It’s been a long 2 years and traveling again can be wonderful but challenging.
Some closing thoughts:
- Hard mattresses- ask for a topper, fold it in half to double the cush, sleep on extra pillows.
- Bring ginger candy for stomach upset. GI problems can ruin a vacation.
- Bathrooms cost, if you can find them. Always have coins available. Go when you see a bathroom.
- If you can’t find a bathroom hide behind a car or tree. Do what you need to do but scan the area first.. This is the worst part of Europe.
- With challenging people, walk away, say nothing. We have all had a difficult year or two.
- Language barriers are challenging. If only we could all speak the same language. Patience.
- On the same topic learn a few words of the country’s language. I’ve had that work both ways. In France they laughed at my eighth grade French then started speaking English when they said they didn’t know how. In Spain when using a book of common phrases the train station woman picked up the book and threw it at me. Laugh. Forgive as you may be the next one needing forgiveness.
- When help is offered, accept it if it feels right. Got lost at night in a small city during this trip and asked directions of a passing car. I hadn’t a clue what the driver said but knew to turn back. Five minutes later the woman returned and drove me to where I needed to turn in my walk. Took her assist, and all was good.
- Solo traveler in a group – I could write volumes on this theme. If a single female stay away from married couples unless both engage in conversation with you. Women get jealous and nasty if you speak to their man. Don’t. If you have to talk to him, ask permission of the wife and if he engages you be short and not sweet.
- Friends traveling together… if they invite you to join be pleasant, but remember you are the third wheel. Should they abruptly ditch you, let it roll. Remember you are there for the trip not to develop a relationship or be drawn into their issues. Brush yourself off and move on.
- If a solo traveler.. best advice … smile, journal, and stay to self… You are there for the trip.
- Tour guides are there for the tip and review. They represent the company and usually bend over backwards to help. On this tour, Leo, our guide, was 5 star. For those who aren’t a Leo read the mood and observe. Get all concerns together and ask questions in bulk, write questions and answers down. Don’t waste their time, and tip less. Only had to do this once in Sweden. They’ll get the hint.
- Been sick on the road several times. Bring a stash of over the counter meds, band aids, etc.. from home. You don’t want to waste time trying to find a pharmacy, and then there is the language barrier. I’ll never forget trying to ask for Epsom Salts in China… If you need a pharmacy they have notable signs. It’s a green cross in Italy. Most speak some English, use hand signals if they don’t.
- Phone service and internet is always a challenge, especially in mountains, and it never seems to work on the tour bus. Sent my daughter an email and it disappeared. Three hours later at the hotel the email with her answer appeared. Go figure.
And remember……..Stuff happens, go with the flow.