First Trip Abroad? Here's Where You Should Go
Taking a trip abroad for the first time can be both thrilling and a little bit scary. You're probably going to be out of your comfort zone and you'll want to make sure that you get the most out of your first foreign journey. Since this will be your first visit far from home, why not get your feet wet with a destination that is less challenging, but just as fun to visit. Get your wish list out to explore the best cities for your first trip abroad.
1. London, England
If you want an amazing first trip abroad, then London is a fantastic choice! Everyone speaks English and you'll find the locals are super friendly and willing to help you get around. You may be surprised at how diverse London is and many parts of the city have an international feel. Getting around London is a breeze with its safe and efficient public transportation system. Between the Underground rail system (the tube) and the famed double-decker buses, you can get almost anywhere you want fairly cheaply.
On your first trip, try to stay in central London to avoid wasting travel time. You'll find a great choice when it comes to eating out, from traditional fish and chips to Tandoori Chicken. Plan to spend a week or so to really see what London has to offer but start with the tried and true spots like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the London Eye. If you want to really hit the all the hot spots, get a London Pass and rack up huge savings to the most popular attractions in the city.
2. Montreal, Quebec
Montreal is truly a unique North American city. Here you can enjoy the amenities of a modern city, like great shopping and superb dining, but also get a taste of old Europe as well. Canada's rich history and French heritage hit you at nearly every turn. But don’t worry, though Montreal has one of the largest French-speaking populations in the world, most everyone speaks English. Arm yourself with a few useful French phrases, it will make your experience more enjoyable.
As you look for a great place to stay, you'll recognize many hotel chains, like Marriott and Hilton, but if you want a more authentic experience, check out the Le Petit Hotel located on a cobblestone street in Old Montreal. Montreal is a foodie's dream and you'll find amazing French cuisine as well as every other type of international cuisine you can imagine. Stay busy with a large variety of attractions, including wandering Old Montreal and visiting the Montreal Biodome, Jean-Talon Market, and the Underground City.
3. Tokyo, Japan
For a first-time trip to Tokyo, you'll have to do some planning. Not only will you have to tackle the language barrier, but you will have to learn how to navigate the crowds, subways and streets of this mega city of 38 million people! Don’t worry, it will be worth your efforts because a trip to Tokyo is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Eating in Tokyo is almost an art form and nearly every restaurant goes to great lengths to make your dining experience unforgettable. Step into any sushi bar and experience the freshest seafood of your life, or if you are in a rush, hit a local noodle house for a bowl of ramen made with the same attention to detail. Once you have checked into your hotel and got yourself oriented to the landscape, check out the nightlife in Shinjuku or hit the shops in Harajuku. There are also many cultural attractions to visit like the Meiji-jingū shrine or Senso-Ji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo.
4. Amsterdam, Kingdom of the Netherlands
There is so much to do in Amsterdam you may find it hard to know where to start. This great European capital is famous for its canals, so why not hop on a cruise and take in scenic gabled homes, verdant parks and colorful markets. You can arrange for a trip with commentary or for maximum flexibility, use the hop-on, hop-off Canal Bus. Amsterdam is really compact, so taking in the sights by foot or on a bike is easy to do.
If you stay in the center of the city, you'll have easy access to the best attractions. Try the Hotel De L'Europe for a five-star experience. While you're sight-seeing, you'll pass many street markets, like Jordaan's Lindengracht Market, where you can sample local favorites like herring and gouda cheese. Wash down your snacks by checking out the Heineken Experience to see how this world-famous beer is made.
Any visit to Amsterdam must include a trip to Koninklijk Paleis, the official residence of King Willem-Alexander and his family. Other popular attractions include the Anne Frank House, Vondelpark and the Amsterdam Museum. After a trip to Amsterdam, you may never want to leave.
5. Melbourne, Australia
Believe it or not, Melbourne lays claim to the title of the coffee capital, sports capital and cultural capital of the “Land Down Under.” Whether it’s true or not, you won’t be disappointed with all there is to do in this Aussie hotspot. You'll feel welcomed from the moment you hit the streets of this vibrant city with a truly multicultural feel. The best way to get around Melbourne is by tram which operates all through the day and can take you nearly anywhere in the city. Good news—there's even a free tram just for tourists.
There is no shortage of fine restaurants, elegant buildings, fabulous beaches and historically important landmarks. For starters, a visit to the Melbourne Zoo will get you up close and personal with the adorable Koala Bear. You have to also hit the National Gallery of Victoria, Queen Victoria Market, Royal Botanic Gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance. You won’t go wrong if you pick Melbourne as your first trip abroad.
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