1. When you’re traveling and going ahead in time zones, it’s easier taking an overnight flight because your body is less likely to betray due to jet lag
2. Change your money to the local currency either at a bank or somewhere in the U.S. if possible where they won’t charge you an arm and leg. Airports are the WORST places to do this because fees are substantial.
3. It’s always nice to have a least a basic knowledge of the language. Words and phrases like “hello, goodbye, how are you, do you speak English?” in the native language can be very helpful to know.
4. A lot of people who work in a service profession can help you out since they’re more likely to speak English.
5. In France and Spain they drive on the right side of the road. And pedestrians don’t have right of way. This means that if you walk on the red in a crosswalk it’s at your own risk. I saw way too many near deaths where the car didn’t stop but the person figured it out just a second before hty got hit.
6. Pick a good hotel. It doesn’t have to be 5 stars but you want to feel safe and comfortable. Check the ratings before you book and make sure that the doors have deadbolts. You’ll sleep better
7. Be very wary of the directions people give you. Keep a map at all times and learn how to use it. Effectively.
8. Tourist places are great but sometimes it’s nice to see how the real people live. Plus, the food is usually cheaper in non-tourist sections of town.
9. Keep some form of ID with you at all times. Some people carry around a copy of their passport. It’s just good to do.
10. Give yourself some time to adjust when you get back. Jet lag is bad. Really bad.