Travelling is a great thing. I travel the world solo and it’s one of my greatest accomplishments yet. It has been such a different learning experience for me; one I think I wouldn’t be able to achieve if I were supposed to be in a classroom this entire time.
When I was studying in college, all my friends, family knew I wanted to go out and explore. To see something new and just to explore the different culture. When the time came, it was so abrupt, that I only had about two weeks to take on one of the biggest adventures of my life (solo). After the first few days of my travels, I knew I wanted to help others do the same. It was so life-changing and so amazing, I wanted to tell someone about it, with the hopes that one day, they too, can experience the same.
Travelling For the First Time
Just a few weeks ago, a fellow reader messaged me about taking on their very first adventures ever. She had gone through an article of mine and it had inspired her to venture out and explore. This, to me, was like music to my ears.
For her very first trip, she had it all planned out. She was planning on travelling from Kingston to Mexico(via Cuba). Spend a few weeks in Mexico then on to Colombia. Two countries that I have so much love for, have visited more than once and have had nothing but amazing experiences whilst visiting. To add to that, they are both visa-free. She had everything together. Her finances, hotel/home-stay booked, on-going ticket booked. Even though everything was on point, she was refused entry into Mexico and I cannot begin to express what that must have felt like.
Mexico is a visa-free country for Jamaicans and one that you can freely travel around for 6-months in each visit.
She has never travelled before, so this would have been her first travel experience. Her denied entry was not explained and there might have also been a language barrier. I have had readers travelled to Latin America via Cuba and Panama before and had never had issues, so this, to me, is a special case.
Her experience had fueled my interest to quickly draft this post as to help others better prepare for there trips in the further. If you have any upcoming travels, here are some tips to help with the transition process as it regards to immigration and visas.
Things You Know To Know Before Your First Trip
1. First, try to visit the Caribbean islands.
Being a Caribbean passport holder is not one of the easiest tasks when it comes on to travelling. So, if you are from the islands and has never travelled before try to visit other Caribbean islands first before taking on bigger adventures. Your passport is like your resumé, if immigration officers see that you’ve travelled before, it will be an easier transition to get into countries that are a little bit more out of the way, especially if you currently do not hold a US visa.
2. First time travelling, make it a one country visit.
This is your first time so you want to use this trip to test the waters, so to speak. This way, you can avoid losing money etc, if something should go wrong.
3. First time or not, make sure to have travel insurance.
Having travel insurance saves you time and money. One of the worst travel scenarios to experience is for something to happen and you are caught in a situation with no travel insurance. You do not want this to happen. You can get insured at World Nomads.
4. Language Barrier? Ask for a translator
If you happen to be in a country where the language is an issue and you’re having a difficult time with government officials, for example, you might not know this, but you have the right to ask for a translator. You want to make sure you fully understand what they are saying and in the case if you should sign something… You want to know what you are signing off to.
Be smart about travelling, pay attention and be determined to conquer the challenges. I have been doing so since 2012 and I wouldn’t have it any other way.