Have you talked about going on an international trip, only to end up taking a vacation to the same places year after year? It’s familiar, comfortable an easier to plan. I get it. By the time I was 32 I had traveled all over the the states for work and leisure but hadn’t set foot outside the US, Canada, or Mexico.
It seemed so overwhelming to plan a big international trip. I worried about not knowing the languages, the cultures or how to get around. However as I started to travel more, I realized how empowering it was to explore another country and how enlightening is was to be immersed in a new culture. Once I realized how accessible international travel is, I realized you’re never too old to start planning that dream trip of yours!
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with so much to see in the world, particularly when planning a getaway trip to a new country. You might not know where to start, and that’s ok! If you’re totally new to the international travel scene, here are my top 6 vacation ideas for Americans on their first international trip.
Although a long flight, Australia is perfect for a first international trip. (It was for me!) Everyone speaks English and culturally similar, yet different enough to appreciate the charm and friendliness of the locals. In Sydney, see a show at the famous Opera House, take a ferry to the beautiful Manly Beach, and sip a cocktail overlooking the ocean.
Make a day of visiting Bondi Beach and the famous pool that meets the ocean as waves crash into the side. Melbourne is another great city, and a short flight from Sydney, with a bustling business district and delicious food! If you have time, take an all-day tour to see the littlest penguins of Phillip Island. They are absolutely adorable, and your tour guide will stop along the way to see other Australian animals such as kangaroos and koalas. If your trip allows, take a 3-hour flight to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef, one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. We recommend at least 10 days to visit Australia, although we were able to see a lot with only a week while spending 3 days in each city.
2. New Zealand
Not far from Australia, New Zealand is an English-speaking country that is clean, welcoming, laid-back, and simple to navigate, making it ideal for first-time foreign travelers. It also has some of the most unique and fascinating landscapes on the planet. If you want to meet the community for a more personal experience, Kiwis are well-known for their generous, sometimes exuberant personality and optimistic outlook on life.
3. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is a natural option for many first-time American tourists because everyone speaks English, and there aren’t many cultural differences. Still, you can experience all the historical and cultural intricacies of another country. It’s very multicultural, so you can spend some time in major cities such as London or Edinburgh while also enjoying the seashore along Cornwall’s breathtaking coast or the stunning Scottish Highlands. If you center your tour in London, visit classic landmarks such as the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey and take day trips to locations such as Windsor, which are just an hour away.
Thailand has been named one of the world’s best countries. It is well-known for its warm hospitality, making it a more welcoming destination for first-time travelers. It’s all reasonably priced, so you won’t have to think about blowing your budget. The nation has a lot to sell all kinds of visitors. Give yourself at least a few days to heal from jet lag and drink up Bangkok’s lively atmosphere. Though it is well-known for its nightlife, it also has a plethora of Buddhist monasteries. Then, either go north to Chiang Mai or south to the islands.
If you’ve always wanted to visit Asia but are worried about the differences in culture, begin with Japan. It is much more open than many of its neighbors, and while English is not commonly spoken, it is more popular in major tourist places like Kyoto and Tokyo. Like road signs and signs in train and metro stations, the most significant signs are for both English and Japanese. The Japanese are so warm and polite that any communication challenges can be easily overcome.
Greece is known for its picturesque white-washed townhouses and villas, bright blue skies, and black-pebbled shores. If it’s your first time visiting, take a Mediterranean trip to the island of Greece and experience scrumptious Mediterranean cuisine, breathtakingly beautiful beaches, and vibrating evening sunsets.
Anytime you’re taking that first international trip or haven’t traveled in a while it can be a bit intimidating. People are generally most concerned about travel prices, protection, speaking different languages, what hotel rooms could be like, and the general “unknown” of being somewhere different. Fear of the unknown often a major impediment to travel (It was for me!), next only to financial constraints. But in any case, a fun vacation is good for you, not just for fun but also good for the soul, so take your first leap into travel with baby steps into a place you’ll feel most comfortable with.
Don’t pass up the opportunity and make the most out of your journey!