Travelling is one of the most popular hobbies of many people. However, even the most experienced traveller faces a great number of difficulties and funny adventures in some places usually related to food and language.
It is true that speaking English makes it easier to communicate with locals, but we will always find people who don’t speak it and we’ll have to use maps, books and even hand signs to make them understand (which by the way is not the best option but could be one of the most creative ways of express what we need). Nevertheless, we must not forget that even body language is different in many countries; a long time ago during a trip to France, I tried to order a burger in English and Spanish but none of them worked and even when I pointed exactly the one I wanted, I got French fries! They were really satisfied and happy because they had been able to understand me so I just smiled, paid and left.
Before any trip we should learn some basic words from the country or city we’ll visit because even if they speak the same language, some words usage might be different. Among the basic words we should learn are:
– Sleep and hotel.
– Bus or train (depending on which is the most popular).
– Entrance and exit.
– Numbers from 1 to 10 at least.
– Right and left.
– Water, bread and chocolate because we can find them in any part of the world.
– Why, how, when, what, where and how much.
We will not be able to hide our tourist look, especially if we have our camera hanging from our neck or hands, but even if we have no idea of how to structure questions, locals might understand what we are looking for because they are used to seeing and talking with tourists. We can also write down a list with common questions such as: What time is it? How much is it? Do you speak English? etc. There are some guides that already include phrases like these but we can use some online translators and listen to the pronunciation or show local people our list and point at the question we want to ask.
Once I was close to having an accident with a bus because I didn’t pay attention to traffic rules, we should always observe how people and cars move on the streets and just to avoid any trouble we can cross the streets at the same time as locals so we don’t get confused or scared.
Food problems are a bit complicated due to the reason that every country has its own traditional cooking. I have heard that Indian and Mexican dishes are difficult to digest and usually people get stomach “troubles” after trying them. It doesn’t mean that their taste is horrible, but some ingredients are too much for our stomach. I strongly recommend carrying medicine with us all the time to prevent stomach aches and enjoy our trip.
There are cities all over the world that are safe but we should keep our bags in the front while we are travelling by bus or underground, this way we protect our personal stuff and passport (which we should carry with us all the time).
We all have experienced getting lost and it’s always a good idea to have the underground map to identify and mark the tourist places and also the station closest to our hotel because we will have the chance to go back if we don’t know where we are.
Tourists also deal with weather because it can spoil the trip and even mess with our mood. It’s important to do some previous research to know how the weather will be during our trip and mostly because it will give us a better idea of what we should pack and to be sure if the culture will be ok with the clothes we’ll be wearing. We must not forget that we are just visitors and therefore we should show some respect for the local culture and beliefs.
Travelling is without any doubt amazing but going back home is just as good, sometimes it makes us realise how wonderful our own countries and traditions are. What do you think? Have you ever discovered something new about your country after your trips? Do you still think the same about your country?