When leaving the country a lot of people don’t usually bother to learn the language of the country they are about to visit. While it is true that you can get by pretty much anywhere just by speaking English, it is rude and a little presumptuous to not at least try. You don’t have to become fully fluent in any language before you visit their country, but if you just learn a few key phrases then you can at least appear to be trying and that will work wonders for you.
If you’re still not convinced, here are some great reasons why learning a little bit of a language can go a long way when you’re traveling to a foreign country.
YOU’LL MEET THE LOCALS
It is extremely hard to really meet someone if you don’t speak their language. Unless you’re an award-winning charades player, speaking the same language is the only way to connect with a stranger. Some locals will, of course, speak English, but then you’re limiting yourself to who you can meet and who you can hang out with based on who is able to communicate with you. When you speak the language, you will be able to communicate with anyone and you will be able to get a lot further than you would without the language.
Human connection is what makes life special, so if you enlarge the likelihood of your human connections then not only will your trip be more memorable, but you open up the opportunity for some unique and amazing experiences. Meeting locals is a must when you travel.
YOU MIGHT FALL IN LOVE
When you speak the native language, you open up the world of romance. Meeting a special someone is always fantastic when traveling abroad, or honestly, even when you’re at home. Don’t miss the once in a lifetime opportunity to experience foreign romance by not knowing a few key phrases in a different language.
If you can string together a few compliments then maybe cupid will strike and you’ll be sucking face in no-time. This obviously isn’t a guarantee for romance, but if you don’t speak any of the native languages then it’s almost a guarantee for no romance. So why not help give yourself a chance?
THE FOOD IS BETTER
The food is better because you actually know what is in it. Instead of crossing your fingers every time you order a dish and hoping you didn’t just order pig anus stew, learn a little of the language and order with confidence. When you don’t know what you’re saying, you will probably just order the same dishes you know and play it very safe at restaurants.
While you can still definitely get some great food this way, you will not be able to branch out and try something you’ve never tried before which is very limiting. My favorite foods have been dishes I’ve never heard of before and then once I tried them I was sent into culinary bliss. Let your palate explore the area in which you travel by learning a bit of the language before you venture off.
The Best Backpacks For Your Next Adventure
If you’ve got an adventure coming up that requires a reliable backpack, look no further than these six great options.
One of the most important elements of any traveling experience is also the most frequently overlooked… the backpack. It’s with us at all times and typically holds our most important items. But more often than not, most travelers just grab that same raggedy old backpack they’ve had since high school.
But there are so many options out there! And certain backpacks are better for certain experiences. So read through this list and make sure you have the right backpack for your next adventure!
THE JANSPORT RIGHT PACK
It’s safe to say just about everyone has had a Jansport backpack in their life. It is the most popular backpack in the world and honestly one of the most durable. This particular model is known as the “Right Pack.” It’s very affordable, has a large main compartment, a sleeve specifically for laptops, and plenty of room leftover in the two front pockets. If you need a reliable backpack and you’re working on a budget, this is the pack for you.
THE PATAGONIA ARBOR PACK
This is a great option if you want something reliable and durable, but still don’t want to lug around something huge and heavy. This pack is water-repellent, compact, and has a significantly padded compartment for laptops.
TOPO DESIGNS KLETTERSACK
This is one of the toughest packs out there. It’s built from leather and nylon and is great for long trips on foot or camping and hiking. Thanks to the extra straps it can easily carry a rolled up blanket or heavy jacket. It also has a very cool look so you can still look hip while wearing it in the city.
CHROME URBAN EX 18 BIKE PACK
As the name suggests, this pack is ideal for the avid biker. It’s waterproof so you don’t have to worry about precious cargo getting damaged. And despite being relatively compact, you could still fit a laptop, camera, and a sweater or jacket with ease. If keeping your things safe and dry is a major concern, get this pack!
JANSPORT DRIVER 8
Surprise! The most popular backpack brand in the world is making a second appearance on this list! And this backpack is a fantastic option for a carry-on bag as it operates as both a standard backpack and a rolling suitcase. So this backpack will give you exactly what you need from airport to the top of Mount Everest and back.
OSPREY AURA AG 65
If you’ve got a backpacking trip across Europe planned after college to find yourself, this is the only pack you should be looking at. Osprey has long been one of the most trusted models for long backpacking trips, and this one is especially nice as it’s designed to fit naturally to the contours of the human body. It also includes a rain cover that can protect your all-important stuff no matter what conditions you may find yourself in.
How To Prepare For The Nightmare That Is Sitting In The Middle Seat
Try these simple tips the next time you have to endure a flight in the dreaded middle seat.
Traveling, and especially flights, are almost always stressful. Did I forget anything? Are all the appropriate batteries properly charged? Are my toiletries too big or in the wrong bag? Oh no, I’m already late, I’m going to miss my flight! These are thoughts that have gone through all of our heads.
So the last thing any of us ever want to deal with is having to sit in the dreaded middle seat on the airplane! It’s the worst. Always has been, always will be. But have no fear! There are still a lot of things you can do to prep for your flight so your time in the middle seat won’t be the nightmare it usually is. So buckle up and take notes!
PREPARE YOUR BODY
Even if you’re some kind of maniac that doesn’t mind sitting so tightly between two strangers, you still could have an uncomfortable flight if your body isn’t right. So make sure you prepare for your flight by avoiding high-social foods, avoiding alcohol and caffeine (as best you can), and getting in some light exercise before and after the flight. Even if it’s just taking a couple laps around the terminal, it can make all the difference in making sure you’re as comfortable as possible in that middle seat.
At while you’re at, don’t forget to focus on your breathing. Slow, calm breathing can be a lifesaver in any stressful or annoying situation. More specifically, try taking in a deep breath, hold it for 5-10 seconds, then let it all out. Trust me, it’ll help.
STORE EVERYTHING IN THE OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT
Surprise, surprise… it’s gonna be cramped! You will have limited space to get comfortable in the middle seat. Hence the nightmare! That’s why you should make sure to pack light enough that all your carry-ons can fit in the overhead compartments. Having to stuff at your feet or hold one in your lap will only amplify your discomfort. All you really need is your phone/tablet, headphones, a book, and what we’re about to cover in the next paragraph.
BRING WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO TO HELP YOU FALL ASLEEP
This is key. One of the easiest ways to overcome the discomfort of sitting in the middle seat is just to sleep through as much of the flight as you can! There are a lot of products out there that can help you, too. Noise-canceling headphones, earplugs, and of course a neck pillow (make sure you find the perfect one for you!). I know it sounds crazy… but sleeping can actually help you avoid the nightmare!
GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS!
OK, I know this is a stretch. The last thing a lot of us want to do is force a conversation with a stranger. And most of us don’t want a stranger to force a conversation with us! But sometimes, if approached properly, a little polite conversation can really help time… fly (sorry). So while you shouldn’t force it and should, of course, leave them alone if they’re not into it, there’s no harm in giving someone a polite smile and trying out a few icebreakers.
Tourist Traps To Avoid When Visiting New York City
New York City will always be a huge vacation destination. But with all the tourists that are there at all times, there are some areas that are definitely worth avoiding.
It doesn’t matter if you’re coming from around the world or from just a couple states away, New York City will always be a huge vacation destination. It’s widely considered the greatest city in the world and is the epitome of an international hub.
But with all the tourists that are there at all times, there are some areas in the city that are absolutely out of control. And if you talk to any real New Yorkers, they’ll tell you that they avoid these areas at all costs. So if you’re planning a trip to New York any time soon and want to skip the mayhem, stay away from these six attractions.
Little Italy is sandwiched between Chinatown and SoHo and offers three compact blocks of Italian restaurants, bakeries, and everything in between. But over the years, the area has become gentrified and many of the original Italian families that resided in the area have left, along with the eateries they first opened.
So these days many of the restaurants are cheesy knockoffs whose only goal is to take advantage of foolish tourists. If you want an authentic experience, there are plenty of other options scattered throughout the city. You just have to do a little homework.
BIKING THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE
The Brooklyn Bridge is truly a beautiful bridge. And it can be a lovely walk. But, more often than not, the bridge is so full of walking tourists, that trying to bike across it can be a nightmare. So if you want to brave the bridge on a bike of your own, you better bring a lot of patience or be prepared to yell at a lot of people to get out of your way.
FAMOUS DESSERT SHOPS
There are a lot of famous dessert shops around New York City and they’re famous for a reason. They make delicious desserts! Who doesn’t love dessert? But they have become so famous that more often than not it just isn’t worth waiting around the crowded shops for a taste of your own.
So, similar to what I said when looking for an authentic Italian experience, just do a little research and find some lesser known dessert spots that offer plenty of just-as-scrumptious goodies.
ROCKEFELLER CENTER CHRISTMAS TREE
Make no mistake, New York in Christmas time can be a very beautiful experience. And the giant tree that goes up in Rockefeller Center is no exception. It’s a wonderful tradition. But it’s so wonderful that around Christmas time, Rockefeller Center is just way too crowded with tourists taking pictures and clogging up the sidewalks. If you’re in New York in December and definitely want to take in the tree, go early. It’s usually lit up as early as 5:30 AM.
Times Square is probably the number one tourist attraction in the entire city. So, of course, it’s constantly brimming with tourists! If you can’t handle big crowds this is the last place you want to be. And the flow of people traffic is even worse thanks to all the people stopping to take pictures and various promoters and vendors screaming at you about whatever they’re trying to sell. So unless you really need to take in the massive billboards and bright lights, stay away from Times Square.
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Look, we’re not completely cynical. The Empire State Building is truly an architectural marvel and the views from the top are incredible. But sometimes the lines and the crazy prices ($37 or $65 for express passes) just aren’t worth it. Plus there are other tall buildings and hotel bars that offer incredible views as well. So before you brave the lines, just remember there are other options out there.
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