Okay, so now you know where you’re going, and you’ve started thinking about what you want to do while you’re there. This one’s for you. Rick Steves has all sorts of tips on what to actually plan for while you’re there; with everything from beds to the best sangria, we’ve got the scoop.
There are many points to thank about when deciding on your accommodations abroad. It depends with whom you’re going, what your budget is, and what kind of experience you want to have. Let’s say you’re taking your four kids to Italy. Maybe they’re young, or maybe they already have their own families started. You could stay in a normal chain hotel in the center of a city, and experience the lights, sounds and action first hand. Then again, maybe you want to rent a countryside villa with enough bedrooms for everyone, and a breathtaking view out the window you won’t get in the city. You might be on your honeymoon and want to be served and pampered, or just left alone in a secluded apartment on the river. These are all to be considered when choosing a place to stay.
Next, you should be aware of the language barriers wherever you’re going. Don’t go somewhere assuming everyone you encounter will know English. While many do, many do not and it does add something to the experience when you can communicate a little in the native language. I don’t mean you need to get Rosetta Stone and listen to tapes until your ears fall off. I just mean pick up a pocket dictionary and learn how to say things like: hi, good morning and thank you. Trust Rick Steves and me; these simple things will make the locals more appreciate of you.
Now, the best part. The food! Worry about the gym when you get home, and take the time to eat while you’re traveling. It’s part of the culture, and you’re missing out if you don’t. This doesn’t just mean make a reservation at that swanky French restaurant where Victoria Beckham frequents. I mean walk down a quieter street one evening and try that café filled with locals and yummy smelling bread. That’s really what traveling is all about, anyway. Also be sure to eat the trademark foods, there’s a reason why they’re so popular. If you’re in Italy have gelato everyday. If you’re in Paris have a bakery fresh croissant every morning.
In short, remember to use your dictionary and eat everything you can! Your taste buds will thank you.
Step 3 will be be here tomorrow!