Had an incredible time on my first European vacation. There were just a few little things I wanted to highlight for people that maybe are getting ready to travel or haven’t yet. These are just my thoughts and don’t always mean that they are “have to’s.”

Plan, Plan, Plan

I got to travel with experienced travelers so navigating foreign cities was pretty easy. However I could see how inexperience could lead to trouble. Map your routes, plan your money and transit (some cities are easier to navigate than other; example: Budapest was the easiest of all the places we visited).

Talk to the Locals

Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions. I’m not saying to stop people in the streets but hotel concierge, servers at restaurants and other service people are all happy to help. Just like here, locals always know the best places. And almost every person we encountered spoke fantastic English and if they don’t you get in a fun game of charades. Respect the locals. Don’t be those loud dumb ass Americans. (I worry that I did that…one night…lol)

Take Pictures

I’ve never been a real picture heavy traveler but this one was different. I really wanted to document my trip for later years. It could really be a once in a life time trip, even though we will be going back;-) I think I took 1000 pictures.

Stop being afraid to Travel

Americans feel very safe staying at home. The world is large and believe it or not we are welcomed in most of it. There is so much history and beauty out there, I don’t understand how you could just watch it through your tv. Get a passport, buy a ticket, take some cash and GO!!!! And don’t use your kids as an excuse, they need to see the world too. The way you look at life and the world may get altered a little. Maybe that’s why you don’t travel? I love seeing post about being envious, don’t be… Don’t regret not going. I wish I would have started this many years ago.

Eat the Food

Everywhere we went I made it a point to eat local fare. I had a trout, head on, over potatoes and veg at a German Beir House. I ate a braised Pork Knee in Prague, one of the best pieces of pig I’ve ever had. Sure, you might have a miss or two. A tendon in a local sausage may have made one or more people in our group a bit nauseous but I’m glad we tried it. I also had a great time drinking the local beer. Don’t worry, that fat American Cheese Burger will be waiting for you when you get home. In our case, we had it in Budapest.

Take your Family

I am so lucky to have married into a traveling family. That doesn’t mean that if you don’t, you can’t get out there. Take a friend or friends. Stop making excuses.  Maybe this year, instead of buying a new car, put some money towards a trip. Stuff comes and goes but experiences are what life is made of.

Have fun out there. Back to life and am looking forward to the rest of the year. Cheers.