Most Americans have traveled at least a few times in their life, some have traveled quite extensively. Most Americans have traveled across the United States, but very few have ventured outside of US Soil. For those few who have traveled to foreign lands, whether it be for work, for vacation, or for military purposes, there is one thing we all have in common: we all experienced a first time doing it. We all experienced culture shock on our initial step off the airplane and into the real world of whatever country we were visiting.
I have been to a few countries, the first country I visited was Spain. Although Spain is a beautiful country with very friendly people, great food, and a rich culture, I experienced pretty serious culture shock. It was uncomfortable for my first few days. I didn’t know the Spanish language very well, the electric outlets are completely different, I jumped 8 time zones forward in time, so I experienced severe jet lag, the customs were different, and I felt like the awkward foreigner that I often saw in the United States.
So, what would I recommend as the best, first foreign country to visit? If you are thinking England, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand, then sorry, I do not recommend those countries as the first foreign country to visit for first-time foreign travelers.
So, in my opinion, what is the best, first foreign country to visit? Drumroll………………………MEXICO! Yes, your eyes are not crossed. If you want to take your first trip out of the country, I recommend Mexico.
Start out at a beach resort such as Cancun, Cabo, or Puerto Vallarta. Spanish is the first language for natives of Mexico as we all know, but in the resort areas, almost every Mexican speaks fluent English. The hotels require it for employment. What more? You do not have to deal with jet lag in Mexico. Cancun, the furthest east tourist city is in the Eastern Time zone, the same as New York and Miami. So unless you are visiting from Alaska or Hawaii, jet-leg is non-existent. Immigration is a breeze at the airport, probably one of the easiest in the world. The resort areas of Mexico are modernly built, they use the same 120V electric outlets we have in the USA. The food there is amazing, so much more whole, natural, and better tasting than food here. The cultural experience is out of this world. For example, if you are staying in Cancun you can visit Mayan pyramids and Mayan villages such as Chichen Itza or Cobá. Also, Mexico is very inexpensive, in fact many hotels offer all inclusive meals and drinks (including alcoholic drinks) free of charge just by staying at their Hotel.
So, if you are planning your first trip out of the country, I urge you to try Mexico. You will not regret it.