Summer is the best time for travel, and we know that many of you have exciting plans for the next few months that probably include visiting some exotic (or maybe not so exotic) foreign countries. Whether your trip is for pleasure, service, or anything in between, here’s how to maximize your summer abroad!
1. Try new foods.While you may be tempted to stick to the foods you know, oftentimes the best dishes abroad are the ones you may not even be able to pronounce! If you’re nervous about ordering something you won’t like, order a couple dishes to share with a few friends, that way you’ll get a little taste of everything. Tip: ask the locals for the best places to eat or what some of their favorite dishes are, and try to avoid eating in hotel restaurants. Plus, that foreign cutie at the table next to you will definitely notice you trying out his culture’s cuisine!
2. Interact with the locals.Plain and simple, no guidebooks can give you the low-down on what it’s actually like in the place you’re visiting, so find some friendly locals and start up a conversation – you might be surprised at what you learn! From tips on best places to eat, hidden gems to visit, or how to travel to a nearby city, no one can help you like a native can.
3. Learn the language.Even if you don’t think you’ll need to use them, take some time before you leave to learn basic words or phrases in the native language. You don’t need to be fluent, but you’ll be thankful when you can find a cup of coffee after a long day of travel! Showing that you took the time to learn some of the language will score you bonus points with the locals, and you’ll be confident enough to strike up a conversation with the hottie who was eyeing you at the café!
4. Don’t be a tourist.We highly recommend finding out the social norms of the country you’re visiting; you might be surprised by some of the differences! Don’t freak out if the table next to is staring and pointing or if people blow past you without saying “excuse me” - they’re not being rude, it’s just what they’re used to. Make an obvious effort to keep up with the social customs; people will really respect you for it and you’ll have a much more genuine experience.
5. Carpe diem.This one’s obvious: live it up! The more you put into your experience, the more you’ll get out of it, so step out of your comfort zone and try as many new things as you can. If something doesn’t go as expected, don’t let it ruin your trip, because who knows the next time you’ll be strutting the streets of Paris or trekking through a South American rainforest. So be safe, have fun, and remember: YOLO!