Anne Marie’s Traveling Tips
Whether you’re traveling to California’s Bay Area or Spain’s Basque Country, some things never change. I’ve traveled the world and, though my journeys, have learned some valuable lessons. Be more than just a tourist by following these traveling tips.
1. The heart of any country’s culture is in its language. If you’re going to be visiting a foreign country, take the time to learn the language. You don’t need to be fluent, but learn the basics. It’s a gesture of respect that will go a long way.
2. Use the language! It can be intimidating to put your knowledge to practice, but it will be worth it. Your accent and grammar don’t need to be perfect – Most people will know what you mean, and will appreciate your attempt.
3. Photography is a part of travel, and those photos are a great way to keep your memories alive. However, not everyone wants to be photographed. Taking a picture of someone without their permission can be incredibly disrespectful. If you admire them enough to take a picture, respect them enough to ask permission – You’ll find that almost everyone will say yes.
4. Do your homework. It’s amazing just how greatly different cultures vary from one another. What may be a greeting in one culture will be a sign of great disrespect in another. Take the famous “Thumbs Up” hand gesture. In America, it is a way of expressing approval. In Africa, that same sign will land you a handful of dirty looks and a black eye. Learn about the culture you’re visiting; it will save you a lot of trouble.
5. In America, shorts, t-shirts and sandals are a cultural norm – even in the winter. In the Middle East and parts of Asia women must be dressed n concealing clothing, regardless of the weather. Your physical appearance will be the first impression you make, so make sure to wear culture-appropriate clothing. When visiting San Francisco, be aware that the weather changes rapidly. Please dress in layers, wear very comfortable shoes, bring a scarf, sunscreen and an umbrella. It may rain and then be sunny 10 minuets later.
6. Immerse yourself in the culture. You may find that you recognize some of the international restaurants and stores around you, but try to branch out into unfamiliar territory. To truly experience a city ask a local where her/his favorite places are and find the local hot spots. You may not recognize any of the food on the menu, but that’s part of the adventure!
7. When you travel know that you are an ambassador for your own country. Represent your home well. If you’ve ever gone camping, you’re probably familiar with the concept of leaving the campsite better then how you found it. The same applies to travel – leave any country better than when you arrived whether that means bing good to the environment, sharing smiles and stories with strangers or tipping well.
8. I hope this goes without saying, but know where your passport and local currency are at all times! If you lose them, you could be in big trouble. Always have them on you, and keep them somewhere safe. Under-shirt carriers are better than pockets for protection from pick-pocketers. It’s also smart to have a paper copy of your passport electronically, just in case. When traveling somewhere questionable, I personally, I wear two sets of socks and keep local currency tucked in between my two sets of socks. You won’t have to do this in San Francisco.
9. Let others know when you’re traveling, and where you’re traveling. The more accurate your itinerary; the better. Emergencies happen and the more precautions you take, the more prepared you will be to face them head on.
10. The internet has revolutionized travel – The fact that you’re reading this is proof of that. Once you’re home, take the time to review the locations that stood out to you. If you received excellent food and service at a particular restaurant, find them on Yelp or TripAdvisor and let them know what a great job they did. It’ll encourage them to keep up the good work, and encourage travelers to check them out.