Prague Hotels Articles

June 1, 2010

Important tips to remember when traveling

If you’re going to be traveling overseas, there are a few things that are worth mentioning before you make the trip. The fact of the matter is that there are some significant differences between “here” and “there” that take some getting used to, and that require a bit of contemplation.

I have a few simple considerations for Americans traveling abroad.

1. Language

Contrary to popular American belief, every single person in the world does not speak fluent English. While it’s true that many people have learned at least a few phrases, understand that English comprehension is not automatic. Learn at least a few basic phrases of the language that you will be immersed in. It says a lot for a person that is willing to make an attempt to understand the local people. And, given the somewhat less-than-desirable reputation Americans often have today, it would behoove you to be the exception to the rule. If for no other reason, it will make it easier on you, the traveler. And don’t you want to make things easier for yourself?

Don’t underestimate the power of a language phrasebook. While some of them are admittedly questionable or impractical, the basics are usually pretty straightforward. If you’re concerned about “looking like a tourist”, don’t worry. Chances are they’ve already spotted you a mile away. The only time I can remember being mistaken for a local was while shopping on my own in downtown Prague. Of course, this worked only because I was wearing somewhat inconspicuous clothing and wasn’t talking. However, as soon as we got past the opening exchanges, I had to inform the store clerk that I was not, alas, a native and spoke only a little bit of esky.

Just go with it, and do the best you can.

2. Tissues

Before I left for a two week stay in France, I was told to load up on tissues.


Evidently, some bathrooms do not provide toilet paper to their customers. And if you end up in a stall without any tissues on hand…well, as Ned Flanders would say, you’d be in one dilly of a pickle. Of course, I thought this was ludicrous: how could something as basic as toilet paper have a BYO policy attached? In any case, I usually end up requiring tissues for their more traditional use, so I packed some anyway.

Well, color me surprised, but wouldn’t you know that one of the public restrooms in Toulouse didn’t have toilet paper on hand. I’ve never been so grateful for a pack of Kleenex.

Another side note on restrooms: they are not always equipped with

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