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Travel Tips from Viking River Cruises

What to Expect From Your First International Vacation

International travel is very exciting, extremely educational and fulfills a sense of adventure in most travelers. Other countries differ greatly from the United States, not just in the language and food, but in many other respects as well. While some travelers are brave enough to strap on a backpack and play their plans by ear, others are more likely to take a European cruise or bus tour the first time they venture across international borders. Regardless of what type of trip you plan, there are a few things you can do to make sure you have a great vacation.

Language
It’s extremely helpful to familiarize yourself with the language and, while some people will speak your native language, it’s unrealistic to expect it. You don’t need to take a complete language course, but it is helpful to be able to communicate with the locals as well as to be able to read menus and street signs. There is useful information at your local library or on the internet to help you learn basic phrases and greetings and how to order food and ask for help. You may also want to carry a pocket dictionary or electronic translator to help you communicate if you do not know the word or phrase you need.

Time and Weather
It is important to know the time difference in country you are visiting. This will help you plan your flights so you can depart and arrive at the best possible times; knowing the time difference will also help you prepare for dealing with jet lag. It is also very helpful to study the weather for the country you plan to visit so you can pack correctly. Nothing spoils a trip faster than not having the proper clothing for the climate.

Food
Whenever you travel abroad, you are introduced to bacteria and foods that your system has never processed before so it’s wise to choose restaurants and foods carefully. Understanding the traditional foods is even more important if you have food allergies or sensitivities since knowing the ingredients in the dishes allows you to be prepared with any medications you might need.

Money
Knowing the currency and exchange rate in your host country is very important. Some places will accept the U.S. dollar but many will not. Understanding the currency as well as understanding the exchange rate in relation to U.S. dollars will help keep you from being cheated by natives who prey on uneducated tourists. Most of the time, using credit cards is the best option when making purchases in another country. You don’t have to worry about the exchange rate since the credit card company does the currency conversion for you and you can take advantage of their lower exchange rates. Traveling internationally for the first time is a fascinating yet potentially anxiety provoking experience but, if you follow these steps to prepare for your trip, you will ensure that your journey is a pleasant one.

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