Taking a vacation in Europe is a popular choice for many Americans, and there’s certainly no shortage of different places to visit, all with their own appeal. The extensive array of historical monuments is breath-taking, especially when you’re coming from a country with a far shorter history of civilization than Europe.
Europe is also the home of the Pilgrim Fathers, and many Americans have their roots in European countries, making it a natural place of pilgrimage for anyone interested in their family history. Plus, of course, there are all the battlegrounds and war graves from the two World Wars, where many American soldiers lost their lives.
There are plenty of good reasons for visiting Europe, but if you’ve not been before it’s worth finding out as much as you can about your destination and how different it will be from home.
Because so many countries speak English, it’s easy to assume that wherever you go in Europe, you won’t have any problem with the language barrier because everyone will understand you. It is true that English is one of the universal language, but it’s far from true that everyone in Europe is fluent in English. Wherever you go there may be people who speak English, but you should be prepared to encounter many places where very few if any locals understand you. It’s also worth bearing in mind that countries that do speak English may have very strong regional accents, like Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Part of the appeal of your visit will be the chance to observe and interact with other cultures, and you’ll find a wide variety of cultural differences in the countries you visit and the regions within each country. One important fact to bear in mind is that many Europeans, especially in the northerly countries, are naturally reserved in their nature, so don’t assume people are being rude if they seem quiet or uncommunicative; it could just be their natural demeanor. You’ll also get the chance to try a whole new range of cuisines you may not have encountered before, but there’ll be some familiar fast food signs on your travels if you need a taste of home.
If you’re planning to drive on your vacation, Europe car rentals are readily accessible; however, they won’t have all the models you may be familiar with from home. There will be Japanese and German makes you’ll recognize, but if you usually drive an American made car, you’ll notice the difference. Most European countries do drive on the right as we do in the States, with the most notable exception being the UK, which drives on the left. In a typically contrary fashion, Britain still uses miles on its road signs, but other European countries will have distances marked in kilometers.
A trip to Europe is an unforgettable experience and one not to be missed. By preparing yourself for the differences you might encounter, you’ll be more able to celebrate what you have in common with your European cousins and enjoy your vacation to the full.
Rachel Slifka is a freelance writer and human resources professional. She is passionate about helping fellow millennials find success with their finances and careers. Read more by checking out her website at RachelSlifka.com.