"LEARN THE BASICS
No, you don’t have to become fluent in Greek in two months, but knowing a handful of usable words and phrases will get you a lot further than you might think. Simple greetings,“please” and “thank you” and “Do you speak English?” should make you at least a little more comfortable than going in with zero idea of what you’re doing. (Oh, and FYI, “toilet” is pretty much universal, so don’t waste your time learning that one.)
DOWNLOAD A TRANSLATION APP
Ahh, technology, what would we do without you? Have to carry around a dictionary, for one. Apps like Google Translate, Ultralingua and Yandex.Translate might not be 100 percent accurate (it’ll be pretty obvious you’re using a translator) but they certainly get the job done. The best part is that these three work offline (you just download language packs to your phone while you have Wi-Fi), so you don’t have to worry about connecting to the Internet to use them.
DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF POINTING
At menus, at places on maps, at things on your phone, whatever. Gesturing is often more efficient than trying to speak a language you’re not entirely comfortable with. One caveat here, though: Be sure to do some research ahead of time on common gestures in the country where you’ll be traveling. The last thing you want to do is wildly offend a local when you were just trying to give a thumbs-up.
It’s simple, but it goes a long way. If you mess up (which, let’s be honest, you probably will), people will be much more forgiving when you’re gracious about it. This is an instance where you should swallow your pride and not be afraid to drum up a little sympathy.
HIRE A LOCAL TO SHOW YOU AROUND
Want in on all the under-the-radar sights and restaurants but can’t blend in language-wise? Consult ToursByLocals, which does exactly what its name suggests: matches you with an English-speaking local who will take you around and let you experience the country a bit more personally than you would with a guidebook.
IF YOU THINK YOU'LL BE NERVOUS, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
Let’s say you’re a person who gets flustered in unfamiliar settings (it’s totally OK—we’re right there with you). In that case, chart out as much of your trip as possible before you leave home. This means scheduling tours and making as many reservations as you can in English. Bless you, Internet."
Information taken directly from: https://goo.gl/XuYxnF
It might be hard to believe, but the Brentwood Travel staff still has yet to visit every square inch of the world. We have cravings of wanderlust just like our clients and we took a moment to share that one place we have on our travel wish list with you!
Stephanie Turner - China River Cruise
"I would like to go to China because it is one of the greatest civilizations in the world and the very little I have seen makes me want to return. River cruising lets you get a whole different perspective of the interior of the country in a very relaxed setting. You can actually cover a lot more ground in an easy and informative way. This combined with the land tour will include the great cities of Beijing and Shanghai, plus other great cities and historical sights that puts China at the top of my must see list. I also find the Chinese people to be so interesting and eager to meet those of us from the Western world."
Stacey Acree - The Galapagos
"I want to go to the Galapagos to experience island trekking and wildlife."
Dagmar Morrison - Alaska
" [I] love nature and history and especially animals. Hope to see some bears, whales and Husky sled dogs [in Alaska]."
Stacey Hoehne - South African Safari
“My top travel destination is South Africa! I want to go on a true African Safari. After I spent time volunteering at an Open Park Safari Zoo I have been eager to see African animals in their natural habitat.”
Emily Medina - Australia
"I would like to go to Australia for a new adventure."
Missi Wilson - Paris, France
"In first grade my classroom had a year-long project over the country of France. We learned about the culture, food, art and language and I fell in love with the idea of Paris. I've spent most of my life learning more about this incredible city and I can't wait for the day that I stand on the Eiffel Tower and think 'Wow, I'm living my life-long dream right now'."
Ellen Woods - London, England
"I love to take trips to historical cities, and I've always been fascinated by the British monarchy. I want to visit London next so that I can check all the museums and sightseeing off my bucket list!"
Dianna Paridon - Southeast Asia
"I want to go to Southeast Asia for their adventure and culture."
Ann Fendelman - Kenya and Tanzania
"I would like to take Tauck’s 'Kenya and Tanzania: A Classic Safari' with highlights of two-nights in Serengeti National Park and three-nights in Masai Nara National Reserve. This journey that I have booked for many of my clients is particularly enticing as you get to see Africa’s 'Big Five' capped off by a hot air balloon ride at dawn over Masai Mara followed by a champagne breakfast. Sign me up!"
Ashley Curry - Ireland
“After researching my family’s name through Ancestry, I came across documents showing that many of my ancestors were married, lived and buried throughout Ireland. I would love to go to the places that my ancestors called home. I even have maps and documents showing the pieces of land still in our family’s name. I would love to see that in person as my own ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ type of adventure. This would be a way for me to honor my past and have a deeper understanding of the Irish side of me.”
Susan Hakenjos - Iceland
"I want to take my son for his 21st birthday – to someplace exciting and off the beaten track."
AJ Rodgers - Italy
"I want to go to Italy because it’s ITALY. Legendary cities, amazing architecture, breathtaking scenery, delicious food, and lovely people. Seriously, who doesn’t want to go to Italy?"
Dawn Ryan - Paris, France
"I want to sit in a Parisian cafe and listen to the language and see the Eiffel Tower."
Cathy Robinson - Vietnam
"Why I want to visit Vietnam – a unique destination unlike anywhere I have traveled: Vietnam with its rich history, beautiful landscapes– like the 1,600 islands in Halong Bay, epic food- with French Asian influences, and fabulous shopping. An opportunity to set back in time while embracing the future."
Sue Koritz - Russia/Scandinavia
"To me, Scandinavia seems to have a magical quality – maybe because I read and saw movies of Hans Christian Anderson stories as a child! Russia, especially St. Petersburg, with its history, art and fascinating architecture has always intrigued me. How exciting it would be to experiences both of these areas on one wonderful cruise vacation!"
Mary Caraffa - Rome/Florence, Italy
"Being of Sicilian descent, Italy is on my bucket list. I’m anxious to visit Rome for its history and Florence for its art."
Brentwood Travel Vacation Experts
In the 64 years since Brentwood Travel was founded in 1957, we've grown into the largest, full-service travel agency in the Greater St. Louis area. No matter what your travel needs may be, our consultants will be able to assist you.