Your travel attitude is everything, whether you’re touring in Europe, road tripping near home, or traveling any place in the world you might choose to go.
Your travel attitude is your state of mind. Your openness to the things you see and hear. Your acceptance of a different style of life.
It’s your sense of humor, when things don’t go right.
Your patience, when you’re lost and haven’t a clue which way to go.
It’s your level of comfort, when surrounded by all things unfamiliar.
It’s your ability to laugh, when everyday things don’t make sense. But you take them in stride and move on.
Your travel attitude is your embrace of where you’ve traveled to. Where you are in the moment.
It’s your acceptance of other cultures as a privilege to ex-perience.
It’s a combination of the history you’ve learned and the research you’ve done about the places you visit.
It’s the courtesy you show and the respect you give to the people and places, whose cul-ture you insert yourself into.
It’s your genuine smile. Your willingness to learn and speak some small bit of the language.
It’s your character and integrity: the person you are when no one’s looking. Or listening.
Travel is attitude.
When you're getting ready to travel, it's the first thing to pack.
And the positive way you show it will bring profound travel benefits to your European experience, while making you a welcome U.S. traveler.
Some decades ago a somewhat ugly travel attitude surfaced by some Americans – a relatively small number – who had newly discovered their ability, if not their right of passage, to travel internationally.
These were mostly middle class, financially comfortable, retired – or close to it – Americans, who'd found a new way to 'keep up' with the Jones’s.
They really didn’t know much about traveling overseas. They just knew that 'when you arrived' at a certain point in your life, it’s what you did.
They descended on Europe – mostly in groups – totally unprepared for the history, culture, politics, even the food, and created an image of rudeness and closed-mindedness.
They flashed their money around.
They demanded meals 'their way'.
They criticized everything different and 'foreign' to them.
They complained about the roads, the hours, the hotels, and the weather.
They were the worst possible ambassadors for everyone else back home in the States.
They were 'the ugly Americans'.
Today, these small-minded, newbie travelers have mostly gone the way of the albatross.
New generations of U.S. travelers now look to Europe not only as a welcoming adventure, but as a logical extension of their education.
And often, a look back into their personal and familial past.
No longer fueled by fear of the unknown, the different, the unfamiliar, today’s U.S. traveler - regardless of age - embraces a new travel attitude.
They delight in the differences inherit among the cultures of Europe, and most especially, between Continental Europe and the United States.
Today’s traveler knows learning to appreciate these differences is what travel is all about.
They recognize that we travel to escape the routine of the ordinary and the every day. And that the benefits of travel are found in new faces and new places.
They welcome the discovery of novel and [hopefully] enticing new foods and ways to eat.
They revel in the sights and the scenery, the iconic art and architecture, the cultures and societies that are different from our own.
These are the benefits of travel that build upon each other to create our greatest travel adventures and most cherished travel memories.
These are the reasons to travel.
So, how do you keep a positive travel attitude and remain a happy camper for the entire time you're traveling in Europe?
When you’re tired, or frustrated, or just crave a good hamburger?
As a U.S. traveler, used to our comfortable lifestyle, our familiar transportation, our fast food on every corner, we quickly realize that what seems normal and necessary to us is completely different for the rest of the world.
Not better. Not worse. Just different.
We must train ourselves to be open and accepting, acknowledging the challenges of foreign travel as an opportunity to grow.
Every travel situation is a new opportunity to prove to the rest of the world we’re not the ugly American of previous times. But a new, open-minded and respectful visitor, who welcomes the chance to share their world.
We prove this when we take the time to talk one-on-one with our temporary hosts. When we listen to what they say and respond respectfully to their thoughts, ideas, and concerns.
When we learn to exhibit tolerance for things that are new, patience with things unfamiliar.
When we draw on our researched knowledge of where we travel, and if we don’t understand, we ask for help.
When we take a genuine interest in the people we meet. when we ask questions - and appreciate the answers.
When we spend time with the natives. Walk their streets. Eat their food. Shop their shops. And visit their churches, their festivals, their celebrations.
When we become – if only temporarily – one of them.
An ad-hoc European.
Our benefits of traveling explodes exponentially. We see, hear, and learn about a Europe we never knew existed.
We come away with memories few travelers experience - and with the heartfelt knowledge that everything 'foreign' is not so different, after all.
Just the other side of the same coin.
And the biggest benefit we derive from wearing our positive travel attitude for all to see?
We help correct that decades-old feeling that a U.S. traveler is not the best traveler.
We show the world that as today’s traveler, we’re openly welcomed around the globe.
For more tips on planning a European trip, see these articles:
Planning a Trip to Europe? Include the most important thing to
insure your trip’s success.
Use your Travel Budget to keep travel expenditures under control.
Does your Europe Travel Plan include everything you want to see and do in Europe?
Create a Travel Itinerary for Europe and bring your trip to life.
Budgeting For Travel lets you know your money will last as long
as your trip.
Return to Getting Travel Ready
Travel teaches toleration.
Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister and novelist [1804 – 1881]
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