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Some Answers for First-Time International Travelers: Part 2

February 22, 2013 at 6:55 PM | by | ()

A few days ago we let you in on the little secret that we're currently traveling with someone who has never really traveled before. As in, she'd never left three US states and now she's in Turkey. We thought teaching her how to pack a carryon only for a week abroad would be the extent of our tutorship, but it's been so much more.

As we're down to our last 48 hours away, we're dealing with an amateur traveler's whining about having to leave and go home. This is inevitable, but frequent travelers are aces at dealing with it; there's a positive attitude of "well, I'll be back someday for sure," whether or not you know if that's true. In any case, the rest of the world is waiting.

While our friend comes to grips with returning to the USA, we're jotting down more answers given in response to her innocent questions. Check 'em out:

· We're not going to dinner at 6pm. No way. I don't care about jet lag. There's a such thing as an aperitif hour and then real dining doesn't happen until 9pm at the earliest in many countries.

· Simplify your questions. If you know someone doesn't have the best grasp of English and you're asking a question in English, don't use segues or long explanations. Just ask the question. Example: "And while I'm thinking of it, I had meant to ask you for your recommendation on the best dessert." (WRONG) "What is the best dessert?" (RIGHT).

In a market:

· Sometimes you have to be rude. Drop the Midwest manners and resist the urge to say "no, thank you" at touts. Don't say anything at all in order to pass without them hounding you.

· That vendor said "you dropped something" in order to gauge your reaction. If you look down, he knows you speak English and he has your attention, so he can tout at you in English. It's best to stifle the desire to respond and just continue walking.

· Keep walking. The first vendors in a market are often the priciest or least willing to bargain and most aimed at tourists easily attracted by shiny things.

· When bargaining, only enter into real negotiations if you're at least somewhat serious about buying. Your first offer should be half or lower than half his first offer. You'll eventually meet somewhere in the middle and he'll act like you bargained so well that he's losing money. Yeah, right. He's still making money, but now he's just making you feel good about yourself and maybe you'll throw in a few more purchases.

Hotel specific:

· Press "0" in the elevator to reach ground floor. In most other countries, "1" is what Americans would consider the second floor.

· The lights won't turn on in the hotel room until your room key is placed in a slot by the door. This is an energy-saving measure more US hotels should totally consider.

· Empty bottles and cans don't go in the trash because then housekeeping will have to root through it all to recycle. Line up empties on the floor near the trash; trash handling is different all over, but it's best to assume they separate.

· If it's not advised to drink tap water and bottled water has been provided, it should also be used for the coffee & tea makers.

Well, our friend is still alive and hopefully wiser and ready to tackle another foreign destination. Got any first-time international traveler tips to add? Share them for all in the comments!

[Photo: bryansblog]

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