What is the best country to visit for the first time abroad?
Americans new to traveling to foreign countries should consider a few factors before making plans to embark across the pond. Countries that are easy to visit will make a first journey run smoothly even if a novice traveler. Particular considerations for solo tourists and female travels to consider are safety concerns.
For an easy first-time trip overseas, consider:
- What language is being spoken.
- The ease of getting around the destination.
- The crime rate and health risks.
Obviously, speaking the same language as the locals can help you navigate through a new country. Being able to read signs and menus prior to sitting down at a restaurant can put your mind at ease if you’re a picky eater. Luckily, if you speak English, then you have quite the number of countries that predominately speak the language. Places where English is spoken or where most locals know the language include the following:
- England (United Kingdom)
- New Zealand
- The Bahamas
For more countries that speak English, click here.
While Irish is the official language of Ireland, English is predominantly spoken there by locals. If you take public transportation such as the Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail), then you will certainly hear some of the official language. English notifications follow the Gaelic language and marquee signs above doorways detail the next stop including the distance (in metric kilometers). This can make it easier for you to prepare to leave the train.
How do I get around in Ireland?
Speaking of Iarnród Éireann, public transportation, as well as services from third-party providers, are value parts of any traveler’s trip. However, many cities in Ireland are walkable. You may not even have to worry about fares and tickets when all you need are a pair of good sneakers.
Depending on the type of experience you are looking for and which area of the Emerald Isle you are visiting, you can use many of the same services state-site like:
In addition, you may be able to schedule time on a horse or rickshaw.
Trains and buses throughout Ireland can help you navigate through cities and the country alike. There are several railway companies so if you plan to go from one end of the country to the other, then you may have to book with multiple providers.
Taxis are available in each major location. Uber is also available in Dublin and Belfast as well as other taxi services that are app-based. Uber is not available in Londonderry, Galway, or Cork.
Transportation in Dublin includes bus services by the city and hop-on-hop-off companies. Many touring companies offer day trips to the north and west of the island to see sights such as the Giant’s Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher, and Blarney Castle. Finding accommodations in the country’s capital and taking excursions to outward is a simple solution for a first-time traveler. However, by taking the opportunity to stay in each major area, you can appreciate more of what the country has to offer in beauty, culture, and hospitality.
You can also rent a car and drive on the left side of the road. When it comes to renting a car in Ireland, there are a lot of horror stories. Trust me when I say that it is better to pay 15 euros a day extra to opt for the higher insurance. The rental company will also put a hold on your credit card from around 250 euros. Don’t panic, it will be refunded back to you.
Is Ireland a safe place to visit?
I spent a collective three weeks in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and not only did I feel completely safe in the areas of Belfast, Londonderry, Galway, Cork, and Dublin but I though Ireland had the friendliest locals I’ve ever encountered.
The locals in each area were very pleasant and warm. They really made me feel welcomed. Especially as a solo female travel, feeling comfortable and safe while abroad are important factors to enjoying this experience.