Experience the ... Experience!
For most players, partying with others starts around level 10. While there can certainly be benefits to getting together with one or two friends early on, most players choose to solo. Should you decide to partner up with a couple of pals, this info is still good. Just keep in mind that the monster progression will move a bit faster, while your overall experience take will be reduced. Of course, you'll also have to split your items with your partners.
While the recommendations here aren't ironclad, our picks should maximize effort and reward. If you decide to attack anything else, be sure to "Check" it first to make sure it's an Even Match or below. (Remember that from yesterday?)
Gustaberg region, Bastok
The barren land of Gustaberg is arguably the best of the three starting areas to begin leveling. It has the wimpiest monsters and a better selection of items.
Outside the gates of Bastok, you're going to find hornets. Lots and lots of Huge Hornets. Once you've made sure you have Signet, set your sights on a career as an exterminator. Tackle the occasional Ding Bat when night rolls around. Bees drop Wind Crystals, which are in high demand around the world. If you wind up with any Insect Wings, do yourself a favor and drop them, because they'll just take up space that could be filled by more profitable items.
While Huge Hornets will earn you experience points up until Level 7 and should still be slaughtered on sight, the reward you get from them soon won't be what it once was. As such, start targeting Vultures - the ugly pinkish birds you see flapping around. Vultures drop valuable Fire Crystals, a hot commodity in any nation, as well as Bird Feathers, which sell for a lot more than you'd expect.
Once you reach Level 8, head to South Gustaberg and hang around the area on the map marked "The Fumaroles." Along the way, you're likely to see a number of the Turtle-like Quadav, which may attack as you walk by, so be careful.
In the Fumaroles, you'll find Maneating Hornets, a stronger version of the Huge Hornets you slaughtered before. Watch out for Goblins, too. While you might be able to take them, they'll still attack on sight and can put up quite a fight. Maneating Hornets will cough up Wind Crystals, but they also drop valuable Beehive Chips, a quick-selling staple of Alchemy you'll want to stockpile. Maneating Hornets are worth experience points up to level 14.