When overseas, a lot of things can deviate from what you’re used to. The most obvious of these is language. While in many Western countries, English is a common second language, you can’t necessarily depend on the very person you’re trying to communicate being fluent in your primary tongue. This is why it’s a good idea to have already put in a little study on the local lingo so that as you move about you will also have capability of communicating with the people that you meet along the way. In the worst case scenario, a pocket dictionary, phrasebook, or, even better, an app that is built for this task is good to have on hand.

Another thing that is commonly different across the world is currency. While the US Dollar might be the world’s primary reserve currency, that doesn’t mean that every individual and shop owner is prepared to accept it. For this reason, it’s best to carry around an adequate store of whatever the local currency is so that you don’t find yourself unable to complete your purchase somewhere. Another currency related issue is that not every merchant accepts plastic, as many of them will only accept cash, so that even if your bank translates the transaction into the local currency when you utilize your debit or credit card, you could find yourself in a position where only cash will fit the bill. On this note, I would recommend getting an app on your phone to show you the most current exchange rate between US dollars and the local currency, also, to help you understand just how much things really cost and to help avoid being scammed.

When traveling overseas, remember that a lot of things are done differently. It’s a good idea to carry about energy converters for your electronic devices like your phone, tablet, or computer because wall outlets on the other side of the Atlantic have a completely different appearance and insertable prongs than those that we are used to here in the States. When eliminating trash, remember also that in Europe, people tend to take recycling very seriously, so make sure that you conduct your deposits into the proper containers, and last, but not least, while J-walking is generally frowned upon everywhere, in Europe it is even more so, as these countries are far more pedestrian heavy and the potential for accidents is there for those who aren’t following the law. After all, pedestrians have their own stop-lights.