5 mins

5 things every first-time traveller should know

Macca Sherifi from GapYear.com reveals his tips for getting the most out of your first big trip

Macca and friends (Macca Sherifi)

1. You’ll only regret the things you don’t do

Say yes to absolutely everything. Life is for living and you don’t want to come home from your travels saying to yourself, “I wish I did that…” Enjoy it in the moment; who knows when you’re going to travel again.

2. Learn the Indian head wiggle

As Westerners, we don’t really understand the true meaning of the head wiggle – it means yes, no, maybe, I don’t know, I don’t understand, why you are talking to me and a million and one other things as well. However, if you use it as much as Indian’s they will love you for it. Just pop it in a conversation every now and again – you may feel stupid at first but trust me, you’ll reap the rewards.

3. Try the west coast of Koh Pha Ngan 

Every single backpacker wants to go to the Full Moon Party in Thailand. That’s a fact. However, instead of flocking to the hedonistic Haad Rin (the location of the Full Moon Party), head in the opposite direction and check out the west coast of the island. It’s cheaper, quieter, and more beautiful. In fact, it’s better in every respect.

4. Dive with the locals

If you’re into your scuba diving always dive with a local Divemaster. Invariably they’ve been brought up in the area and they know the seas like the back of their hand. If you want the best possible experience underwater, you’ll want keep it local.

5. Don’t go to Bali

Indonesia isn’t made up of just Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands. There are over 17,000 islands to choose from so branch out a little and see something different. Indonesia is such a beautiful country and I tip a few of the lesser islands to be the next up-and-coming backpacker destinations.

Macca SherifiMacca Sherifi is travel editor and spokesperson at gapyear.com, a social network and travel advice website about taking a gap year.

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