The following information might not be much of a use to an experienced traveler. Nevertheless, I hope that you will find at least some helpful tips.
Remember that when you visit other countries – you are a guest. And when you go to the country that has different culture and/or religion, I’d suggest you reading information about customs, traditions and some basic rules on how to behave in the country you are traveling to. If you decide to visit a local church, monastery or a temple, I would kindly ask you to follow the rules and be respectful, even if you are not a religious person. It is simply a matter of politeness.
For example, when I travel to Europe I always visit catholic churches (I am a Russian orthodox myself). I just love them! Mainly because in most of the cases they are not just churches, they are breathtaking masterpieces! Even though from tourist perspective it’s a sightseeing, for locals it is still a holy place where they come to pray.
Oh, food… Food culture is as important to me as an excursion to the historical places. And when I travel, I always prefer to eat local food and drink local beer (or sometimes even wine). I know that some people like to eat the food they got used to. But that’s not me. I love to explore, and I enjoy finding new dishes, new flavors. For me traveling is not only a discovery of the new country, but also a discovery of the new cuisine. And when we find dishes that we fall in love with, we bring the knowledge with us and we start making those dishes at home. So, my advice to you is to make life more exciting and not to be afraid of trying new cuisine. Don’t go to Chinese restaurant when you are in Italy, for example. Try to find best tasting pizza or pasta.
Many people are missing out when they go to touristic restaurants. If you want to eat really good local food, then you should go to the places where locals are eating. Trust me, you will notice the difference. Street food – is another way of exploring local delights. That what we have tried in Sri Lanka, and it turned out to be one of the best food experiences. We enjoyed every bite!
If you are visiting hot countries, remember to use sun lotion on the regular basis, even if sun is hiding behind the clouds. I know, quite obvious advice. I thought so, too. Till I got to Sri Lanka. We were there in the end of May – beginning of June, and most of the time it was quite clouded, and I have hardly seen any sun. So, I was using sun lotion only in the mornings – before going out and after sun lotion when we were coming back to hotel. And that was definitely not enough. Even if you can’t see the sun, it is still there, strong and sometimes aggressive. I didn’t pay much attention to it and I got burned. I got burned badly. It was so bad that my skin started bubbling! It was horrible! And very painful for almost two weeks. Worst experience ever! I’ve learned my lesson the hard way.
Another obvious advice is to check what currency is used in the country where you are headed. “Well, duh!”, some of you might say. But as they say – shit happens. Once when we were in a bar in Barcelona, one Russian couple was trying to pay the order with… US dollars. And yes, they were really confused when bartender didn’t accept it.
To be completely honest with you, we had a similar experience ourselves. Long story short – I didn’t think about checking currency situation when we went to Hungary in the end of last year. I knew that Hungary is part of European Union, so obviously I thought that they have euros like in most of the other EU countries. Imagine my surprise, when I saw someone paying with some weird looking money in Budapest airport. Luckily there were many currency exchange points.
Hope it was helpful!