Thursday, September 27, 2012

Are You Blending In?

When traveling to Europe you don’t want to stick out as “an American” … or at least I don’t. But it is kind of difficult because everything from our clothes to our hair style and mannerisms can send up that we’re not from here flag. Here are some helpful tips to traveling in Europe. You can find the original article here.

1. Hotel key edict – Many places in Europe are big on conserving electricity and being energy efficient. That being said many hotels require you to insert your key into a slot near the door to your room to turn the lights and TV on. That way when you leave the room everything is off…and you won’t lose your key in your room. I saw this when I stayed in Budapest.

2. Tipping rules – Always research the tipping rules in the country you are visiting. Some countries don’t require you to tip at all and in others over tipping can make you look na├»ve (and then they will think that you came to their country and didn’t even research their customs). Also, make sure to carry the local currency for tipping too, if you are out and you need to tip you can tip using the American dollar but just make sure to apologize (since they will now have to convert the dollar to their currency).

3. Currency – Make sure you have called your credit cards and banks telling them where and when you will be traveling. You also need to have plenty of the local currency (you can get them from any bank in the US) on you for souvenir shops and local restaurants. Any currency converter/hotel is going to charge you for converting the money.

4. Bedding – In Europe it is very common to take two twin beds to make a king. You can call down to the front desk and ask to see if they have a larger bed but they most likely will not…so you'll have to deal with that seem down the middle of your "king".

5. Hello/Goodbye – Its always best practice to learn the basic, "Good day", "Good evening", "Thank you" in the language of the country that you are visiting. I think that this is showing that you are putting an effort into learning their customs, language and culture and they would be more inclined to help you.

6. Do you need a bath? – Maybe this is why bathrooms are so small in Europe and when watching House Hunters International you don’t see tubs. In America most people bathe everyday and some even indulge (or waste) and take 20-30 minute showers. In a large amount of the world bathing is a practical necessity and not a luxury.

So…in the end, if you want a king size bed and luxurious bathroom you might as well just stay in the US and head to Vegas.

Happy Travels!
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