Learning The Social & Cultural Norms Of A Foreign Country Before You Visit, So You Don’t Look Like A Jerk

There is little more eye-opening than traveling to another country. With just one or a few more plane rides, your surroundings suddenly change from the familiar to things you may have never experienced before – the language, the money, the architecture, the food, and – this is a biggie – the social norms.

It’s so easy to make a social faux pas when you’re in a foreign country. And yes, of course, the “locals” are going to immediately know you’re “not from there” (it’s more than going to a country where the people’s skin may be a different color than yours – I’m talking about how Americans can be identified by their dress and demeanor, just as I can point out British tourists all over Orlando without hearing them say a word) and might give you a pass if you make a social mistake (but you may wind up helping where you live to win the award for the country with worst behaved tourists). But I, for one, would rather fit in when it comes to social and cultural norms, if I can. Here are a few things you may or may not have known about how they do things in:
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How International Travelers Have Changed In The Past 20 Years

The first time I traveled internationally was in 1994, when I went to Japan with a friend. We were, by far, two of only a handful of U.S. citizens we saw during our 3 weeks there, to the point that when we went to Tokyo Disneyland, we were thrilled to be able to speak English to the guy that cut silhouettes on Main Street, because he was American. We heard some German here and there during our trip, but English? Hardly at all.

We saw/heard more Americans during our trip to England and Paris in 1995 but that would make sense – it was still more “comfortable” to visit Europe than halfway around the world in the “Far East,” especially in the age when the internet wasn’t around to help. So, of course, there were many more Americans there in comparison to Japan the previous year.

Fast forward 20+ years, and a whole lot has changed…

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Should You Get The Chase Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred?

Chase offers two personal credit cards that are marketed to those who want to earn travel rewards. There’s the Sapphire Preferred, which is great for those getting into the points and miles world, offering transferrable points to both airline and hotel programs and bonus points for travel and dining expenses. The newer Sapphire Reserve is the luxury card for the Ultimate Rewards program. It has a higher annual fee but offers additional benefits than the Preferred.

When I wrote that I was considering getting rid of all my premium cards, the one that people seemed to be the most attached to was the Sapphire Reserve. They pointed out the reasons it’s worth paying the extra money over the Preferred, some of which I was aware of and some that I wasn’t.

So I decided to take a closer look at the two cards and see where they are the same and where they differ. Only then could I really know if the extra money for the Reserve is worth it.

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Where Should You Keep Your Passport When You’re In A Foreign Country?

After all that planning, you’re finally on that trip of your dreams, far away from your home country. Your keep your passport handy during your actual travels because you’ll need it for Customs and other travel-related things. But now you’re getting ready to go out and about as a tourist and you pause for a second…should you bring your passport with you? Or should you leave it somewhere secure in the room?

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We Just Found An Even Better Place To Store Your Luggage While Traveling

A while back we posted about a company you can use while traveling so you can safely store your luggage for a few hours. It sounded like a great idea, except for the fact that it was only limited to 3 cities around the world.

Luggage Hero has since expanded to 6 cities (still NYC, London, and Copenhagen but now also Madrid, Lisbon and Barcelona), but we’ve found another company that gives you a place to store your stuff for the day that has availability virtually all over the world.

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