How often do you get to do something amazing for the first time?

I know it sounds cheesy but I always feel like a first-timer when I go somewhere different. A new airport, a new sunset, new beaches or city sights, new foods, new people and, most of all, new experiences.

But, and this isn’t an exaggeration, nothing can beat the thrill of your very first holiday abroad. Whether it’s your first time travelling without your parents or you’ve visited every corner of the UK and want to see the world, I envy you; it’s so exciting! It can also be a little nerve-wracking, though, so I’ve pulled together a few tips to help calm the butterflies.

First time travel destinations

This has to be the most important question of all: where should I go on my first holiday abroad? Well, that depends. If there’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, I’d start with that. But if you’re not quite sure, I’ve got a few ideas for you.

If you’re worried about flying for the first time, stay closer to home with a short haul destination. There are some incredible city breaks and beach holidays around Europe, from friendly Amsterdam (just a hop across the North Sea) to the pretty island of Zante
in Greece.

Just a bit further away, there are more exotic places like the Red Sea and Cape Verde, both perfect if you fancy big beaches and adventure sports.

And if you’re keen to start your travels with a big ‘Wow’, I don’t think you can beat South Africa. Cape Town, Table Mountain, the beautiful Winelands, the famous wildlife, it’s one Insta post after another! Or, how about New York? There’s so much to see and do there and the atmosphere’s electric. Plus the subway and hop-on/hop-off tourist buses make it easy to get around, which is always a worry of mine when I go somewhere for the first time.

None of these quite right for you? Get in touch with us at Sunny Heart Travel for more ideas. Your perfect first holiday’s out there for sure!

First time flight travel tips

How are you getting to the airport? You could drive and park there (ask us for help if you’re not sure what the best parking option is), get a taxi, or take the bus or train. If you go by public transport, just bear in mind that London airports might involve some Tube travel, which can be a pain with luggage.

However you’re going to travel, I’d definitely check the route, book everything you can in advance, and allow more time than you think you need, whether you’re checking in at the desk or digitally. I know, it sounds like something your granddad would say, but honestly, it’s better to have time to spare than miss your flight. Like my first time flying, when I managed to lock the car keys inside the car, along with our passports, luggage, dignity, everything really. I won’t bore you with the full story but one expensive emergency locksmith later and we actually made it to check-in on time. Twenty years on and we still always allow extra time, just in case.

Other things you’ll need to keep in mind:

  • Security rules for things like liquids.
  • Your maximum baggage allowance (quantity, weight and size) for cabin bags (hand luggage that you keep with you) and checked baggage (suitcases to be stowed in the cargo hold).
  • How much time it could take to get to your boarding gate; this can be quite a long walk away in larger airports.
  • Whether you’re going to have airline meals or need to take your own food (you can buy sandwiches, snacks and drinks once you’ve gone through the security checks).
  • How you’ll entertain yourself on the flight.
  • How you’ll get to your hotel – taxi, public transport, or leave it to the experts like I do and book a transfer.

First time traveller packing tips

You don’t need the kitchen sink. Or four pairs of flip-flops. Or buckets of sun cream. If you forget or run out of something you can buy it there.

What you do need is:

    • Some money in the right currency (don’t wait to exchange it at the airport, the rates aren’t likely to be great);
    • Your passport, travel documents (such as booking confirmations) and travel insurance details;
    • Any medication you need regularly (pack it in your hand luggage);
    • Enough pants and socks;
    • And a clever combo of clothes that you can switch around and match up with different things, à la the capsule wardrobe.

    Packing light is a skill. I don’t have it. I’m a master of the “Oh, what if I need that sixth book?” approach. And now I travel with kids, it’s even harder! One thing I always do, though, is check if I need to pack essentials like towels for the beach or pool. Sometimes you can hire them at your hotel, or they might be included if you’re on an All Inclusive holiday, and that can save both space and weight in your suitcase.

    So, I recommend you plan your packing way in advance, and weigh your luggage if you can. You don’t want to be that person at check-in, putting on all their clothes in several sweaty layers because their suitcase is too heavy. Or the one who threw everything in at the last minute and forgot their phone charger and favourite jeans but does have a fine selection of uncomfortable shoes and ‘emergency’ hats.

    Above all else (and here comes another cheesy bit), go with a sense of fun, adventure and wonder, because, well, why else would you travel?

    If there’s anything more you’d like to know, whether it’s before you book, before you go or while you’re away, we can help, so don’t be afraid to ask.
    And don’t forget to tell us all about it when you get back – we can’t wait to hear your first-time travel stories. Enjoy!

Back to top

Sign Up to Our Enewsletter

For all the latest news and offers sign up now…