One of the most common questions I hear when talking with people who are looking to travel is "where should I go?". The answer I give them is a very simple one and that is "anywhere!". What I've found to be consistently true with nearly everyone I've known that has traveled is that they've loved every place they've gone. Now, that's not to say that some didn't have a few rough experiences, but the consensus is that you're traveling to see different parts of the world, every country has it's positive aspects just like every country has some negative aspects. The first thing I would do is throw away every preconceived notion you have in your head about different countries. Now, that's not to say go to places that are potentially dangerous, that's common sense. But to really find out where you truly want to go I would look at why you're interested in traveling. Are you looking to go to site see? Are you looking for a more natural travel experience I.e hiking, mountain climbing, etc.? Or are you looking for a nice relaxing vacation with beaches and palm trees? To be honest you could really be looking for all of those things! A great place to start is with convenience, do you know people who live abroad? That's what propelled me to travel to Europe and gave me the extra push to really travel. Next, are you interested in any specific cultures? I recommend for your first time traveling, go see something that has caught your eye over the years! It's a great way to ease yourself into the cultural differences the United States has with nearly every other country. Overall though, I truly believe that you can't go wrong wherever you go, the world is a beautiful place. While traveling there are certain things you should never be caught without, here are my five most important items...
This first one is very important. No matter where you go, to get there you are going to need your passport. It is necessary that you have this with you nearly at all times. While there are certain countries that are considered safe and friendly, it is always a good idea to have your passport with you in case of emergencies.
Wherever you are traveling to, make sure that you have your money exchanged into the currency that country uses. Don't be that tourist that is trying to get locals to accept the U.S. dollar bill, nobody likes that guy. It is also important due to emergencies. There have been many instances in which my credit/debit card has not worked when I have been abroad and I needed the item right then and there. Always have cash (in the correct currency) on hand while traveling.
Now I know this one seems a bit odd, but you would be surprised at how handy a dictionary really could be. Just by getting one word out correctly most people will be able to figure out what you are asking for or what you are trying to tell them. If you're not fortunate enough to have a guide with you who speaks the natural language, a pocket dictionary could really go a long way.
This is another one that sounds odd but is a must while you are walking the streets of a foreign city. You have to remember that these cities are much different than american cities. When you go up to a restaurant and ask for a glass of water they will in fact charge you or even refuse. It's a safe bet, especially when it's hot, to carry a bottle of water for yourself. You'll thank me later.
5. A Smile!
Cheesy, I know, but it really is so true! Be a happy tourist, be happy that you're exploring new places. Even if it's not what you expected, enjoy just being there. I see so many people that are miserable while they're on vacation because it's too hot or they didn't get to do what they wanted to do. My advice, go with the flow and keep on smiling.