I like to think ignorance is bliss at times while traveling. It’s nice to stumble upon things like unique cafes or the occasional dive bar, but whats not bliss is running through a train station, knowing your about to miss your train, and having absolutely NO IDEA where that train departs! There are somethings that are essential to learn before traveling to another country and based on my experiences the top three would be means of transportation, language and culture, and weather.
Upon arrival, do some research on local transportation. When arriving in Paris, my aunt and I caught on to local transportation pretty fast. We walked to the information desk where they instructed us to get on the metro, located within the airport. This was the easiest and fastest way to travel through Paris. When we arrived in Amsterdam, the transportation was NOTHING like Paris. They used trams as public transportation which would have been fine, had we done some research before hand instead of wasting time trying to figure out how we were supposed to get to our hotel. Wandering around is great and all but not while trying to roll a luggage across cobblestone… so miserable.
2. Language and Culture
Along with transportation, language and culture is something you don’t want to be ignorant about. You don’t have to be fluent in the language, a few simple words and phrases will do. Learning the tip system in that country is also important. You don’t want to over tip, but you don’t want to offend anyone by under tipping either.
It’s so simple to google the weather of the destination you’re traveling to and it’s just as easy to forget and think the weather is going to be similar to weather at home. When I traveled to Europe last year, I completely forgot and packed a jean jacket when I needed a winter coat at times. Luckily there are clothing stores where you could buy a jacket if you needed one, but why would you want to buy a jacket when you have a 20 at home? Why would you have to spend money on a jacket you don’t need when you could spend that money on memories to be made.
You live and you learn. Anyone who travels knows that no matter how much research you do you will never be fully prepared to take on a new country/city. With that being said, take those fails and create memories with them. One of the best memories I have is walking in circles around Amsterdam in the freezing rain trying to find a specific tram. Some of the best memories are unplanned for and unexpected. Fill free to comment with any stories of your own and follow for tips and stories of my travels!