The Best Destinations for First-Time International Travelers

Are you excited but nervous about leaving the country for the first time? These destinations are traveler-friendly and stunning.

When you’re ready to see the world, deciding where to start can be the one thing that holds you back. And that’s fair. There are so many incredible places to choose from and so little time in this life to see every single one. What’s a budding globe trotter to do?

Sure, you could close your eyes and see where your finger lands on a map. You could draw dream destinations out of a hat and go from there. Or, you could narrow your search to the best of the best and book an undoubtedly memorable trip in no time.

Some international hotspots are widely considered the ideal destinations for those leaving the United States for the first time. These lucky seven are often revered as the best.

United Kingdom

View of London Bridge and the Thames
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The United Kingdom is one of the most tried and true destinations for first-time travelers on the list. If you’re looking to see a lot of places on your first trip, the UK is packed with possibilities.

You could take yourself on a grand tour of London and then branch out to the quaint, yet scenic villages all around you. Then head over to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to take in the countryside and mingle with the English-speaking locals. The United Kingdom is made of up bustling city action, ancient relics, breathtaking estates, natural splendor, and explorable castles.

You’ll be in the middle of a diverse and rich cultural heritage, no matter where you start.

Denmark

 Frozen Nyhavn canal in Copenhagen, Denmark
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Whenever I ask those who are well-traveled where they think inexperienced travelers should start, the answer is often Denmark. Not only are many of the locals well versed in English, but this endlessly gorgeous setting is also known for being easier to navigate than most.

From its pedestrian-friendly streets to its surprisingly straightforward metro system, you’ll have little trouble exploring all of Denmark’s endlessly picturesque surroundings.

“Though tiny in size, Denmark is big on culture, cooking, and coastline. Attractions such as Tivoli, the Little Mermaid, and Legoland have fascinated visitors for years. Today, Danish design, architecture, and the New Nordic Cuisine put Denmark on the world map,” per Denmark.DK.

Read More: Seven Tips for International Travel

Mexico

Swimming pool and a grass beach umbrellas with lounges at night, dawn, sunset in Mexico.
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If you’re looking to go somewhere with a shorter flight that’s cheaper than most international destinations, Mexico is the way to go. It’s affordable, covered in gorgeous beaches, and full of some of the most magnificent street food you’ll ever get to try.

If you’re not sure where to stay or what accommodations you’re after, don’t sweat it. Mexico is home to some of the world’s most celebrated all-inclusive resorts. And I highly suggest you start your research today.

Canada

People walking in Montreal downtown  in Quebec region near the museum of Fine Arts
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If you’re nervous about going too far from home for the first time, get your feet wet in Canada first. Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal are all international traveler-friendly options. You’ll still be exploring the world beyond the U.S., but you’ll be close enough to where you started to feel very much at home in some ways.

If you venture beyond the diverse and delightful cityscape, Canada is covered in some of the most beautiful natural wonders you’ll find anywhere on earth. And as long as you aren’t going somewhere like Quebec (which is predominantly French-speaking), you shouldn’t have any trouble with language barriers.

Australia and New Zealand

person snorkeling scuba diving with life jacket vest and Lycra protection suit at the Great Barrier Reef in the tropical far north of Queensland, Australia
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When you’re going to Australia and/or New Zealand, leave many of your international traveling worries at home. For starters, you can say goodbye to concerns about language barriers, which will prove to be a big help while navigating a foreign place for the first time.

And don’t worry, the 15-hour flight will prove totally worth it once you arrive. Ask any globe trotter: there are few places more beautiful on Earth. You will never run out of wow-worthy sights and unique wildlife sightings. And you can cram a lot of worldly, nature-loving experiences into a tight time slot.

Read More: The Most Breathtaking Hikes in Australia

France

Female tourist enjoying city view on a street of Montmartre, Paris, France
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For seasoned travelers and green globe trotters, France has often been dubbed “the place to be.” It’s hard to compete with the food, the wine, the art, and the collective “je ne sais quoi” that gives all of France an alluring charm. And it’s not just easy on the eyes — it’s easy for first-time travelers to get around.

France is famous for its top-notch airports, railways, and ports. In turn, traveling from A to B is typically easy. Not to mention, what you’ll see along the way will prove unforgettable. You’ll find the glimmering Atlantic coast in the west and the rising Alps in the east. To the south, you’ll encounter the sweeping Mediterranean coast, and you’ll pass through wine country on the way.

Italy

View of Colosseum in Rome and morning sun, Italy, Europe.
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No matter where you go, Italy is a traveler’s playground. Obviously, you could go to all the most well-known, touristy areas in the land. But the path less traveled and all of its hidden gems will be just as magical.

With its globally celebrated cuisine and endlessly stunning sights, it’s hard to take a wrong turn in Italy. For those who love food, architecture, and want to dive deeply into European history, there’s no better place to be. Maybe you just want to relax on one of the many stunning beaches or eat as much pizza as possible.

With so many enchanting and lively possibilities, what you do will be entirely up to you. You never know where the Amalfi Coast’s winds might take you, after all. The zest for life around Italy is famously infectious. As new and exciting paths present themselves, you’ll be saying “when in Rome” in no time, and you’ll really mean it.

Read More: The Most Magnifica Hidden Gems in Italy

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