Phil's advice for a first time traveller

One of my earliest memories of travel isn’t one particular place, or one particular event.

When I reminisce about my first adventures, I remember… a feeling.

I remember - excitement. Anticipation. The feeling of wonder, about where we were going to go, what we were going to see.

It was a magical moment, and it’s something that has never left me - no matter how many places I see.

It’s also something I believe everyone should experience at least once in their life.

But I understand we weren’t all blessed with the time or money growing up, to go on family holidays. And life gets busy, kids come along and we work hard for our families.

And I do realise the first travel experience can be a daunting thing.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a few tips, if you’re looking to book that first big trip away from home.

You won’t be surprised at the first one…

GROUP TRAVEL - Let us do the heady lifting

Group Tours have all the bases covered. You don’t need to stress about logistics, you’ve got other people there to experience it with - and you’ve got a helping hand for any questions.

From booking right through to the journey - our coach captains are more than just the person behind the wheel. Each and every one has a huge amount of experience.

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So if you have any issues on the journey, we will go out of our way to find a solution.

If you’re feeling nervous about your first big trip, a group tour ensures you won’t be alone and you’ve got a whole team of professionals working to make it perfect.

Go with the flow

Accept there are some things you can control - and some things you can’t.

You can have your checklist, and make sure you’ve got everything you need, everything organised.

But it does get to a point where you have to accept you’ve done everything you need to - and go with the flow.

Because things don’t always go to plan - but that’s actually a wonderful thing.

When the kids were young, we took them on a trip to Seaworld. Before we’d even got there, they were at each other in the back seat. I couldn’t tell you what they were fighting about, but Fiona and I were already grinding out teeth in frustration, one hour into the trip.

So I turned to them and said - ‘Keep fighting and we won’t go to Seaworld.’

They kept fighting.

I turned to them again and said ‘I mean it, I’m not joking. Keep it up and we won’t go.’

They kept fighting.

And - I’m a man of my word.

I followed through on the threat and we didn’t go to Seaworld. Instead we went to Longreach, a town in Central West Queensland.

We ended up doing a sensational river cruise - and as luck would have it, I was inspired. We got some great ideas and designs - and went home and bought a boat - to start our own river cruise on the Macquarie.

And so, a business venture was born of my children’s fighting.

The moral of this somewhat long winded story? If things aren’t working - adapt.

Do not panic! If an activity is cancelled because of the weather - find something else to do! Embrace changes in the plan as a way to experience something different.

Packing essentials

Here’s a hot tip - when you’re going somewhere cold, we want warm clothes - but not heavy clothes!

Whether it’s an international flight and you’re trying to keep baggage weight down, or you want more space for other items - you don’t need a huge coat.

Good thermals are a great answer to warmth that doesn’t take up too much room. Partner them with a woolen jumper and a jacket that keeps the wind away and you’ll be all set.

We also have two little mantras at Langley’s.

TTT - which means Tablets, Toilet and Teeth. Would you believe some people have left their dentures in the glass in their bathroom? And medication - obviously very important.

We also have BBB - Bags Before Breakfast. If you have your bags packed and at the coach before breakfast - we have a much better chance of getting away on time.

And don’t forget to be sun safe! A trusty hat (preferably a Langley’s cap) and suncream will ensure you don’t have to deal with nasty sunburn on your big trip.

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And while this one seems obvious, I need to say it - PASSPORT! (For international flights.)

People have, in the past, assumed a drivers licence will do as a document of identity. It has happened.

If in doubt about what documents you need - whether it’s identification or declaring foreign goods - always ask us.

There are no silly questions! We are here to help and answer any queries you might have. It’s our job.

Airport Security

This is a big one.

Trust me - you cannot slip one past these guys.

I’m talking about what you bring onto the plane - and what you bring back into the country.

The biggest tip I can give you here is - anything over 100mils needs to be in your packed luggage. It cannot be brought onto the plane as hand luggage.

Liquids, aerosols and gels

Liquid, aerosol or gel items must be in containers of 100 millilitres (volume), 100 grams (weight) or less.

Containers must fit into one transparent and re-sealable plastic bag like a snap-lock sandwich bag.

The four sides of the bag's sealed area must add up to no more than 80 centimetres (e.g. 20x20 cm or 15x25 cm).

Only one bag is allowed per passenger, with exceptions for carers who may carry the bag/s for people in their care, including children.

Containers larger than 100 millilitres or 100 grams, even if only partially-filled, containing liquids, aerosols or gels will not be allowed through the security screening point. For example, a 200 gram toothpaste tube that is half-full will not be permitted.

At the screening point all liquids, aerosols and gels in your carry-on baggage must be separately presented for screening.

These restrictions do not apply to your checked-in baggage

This is a bottle of water, sunscreen, moisturiser, perfume - anything liquid! Nothing over 100 mils. Or it will end up in the bin.


When you’re on the plane and it’s time to fill in your forms - do not hide anything! Declare everything.

We’ve had people who had an apple and banana in their bags - and didn’t even think about it being an issue - as it was ‘just a snack!’ It doesn’t matter - it needs to go in the bin or you’ll be held up at Customs.

The consequences are a seriously big fine. Or, at the very least you’ll hold up the group getting home on time.

You don’t want to be that person, do you?

Where to start

If someone came to me and said, ‘I’ve never been on a proper holiday. I’m nervous about travel but I want to take the plunge! What tour would you recommend?’

I’d say, the Theatre Tours to Sydney are a great start. It’s a short one, with lots to see, a guide on the coach - and an all round great experience.

If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous -our Norfolk Island group tour is the perfect place to dip your toes in - pun intended.

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You won’t have to navigate the international airport alone - we have a guide that helps you through the entire travel process.

They can help you fill in the declaration forms, through security - and they’re with you for the entire tour, full of local knowledge to answer any of your questions.

Plus - it’s just a really great place.

Contact us today if you’re thinking it’s time to take that holiday you most definitely deserve.

Or you can stay at home and feed your dog - your choice.

But I know what I'd rather be doing!