7 things I wish I knew before taking my first trip overseas

Asemahle Majola (Photo:Supplied to DRUM)
Asemahle Majola (Photo:Supplied to DRUM)

Preparing for your first international trip is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. It’s important to prepare yourself and know what to expect so your experience can be more relaxed and enjoyable.

A billion questions could be going through your mind, like whether you should create an hour-by-hour itinerary or just wing it? When and where should you exchange money? Jet lag can’t be that bad, right?

Asemahle Majola recently took her first international trip and now she’s sharing the things she wishes she knew before she travelled to Bali, Indonesia. Here are her tips on what you should consider before making your first overseas trip.


“I had saved some money for the trip but because I had to move out from home I had to use the money for the deposit on my flat. This meant I ended up not going on the planned date of my holiday trip. I think what’s most important is saving way before you decide you’re going for a holiday somewhere,” Mahle says.


Planning is the most important aspect of travelling. “When planning a trip in another country proper research is important,” the 26-year-old says.

A few important aspects that should be planned before your trip include making sure your passport and visa are valid, researching your destination’s culture, weather and the top things to do there. And making sure you have all necessary items for your time away from home, including medication and other important things.

“A travel pillow can make a world of difference to how much sleep you’ll get, and bringing a pair of soft socks will keep your feet warm when the temperature takes a dip. A book or a pair of earphones will help to pass the time,” Mahle explains.


“Your ticket and passport are the most important things that need to be with you all the time, ’cause that’s literally all they ask you all the time – when you board, when you get on the flight and when you’re at immigration, so make sure you have those. Obviously, everyone is going to have those, but I’ve learnt you should make sure they’re easily accessible. I was wearing dungarees and I put them in my front pocket. So that’s one. Make sure your ticket and passport are always together,” she advises.


“Please make sure you pack medication. All types of medication because you don’t want to fall sick in a foreign country and end up not enjoying your holiday,” she tells DRUM.


“It’s important to ensure that any luggage you’re checking in, as well as your hand-luggage, is the correct weight and size,” Mahle advises. “Mark your bag with something distinct. It will help you to identify your bag more easily at baggage claim,” she says. Carry a bag that has extra space in it in case you buy something at the airport.

Transportation and food in Bali

If you’re heading to Bali, Mahle has a few extra tips for you.Negotiating at markets will get you the best [transport] deals. Get Grab, it’s their version of Uber and Taxify. It’s much cheaper than our transport and you can negotiate on the app.

“Have a schedule of where you want to eat. There are amazing hotel restaurants that you can dine like a queen at even though you don’t stay there,” she advises.

5 things to do and places to visit in Bali

1 Make friends, most people are also on holiday and are looking to have a good time. I met five groups of travellers I’m still talking too.

2 Make sure to visit La Favela in Seminyak.

3 Visit a waterfall.

4 Visit a Bali swing. Get there just before they close, an hour before. It gets busy so try and miss all the tourists.

5 Going to a coffee plantation is apparently one I missed out on. Make your own coffee and see how it’s made in Indonesia – I wish I had done this.

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