European Adventure Series: Culture and Customs
Traveling is incredible- it opens your eyes and heart to greater experiences- and even helps you appreciate all you have at home. You realize when traveling the similarities throughout the world…and you learn the differences. And differences can be good!
Learning about the culture and customs of your destination before heading out on your adventure will make an enormous difference. So, do a little research…
As cultures and customs are different throughout the world, these are just a couple of general ideas to help you in your travels.
Greetings: While many people are used to the hustle and bustle of life in the U.S. – getting things done efficiently so they can get on to the next task- most countries in Europe do not live with this urgency, especially along the coast. Slow down! When you enter a store or restaurant, check into a hotel, or walk up to the cashier, smile- greet them- say hello. A kind greeting (and, of course, please and thank you) goes a long way here. They’re not in a hurry…so take their lead and slow it down.
Language: In Europe, we pass through countries as you pass through States. While many people throughout Europe speak English and every charter has English speaking crew, it’s polite and will get you much further if you learn a few key words in the local language for when you head to shore. With translate apps on every phone, this is quite easy…just keep it simple. Please- Thank you- Hello- Have a nice day- Where is…? – while no one expects you to speak fluently, taking the time to learn a little will help in more ways than you realize.
Customs: It’s interesting to immerse yourself in a different culture and learn some of their customs. Whether you learn about their culture in the museums and tours- or glimpse from your perch at a sidewalk café- it’s fascinating to understand the place that you’re visiting.
A cup of coffee is my personal approach which I use as a window into the customs of the country I’m visiting. This fabulous little cup of happiness comes in many forms- and when traveling, you will not always find the grande triple non-fat latte that's so popular in the US…ok, you’ll rarely find that unless you there's a Starbucks that actually has non-fat milk. In Europe, you sit (or stand) at the café enjoying your (small) cup- typically an espresso or small cappuccino- in a social environment. Sunny terraces with people chatting – it’s a perfect vantage point to see your surroundings and enjoy the slow life.
Remember, keep an open mind! You’re leaving your home to ‘get away’…and life where you’re traveling is not going to be the same…and this is good!