will be totally non-existent. Thank God it’s not about me. Respect to them and their work but I believe certain things you can do by yourself as long as you can read, write and have access to the internet. Take some ownership for your travel and don’t leave everything to the agents. No one cares about you as much as you care about yourself. (I’ll hope.)


In an attempt to get everything locked down, you might be tempted to book everything in advance. Activities to do, places to go, food to eat, everything. Don’t. Some things are a lot cheaper on arrival. By all means cover the basics (Accommodation, Flight, Transportation.) but allow room for flexibility too.


You should research the place you are about to visit. Currency, crime rate, stability, people, culture, etc. You want to be armed with information to avoid being in dangerous situations and scammed.


A guidebook traveler is someone who just follows what the guidebook says and goes home. It is a guidebook for a reason; to guide you but not limit you. Seek experiences beyond the guidebook, be open to spontaneity. Also, do not try to do everything at the same time, it’s okay to leave some things for another time.


Not everyone needs to know you are traveling for the first time because of how nervy you look. You may not fully know the procedures, that’s okay, you can just ask with confidence. Tourists are already prime targets, you make it even worse when you look lost, panicky or lack confidence.


This only applies to air travel. An online check-in can be the difference between you missing or making your flight. You can check in online within 24 hours of the flight and it can save you so much time when you get to the airport.


Don’t do it. Nothing as frustrating as having to tote too many stuff at once. I admit that I have had to travel with a bunch of extra things that I did not even need. A smart traveler knows the value of traveling light. This area I am still trying to improve on.


  • Not having enough resources: It is not advisable to go somewhere without enough resources, especially for the first time. The last thing you want is to be stranded in a foreign country. Be mindful that most times, everything is a bit pricier than you estimated.
  • Not having a budget: To avoid any form of carelessness, make sure to budget.
  • Foreign exchange: Your money goes farther in certain countries than the others. Not to say you shouldn’t go to certain countries because they have a favorable currency than you do, but at least be aware of the exchange rates and how it may affect your purchase decisions.
  • Credit cards or cash: Credit cards can be very expensive to use due to the high bank fees attached to them especially during international transactions. Cash is always better. Change? Even better.
  • Roaming fees: You should sort out telephone matters to avoid roaming fees. If you do not mind the fees, you can arrange with your service provider to get an international plan.


No matter what your reasons for traveling overseas are, do not be condescending towards the way of life of the foreigners. It doesn’t matter if you agree with it or not; you don’t have to, but show respect to their traditions, be willing to mix with the locals and keep an open mind. If not, just stay at home.


  • Not making a copy of your travel documents (in case they get lost.)
  • Carrying liquid items above 100 ML in your carry-on. This list will be helpful.
  • Not getting travel insurance.

So, those are the mistakes to avoid when traveling for this first time. If you are traveling for the first time, I hope you find this post helpful. If you already had your first travel experience, tell me, what were some of the mistakes you made while traveling for the first time? Talk to me in the comments!

Some related articles to read: My Pre-Travel Ritual | Free Things To Ask For On A Flight | How To Get Good Deals On Airfare.

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  1. Hey, How do you usually sort out your telephone matters? I mean coming from Nigeria, its not so economical getting a sim at each country that you only use for data for a few days. What is usually your plan when you go to carribeans and central american countries?

  2. I totally agree with all you mentioned. I particularly like the part about overbooking -even travel veterans are guilty of this. Beyond the cheaper deals, resisting the temptation to book everything in advance leaves room for spontaneity (which in my opinion adds flavour to every trip). By the way, I think these tips are relevant for everyone not just first time travellers. Great post ?

    1. That is true, Chogwu. I think no matter how much you travel, certain mistakes can still be made. Like I mentioned, I still struggle with overpacking things that I do not need but getting better travel by travel.

  3. This is such a useful guide and not just for first time travellers, as many people still make these mistakes! Travelling light can be such a task and i just keep thinking ‘what if I need this’? Def need to improve. 100ml items and sharp items too. I once had my tweezer in my carry on, and of course that didn’t make it. Lol!


    1. Thank you Kachee! Yes, I actually think everyone can gain from this post too. It’s also a friendly reminder for me as well.

      Thanks for stopping by, yet again.

  4. Very helpful tips Ufuoma! Love this post especially the part where you mentioned about keeping an open mind. Very key. If not, just stay at home. Spot on!

  5. Hayyyy never traveled before so will definitely be bookmarking this for the future. I dont want to be a rookie traveler especially after you have warned. Really helpful post, like always.

    1. Yay! Glad you found it helpful and safe travels when you eventually do. No to being a rookie traveler! 🙂

  6. my first time travel mistake was carrying my foundation and make up bag and perfumes in my carryon and all of it was confiscated. no mercy. i cried that day. it was horrible but lesson learnt.
    this post is still helpful even after traveling for a while. thank you.

    1. They have no mercy indeed but when you know the reason, you’ll understand why. It’s for the safety of everybody. Sorry to hear you had that horrible experience but good thing is, it’s never happening again.

      Thanks for stopping by Simisola.

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