In any case, even though it's STILL COLD in Chicago, summer will hopefully be here before we know it. And with that comes summer vacations! In case anyone is headed anywhere outside of the U.S. this summer, I wanted to pass along some of my best tips. Trust me, they will make life abroad less stressful.
Note: the below pictures don't have anything to do with the tip. :)
Follow customs. It goes without saying that things are different in every part of the world. For example, in Europe, tipping isn't customary. Doesn't mean it's not appreciated, but also doesn't mean you have to do it. Just do some research and pay attention before you leave so you know what you're getting into.
Walking shoes. People in other countries aren't as lazy as we are here in the U.S. They walk EVERYWHERE. And you probably will too. Even if you don't, when you're waiting in line for tourist attractions and then you get in to the tourist attractions, you'll walk during that time, so do yourself a favor: leave the wedges at home.
Bring cash. They have ATMs abroad, but you get charged up the wazoo in fees. And, not all places we've traveled to accept credit cards, so it's best to always have some on hand.
Learn key phrases. If you don't know a language, don't pretend you do. For example, with Spanish, don't try to speak it by adding an 'o' on the end of a word. For example, don't say "Where is the bathroom-o?" and think you're being funny. It's insulting.
Talk to locals. Some of the best things we did on our trips to Europe were recommendations from locals. For example, one night in Granada, we ended up at this tapas bar that a husband/wife owned. The husband was English and his wife was from Lisbon. We were headed to Lisbon later in the trip and we got fantastic recommendations from them as a result.
Enjoy your summer traveling!