Mike and I are getting so excited because we have finally decided to take another big trip, just the two of us. This time we are striking out with Prague as our destination.
Some of you may know that I actually studied abroad in Prague 4 years ago during my last summer in college. So why does the title of this post talk about traveling somewhere new? Well because planning this trip has made me think a lot about the first time I went to Prague and how utterly terrifying it was to be traveling alone for the first time. Of course I wasn’t alone once I got there, but I flew there alone, met people I hadn’t known previously, was immersed in a culture that I knew nothing about, and with little knowledge of the language and what we should expect we were basically told to fend for ourselves.
To some people this concept may sound terrifying, and it sort of was to an extent. But traveling somewhere new doesn’t have to be scary.
Here are some tips that, looking back, probably would’ve helped calm my nerves about traveling somewhere new.
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Learn Some of the Language
Unfortunately, second languages aren’t as commonly taught in the U.S. as I feel like they should be. I took both French and Spanish and I’ll be the first to admit that I know little else other than counting to ten in both languages. If you don’t know the local language of wherever your are planning to travel, I encourage you to download an app like Duolingo and start practicing with your best accent. Even learning to say things like “Where is the train station?” or “We are looking for -insert tourist attraction-.” can go along way. You’ll feel more confident and ready to take on whatever comes your way while traveling. We actually lucked out because Duolingo is adding Czech at the end of this month, so we’ll have 12 days to learn all that we can before we go.
Download the Right Apps
If you like to travel to other countries, you absolutely need to download the Translate app by Google. Just by downloading a language to this app and using the camera of your phone, you can translate any written language. Just point your camera at a sign, menu, you name it and watch it translate to your own language. I SO wish we had this when I first went to Prague. And if you like to adventure outside the tourist spots like I do, this is a must, since a lot of times the further you venture the less likely it is that the locals speak your language.
Book Ahead of Time
It’s a huge weight off to already have train fare and hotels taken care of before you get to your new destination. Sometimes these types of accommodations are tucked a little out of the way so it’s best to know all available map routes and a form of transportation already lined up. Sometimes service providers don’t speak your language, as I found with Taxi drivers in Prague. If this is the case, talk with your hotel or host beforehand and have them line up accommodations for you. I already feel so much more at ease that Mike and I have booked our lodgings on AirBnb and have reserved a taxi to meet us at the airport so that we don’t fumble around looking like lost tourists.
Become Familiar with Dietary Customs
Depending on where you travel to, cultural expectations when it comes to eating may be different than what you are used to. I had a couple of friends that traveled to Japan where different courses are meant to be eaten in specific ways. This took a little bit of getting used to but they also thoroughly enjoyed learning these customs. Do some research about the typical cuisine and if you are a picky eater or have dietary restrictions (allergies, vegetarian, etc.) go ahead and find common meals that you know you can eat and learn how to order them. Keep in mind different restaurants will have their own take on the food, as they do everywhere, so keep an open mind and use this as an opportunity to learn about this new culture.
Take Precautions in Case of Emergencies
One of the scariest things about traveling to a new place is the thought that some emergency may arise and there is a cultural barrier to deal with. Locate hospitals and other healthcare facilities before you go and know the best and fastest way to get to them from where you are staying. Packing all prescriptions is a must and it may be a good idea to stop by a grocery store or pharmacy when you land and buy a few over the counter medications in case anyone gets sick on the trip. Always keep passports somewhere safe, but in the event that yours gets stolen, know the best way to contact the authorities and know where the closest embassy for your country is located. On my trip to Prague we were encouraged to keep a photocopy of our passport in a different location than the original, just to have the documentation in case it was stolen. As always, it’s better to over prepare.
While this is Mike’s first time to Prague, I’m so excited to be going back and sharing it with him this time. Since we’ve also been to Scotland together, which I had also previously gone to with family, he jokingly has said that our next trip will have to be somewhere I haven’t been before. I say, let’s do it!
Makeup Bag: Clinique // similar
Shoes: H&M // similar
Blouse: H&M // similar
Jeans: Urban Outfitters