After our magical adventure came to end, I had a little time to reflect back on some things I learned. I'm glad that I had a chance to learn them, but I also wish that I had known these things before I left! So, I'm going to share my new found knowledge with you for your next trip.. wherever and whenever it may be!
- It’s safest not to drink the water. Not because it’s ‘bad’ but because the mineral content is different than the U.S. If someone from another country came to the U.S. and drank the water, it could make them sick. America, we do not have magical perfect water.
- Unless you’re an expert on the location, those little audio tours could be a good idea. If you can get over the fact that it looks totally dorky, you’ll learn a load of interesting information that you would have not found out otherwise.
- Use Airbnb.com a website where people rent out an entire apartment or a private room of their home. Doing this saved us hundreds of dollars and we had more amenities than a typical hotel would offer.
- Pack light, some busses and subways don’t let people on with luggage.. and.. no one wants to lug around huge suitcases for 2 weeks! We used 3 backpacks. I wore one on my belly and one on my back.. and BHW wore the biggest one.
- A data plan on your cell phone is extremely useful, but expensive. If you want a cheaper but less inclusive option; buy a map and download viber/whatsapp/skype.
- Respect your elders, no matter what country you’re in.
- Write about your adventures. The details are usually the most interesting, but the easiest to forget.
- Wear proper shoes to the airport, you never know when you’ll have to run to your gate.
- Most places you’ll visit, there will be people there that know enough English to ‘get by’.. but be polite and at least learn a few key words in their language (hello, bye, thank you, please, sorry, excuse me, etc). Don’t expect the world to cater to you because you speak English.
- If you’re staying somewhere longer than a day or two, find a market and buy groceries, even if its just snack foods and microwave meals. It will save you so much money rather than having to go out 3 times a day and every other time that you’re hungry.
- Fly with Lufthansa when at all possible, free alcohol.
- Sitting on the wing seat in an airplane may be a smoother ride, but you'll probably miss out on some incredible views.
- A smile is universal.
- Always carry currency from the country you’re in, many places in the world aren’t so keen on using plastic, and don't ever expect anyone to take your American dollars, they're just like the water.. not magical.
- Make sure to try and see landmarks in the day and then again at night, both views are spectacular in their own ways.
- People seem to emphasize the ‘DELL’ in Philadelphia. If you say it the way Americans typically say it, you’ll get a confused look for a moment.
- When you say you’re from the United States people will pause, think, and say AMERICA! OBAMA!
- Check what time landmarks/monuments/museums close it could be as early as 3PM.. plan accordingly.
- No matter where you go and how well you planned, things will go wrong; all the road signs you need will be spray painted over, you will get the stomach flu, you will get lost in the mountains surrounded by sheep. But things will also go right; you will accidentally book a villa 20 minutes from a world class beach, you will experience new cultures, and you will come away feeling like a new person!
At our wedding we had the guests vote on where they thought we should go for our honeymoon, and they voted Greece! So, 11 months later, we are finally making the journey! Turkey and Greece, here we come!