Traveling does not have to be a stressful experience. I am currently planning a 14-day trip with stops in Berlin, Paris, and Rome. As I visit these cities, I will also be visiting surrounding cities—Munich, Normandy, and Florence. While it may sound like a lot of work, with proper organization and these travel trips, planning your dream trip does not have to cause you anxiety and worry (otherwise, it isn’t worth it…).
I’ll never forget the first time I went to Mexico and ate local cuisine. I thought I knew what Mexican food was supposed to taste like—I’d eaten at plenty of “authentic Mexican restaurants.” Boy, was I wrong!
Make sure that you try all the local food you can get your hands on, because nothing back home will be close to the real deal. Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Worst case scenario, you eat something that tastes terrible. It is very unlikely that something you eat will make you ill.
If it seems as if the locals do not like you, it may be your habits. Other countries have their respective habits, and if you are having trouble interacting with locals, it may be because of customs you are unfamiliar with. You would be surprised; something as small as your body language could be offending the locals. One of my best tips is to make eye contact and smile as you walk by. Furthermore, try saying “hello” in the local language. This will appreciated and go a long ways to opening up channels of communication.
Hunt Down Local
Okay, I don’t mean to literally hunt down the locals, but seek advice and recommendations from those that know the area you’re visiting very well. At the very least, your hotel should have a concierge that can direct you to great restaurants and places of interest that are not tourist traps.
While your first reaction will be to talk to other tourist, breaking out of your comfort zone and getting comfortable will locals is almost guaranteed to make your trip better and more memorable. You never know, you may fall in love with and marry the girl you stopped and asked for directions—stranger things have happened.
Don’t Plan Too Much
While you want to ensure that you see all the most important culturally-enriching sites to see in whatever city you visit, you do want to make sure and leave some time open. Planning every hour of every day won’t give you the chance to make an impulsive decision or to appreciate the city for what it is—the lifestyles, the families, and the scenery.
We have covered the part where you don’t plan too much; however, don’t forgo all planning. The most important plans one can make deal with finances. Make sure you’ve got some cash stashed away in case you lose your wallet and credit cards.
Additionally, I’ve found that travel insurance for your vacation is a must. It’s a fraction of a percent of the trip’s cost, and it covers emergency medical insurance, trip cancellation, and trip interruption and delays.
Wherever you go, keep a positive outlook, respect cultures and traditions of the places you visit, and step out of your comfort zone.