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Handy Tips for First-Generation Travelers

As a first-generation traveler, exploring abroad for the first time means navigating new experiences. Feeling a liiiittle intimidated? We rounded up a few helpful resources and suggestions so you’ll feel ready to take on the world.

For a lot of people, the dream of traveling abroad feels like just that—a dream. Like, where do you even start? Ultimate Break makes traveling the world super easy, but if you’ve never traveled internationally before, it might not seem so simple. But trust us, your dream is way more accessible than you think. We gathered some tools and broke them down into the Three F’s (convenient, right?) for first-gen travelers.

A man standing on a bridge next to two bicycles situated over a tree-lined canal


First, let’s just address the big, green elephant in the room—money. For a lot of first-time travelers, the biggest hurdle is how to actually...pay for the trip. There are the obvious up-front costs like flights and hotels, but how do you factor in the fun stuff, like food and souvenirs? With some research and thoughtful planning ahead of time, budget constraints don’t need to pop your travel balloon.

9 money-saving travel tips

A handy dandy guide to handling money abroad

“Save sooner rather than later! Tuck some funds away (if you can). Your future travel self will thank you later. EF suggests budgeting $100 a day but take that with a grain of salt. Prepare what you feel comfortable with.”

— Jadzia Duarte, EF Ultimate Break Trip Consultant & First-Generation Traveler


Ok, so your trip is booked and you’re super excited. What happens when those butterflies in your stomach turn into huge bats and you think “uhhh, I don’t know if I can do this.” First, breathe—you can definitely do this. Remember that travel is for everyone, including you. Second, keep a few handy resources in your back pocket so that you’re prepared for whatever may come your way. Being nervous is normal but there are answers to all those “what if” questions your mind (or your anxious mom) keeps throwing at you.

CDC Yellow Book: Safety and Security Abroad

Key Phrases to learn in a foreign language

Anxiety & Depression Association of America

Being abroad can bring up a lot of conflicting emotions. Happiness! And homesickness. Freedom! And guilt. Many first-gen travelers report feeling guilty for being the first in their family to have the opportunity to pursue international travel, and then there’s plain ol’ missing home.

A coupla ideas: keep a journal while you’re on the road to help you feel more grounded and remember that these feelings and fears are only temporary. Send a few postcards or posting about your trip on social are easy ways to stay connected and keep the fam updated on your adventures. And when in doubt, identify people around you that you can lean on. If you're on an Ultimate Break trip, for example, your Tour Director and fellow travelers can support you. We even have a dedicated 24/7 support line, so you never feel alone, wherever you go.

“I don’t think I connected with home at all and that was the thrill for me! Being disconnected completely and having to come home to make those connections again made it even better!”

— Katie Trapp, Ultimate Break Brand Ambassador & First-Gen Traveler

A man smiling for a photo standing in front of a view of mountains and valleys


It’s time to jet! But getting on a plane isn’t as simple as driving down to the grocery store. Make sure you know what to expect before you jet off, like having all documentation ready—passport, plane tickets, visa, etc.—and your travel essentials packed. The key to a smooth flying experience is getting all your ducks in a row before you even step foot out the door. These resources can help you feel more prepared navigating the tricky world of travel readiness.

Department of State Travel Checklist

TSA Packing rules

Tips for navigating the airport

“I wish I would’ve told myself to not be scared to venture out on my own and utilize all free time that I had. I’ve found such happiness with just being able to get lost in a city and stumble upon a shop or restaurant and allow myself the time to be fully present in the country that I’m visiting.”

— Jadzia Duarte, EF Ultimate Break Trip Consultant & First-Generation Traveler

Feeling a little better about this whole international travel thing? Going abroad does require a fair amount of prep, but by breaking it down into fun-sized bits, you’ll see it’s not so daunting. And at the end of the day, your inexperience can be your superpower. The thrill of experiencing a culture, a new cuisine, or even a long-haul flight for the first time is something that you only get once. Savor it all.

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