S&G guide to: 12 best destinations for first-time travellers

It’s a long time since we were first-time travellers but we do know that taking the leap into international travel can be very intimidating. So many choices! So much you want to do! But what will it be like? Will it be safe? Will you be able to communicate?

So here are where we think are the 12 best destinations for first-time travellers.


Really, if you visit anywhere in Western Europe, you are in tourist-friendly zone. But here are some of our obvious and less obvious picks.


There is a reason it is the most-visited country in the world. It’s not just about Paris either. France is beautiful in its entirety from the heat and history of Provence to the seasides of Normandy. And the idea that the French are unfriendly or sniffy is an absolute fallacy.

French countryside


Who doesn’t want to go to Italy? It is a country with a seductive charm all of it’s own and is second to France as  a European tourist hot-spot. Venice, Florence, Rome – we’ve all seen the movies, we all want to go there, we all love the food. Italy is a wonderful place to start travelling as being in Italy makes you feel indulgent and romanced, even if you’re travelling alone.


Every one who visits Germany enjoys it, even if they expect not to. The prices are the best in Western Europe, the food and drink are excellent. It’s easy to get around and an all-around beautiful country.

Typical Altstadt anywhere in Germany.

Typical Altstadt anywhere in Germany.


More and more tourists are crowding the Dalmatian coast each year but for a first-time traveller Croatia has just the right feeling of off-the-beaten-track combined with good facilities for visitors. If you want to be a bit more adventurous, leave the coast and explore the mountains.


Pint-sized, relaxed with beautiful scenery and lots to do provided you like food and history, Portugal is a short flight away from the rest of your travels in central Europe, but it’s a lovely destination and like Croatia, tourist friendly but a little out of the way, if you want to try something different on your first time abroad.



Japan can be quite a culture shock, particularly if you’ve had no exposure to Japanese food, history or pop culture. However, it is a very friendly, safe, tourist-welcoming country so even though it might take you a while to adapt to the food and the crowds, Japan is a great place to go, to dip your toe into Asia.


Thailand is full of tourists. In fact, it’s a country where you have to fight to get away from tacky tourist junk and Irish bars to see a bit of the real Thailand. It can all be a little overwhelming but if you’re a first-time traveller, it’s a really fun country which hosts great parties!

B enjoying a traditional nutella pancake in Bangkok.

B enjoying a traditional nutella pancake in Bangkok.



Yes, we are biased, but really, Australia is a great country to visit! It can be expensive but we’re friendly, we’ve got amazing sights, food, drink, the best coffee in the world and we promise you’ll have the time of your life when you visit us.



You might not want see all of it, but the USA is easy to get around, fun, and tourist-welcoming. NYC is one of those cities that calls, like London and Paris, and you have to see it sometime in your life.

Feeling a bit more adventurous but still want to feel safe?


If you want to see Africa, Morocco is a great place to start. It is a fairly tourist-friendly place with stunning scenery but you will still be surrounded by dirt and hustlers. Marrakesh alone is worth a visit.

Hong Kong

Sure, it’s just a city, but there is a lot to see. As a port town, Hong Kong has been a stopping point for travellers for centuries. It’s a great city for a stop-over of a few days. It only might be challenging for a first time traveller when you see the density of the population, poverty, dirty and grime you may not be used to at home.

Travel broadens the mind and there is little point travelling if you only stop at picture-perfect destinations and don’t see the places with social and economic problems, poverty, crime and the grubbier side of humanity. Hong Kong is a good introduction to money and poverty living side by side.

Kirst at locals markets in Hong Kong


Vietnam is a glorious country that is welcoming more tourists, it’s pretty easy to get around and the food is delicious and not at all intimidating. Vietnam has incredible history, kind people and a lot for a traveller to see and do.

Hoi An, my favourite place in Vietnam.

Hoi An, my favourite place in Vietnam.



One thought on “S&G guide to: 12 best destinations for first-time travellers

  1. Pingback: The Weekly G&T |

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