Recently, I traveled to China with friends. In a small noodle shop, we tried to order bowls of noodles and skewers of chicken. After much confusion, due to not speaking the language, we demonstrated slurping noodles and stood and clucked like chickens. Everyone laughed at the crazy American. Fortunately, the waitress understood and brought the right food.
The China trip reminded me of the top tips one should observe while traveling.
1. Carry a travel language book.
Carrying a Mandarin phrase book would have helped us order and communicate with others in the restaurant.
2. Travel with friends, if possible.
Make sure your traveling styles are compatible. If you love visiting museums, adventurous activities or waking early and your friends don’t, don’t travel together. Disagreements may occur; vacations may be ruined; friendships may end. If your friends have the same travel mindset, travel together—and strengthen your friendship bonds.
3. Have a sense of humor.
As we clucked like chickens to make our point, we couldn’t help but laugh. Laugh at yourselves and the crazy predicaments you get into when traveling. To me, the best memories are those when you roar with laughter because of confusion due to a language or cultural barrier, or a hilarious incident.
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Teach & Travel magazine. To read this article in its entirety, click here.