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Old 10-07-2014, 07:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
For travel in North America or Europe, I think one can manage just knowing English. But it is always good to learn basic phrases in the language of the country that one is visiting.

It is okay to travel alone if one is careful but it is preferable to have a traveling companion if at all possible.
I agree with all of this. If you are a native English speaker, learn basic phrases in the native language of the country you are visiting (greetings/thank yous, ability to ask for toilets, ATMs, know food terminology, etc.). This has been enough to get me by in every country I have visited.
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Old 10-07-2014, 09:12 AM
 
Location: SoCal
6,074 posts, read 9,538,346 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mels View Post
I agree with all of this. If you are a native English speaker, learn basic phrases in the native language of the country you are visiting (greetings/thank yous, ability to ask for toilets, ATMs, know food terminology, etc.). This has been enough to get me by in every country I have visited.
In addition to that, knowing at least a few phrases in the country's language helps get you past the "ugly American" stereotype, in that you at least cared enough to learn something of the language.
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,686 posts, read 16,115,889 times
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While cruises in the seas around Finland tend to be expensive and overrun with the old and wrinkly, one interesting way of getting around in that area is by long haul ferry- sometimes they'll even be overnight.
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
1,601 posts, read 2,472,110 times
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Just jump in and do it! I regret that I didn't travel internationally when I was in college and graduate school, although I did visit most of the US states, Mexico and Canada. It's a lot easier to do it when you're younger, and for some reason, it seems less expensive...maybe you're less set in your ways? I don't know, but I do know I regret not doing it and now having to play catch-up in my 30s-40s. I'm 45 and so far, have hit two continents other than North America, and fourteen countries. I've got a lot left to do!

As for language, if you try, it will be appreciated. I'm not bilingual although I do know enough Spanish to get by, and make an effort. It helped in Italy, too. As far as languages/places where there's really no hope in learning things quickly (ie in the Czech Republic and most recently, in the Middle East) one or two words and a laugh shows that you're making an effort -- in the CZR, I learned "thank you" (pronounced Yek-way) and they really appreciated it. In the Middle East, my phrase was "as-salaam 'alaykum" which means "Peace be upon you". If said was to you, you answer with "wa 'alaykum salaam". I also learned "marHaban" (hello; greetings). That was about all the Arabic my brain could soak in over two weeks, but it helped bridge a gap. I even used it in a Middle Eastern grocery once returning to Austin, and the shopkeeper was quite surprised and pleased!

Local gestures can also get you a long way. In the Middle East, a hand over the heart means sincerity/genuineness or to reiterate a "thank you." It's a gesture I'm going to try to incorporate into my everyday life. A thumbs-up is "okay" in France and Germany, a "cheek-screw" is good or lovely in Italian. Using those sometimes will be beneficial, too.

But the main thing, as someone earlier said, is don't overthink it and just do it. Be smart and safe, open to other people and cultures, and ready to learn new things and you'll have a blast!!!! Oh, and get your passport NOW and keep it current -- you just never know when a great deal is going to fall in your lap and you MUST go!
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:00 AM
 
1,623 posts, read 4,336,733 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatic View Post
I guess Contiki is out. Why do people party excessively party while in other countries? They are in a new place, around a bunch of new surroundings, places and activities, and they choose to party... something that can be done anywhere! Leave the parties at home and take advantage of the offerings of the country you are traveling to. Just my opinion.

It is near impossible to plan a trip to Chicago with my friends, let alone Brussels or Helsinki.
I could go alone but I feel it would be more fun and exciting with other people. Perhaps cruises are the way to go.
It's because in a lot of cities there isn't a lot of things to do after 9pm and younger folks are night owls that don't want to go to sleep at 9pm or hang out in a cheap hotel or hostel for hours. Plus, going out is fun and it is definitely a different experience.
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Old 10-07-2014, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Mt. Lebanon
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OMG dont travel by yourself. It is not safe. Even if you go to developed countries like France for example, there are still gangs, Paris has good districts and bad districts. I've seen in the news/movies etc kids your age being murdered/kidnapped and sold into prostitution etc... This is the worse that can happen.
Find a companion, study where you want to go, what you want to visit, play it safe. Or go with a group or on an organized tour.
No, you don;t need to know the language anywhere but I hate to tell you this, there are countries where they don;t like Americans. And I'm not talking about France.
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:06 PM
 
9,080 posts, read 9,517,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XRiteMA98 View Post
OMG dont travel by yourself. It is not safe. Even if you go to developed countries like France for example, there are still gangs, Paris has good districts and bad districts. I've seen in the news/movies etc kids your age being murdered/kidnapped and sold into prostitution etc... This is the worse that can happen.
Find a companion, study where you want to go, what you want to visit, play it safe. Or go with a group or on an organized tour.
No, you don;t need to know the language anywhere but I hate to tell you this, there are countries where they don;t like Americans. And I'm not talking about France.
This makes me think to myself "Have they not seen Taken?"
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:29 PM
 
14,188 posts, read 6,438,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XRiteMA98 View Post
OMG dont travel by yourself. It is not safe. Even if you go to developed countries like France for example, there are still gangs, Paris has good districts and bad districts. I've seen in the news/movies etc kids your age being murdered/kidnapped and sold into prostitution etc... This is the worse that can happen.
Find a companion, study where you want to go, what you want to visit, play it safe. Or go with a group or on an organized tour.
No, you don;t need to know the language anywhere but I hate to tell you this, there are countries where they don;t like Americans. And I'm not talking about France.
I'm going to Nicaragua by myself. I'm not worried at all. I'll let you know how my trip was when I get back.
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Canada
5,762 posts, read 4,179,208 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
For travel in North America or Europe, I think one can manage just knowing English. But it is always good to learn basic phrases in the language of the country that one is visiting.

It is okay to travel alone if one is careful but it is preferable to have a traveling companion if at all possible.
You can get an app for smart phones that will translate words or phrases, or sentences in any language. You don't have to learn any foreign language at all, but the natives will be happy to hear you at least trying to converse in their language.
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:35 PM
 
6,387 posts, read 5,433,828 times
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Are you in college? Does your school have a study abroad program?
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