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Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and many others countries speak the English language. But sometimes talking with the locals there can feel as foreign to U.S. travelers as communicating with those in, say, Thailand. To help clear these up, here are a few words that our stateside readers are all familiar with — but that mean something completely different in other English-speaking places around the world.
Travel is filled with emotions. Anytime you go somewhere, you’re giving yourself the chance to be delighted, to fall in love, to feel out of place, to find comfort. That’s a big part of why we like to get out there — and yet sometimes nothing in the English language adequately explains these experiences. Or at least not as succinctly as these foreign travel-related words we’ve gathered below. We’re keeping these in our back pocket for the next time we’re grasping for a word to capture a specific, evocative moment from our journeys, and we invite you to do the same.
Flight: booked. Hotel: reserved. Language podcasts: Completed. What else do you need to prepare before jetting off on vacation?
Most of us would probably never think that feeding pigeons in parts of Venice could get us fined as much as our plane tickets there cost. Likewise, while we always leave a substantial tip after dining at a restaurant in North America, the practice is a foreign concept to many international visitors. Needless to say, very diverse cultural customs abound around the world. Here are a few quirky ones that we love and think are useful to know for preventing cultural mishaps abroad.
After a year-long absence from Eurail’s Select Pass program, France officially returned to the network last month, becoming the 27th participating European country. (Other changes: Eurail has chosen to do away with passes that allow travel between three and five pre-selected countries, in lieu of a four-country pass only.) To celebrate, we’ve put together three wanderlust-worthy itineraries for taking advantage of the newly revamped program.
Barcelona has its Sagrada Familia. Sydney has its white-hooded Opera House. And other places? Well, they’ve got steps – lots and lots of them. As the examples illustrate below, epic staircases aren’t just a way to reach higher ground. They can be major attractions unto themselves. From the fabled Ha’iku Ladder in Hawaii, to Norway’s never-ending Flørli Steps, these jaw-dropping ascents aren’t for the faint of heart. But once you get to the top, we think you’ll agree the views more than make up for the effort. Read more
Compared to most of Western Europe, Berlin is a bargain. Hotel rooms cost about half the price of rooms in Paris or London, and it’s easy to fill your belly for fewer than five bucks. The city’s affordable activities and creative spirit make it a budget traveler’s dream. And there are plenty of free things to do — from museums and monuments, to public parks and open-air karaoke. Here are some of the best free things to do in Berlin. Read more
Stuck forever in the era of boat-sized convertibles, Elvis memorabilia, and red-checkered tablecloths, these American-themed diners offer a nostalgic ride into ‘50s Americana while satisfying rumbling tummies. Although commonplace throughout the fifty states, you don’t tend to come across these neon-lit, chrome-plated structures anywhere else in the world. So if you happen to be abroad and craving a burger and a milkshake, here are twelve diners around the world that’ll transport you back home.
Visit the full slideshow here.
Whatever happened to the good ol’ days, when hotel bars served as an oasis for road-weary travelers? A place to mingle with your fellow vagrants and meaninglessly converse about the weather? These days, hotel bars are often just impersonal TV viewing rooms serving overpriced Budweisers and poorly-poured Guinnesses.
Well, except for the five hotels listed below. Priding themselves on perfect pints, these ale-loving properties charm guests with decades-old brewing traditions, and a staff of knowledgeable bartenders eager to share the secrets of their craft: Read more
British Airways has just launched its discounted “daytripper fares” for travelers flying from London to a handful of European cities. The catch? (Or, perhaps the benefit?) You have to return to London in the same day. Round-trip tickets, including all taxes and fees, will cost £79 (about $130) to Dublin and Geneva, £89 (about $149) for Edinburgh and Rome and £99 (about $165) for Vienna and Munich. You can only travel with carry-on luggage from London’s Heathrow airport, and only on Saturdays or Sundays.
These fares are tailor-made for travelers who want to cram in a second destination with their London trip — a fairly common strategy, especially considering how easy it is to get to Paris, Scotland, or other parts of England by rail. Flying expands your options even more.
Of course, taking into account check-in, transfers, and flight time, this doesn’t leave you much time to enjoy that second destination. But if you really have the urge to pop across the Channel (or Irish Sea) for a few hours, here are some suggestions for quick, interesting itineraries you can accomplish in a day.
Lots of American travelers make their way to Germany, and, in fact, it’s recently edged out France as our third most visited European destination, after the U.K. and Italy. The most popular German destinations include Berlin and Munich, but two delightful smaller cities to see Regensburg and Bamberg, both located in the Franconia region, not far from Munich. Both offer a rich taste of rural Bavaria. While many Danube river cruises stop at these towns, they’re also easily accessible from Munich by car or train.
On vacation, we tend to keep different schedules. That’s why, at 1 a.m., with all the regular restaurants closed and the bar having stopped serving food, you may decide you’re ready for dinner number two. Offering unique insight into local culture, late-night eats can enhance your travel experience as much as they can satisfy your craving. For a few bucks, you can fill up on local dishes like tacos, oyster omelets, and crepes, and get a candid glimpse into a city’s after-hours culture. Every country has a specialty; here are the best bites served past midnight in cities all over the world. Read more
Ah, airport layovers. Few of us will ever actually look forward to them, but there are some airports where top-notch facilities make waiting for a connection much easier. Here’s a list… Read more
When it comes to European travel, Hamburg often plays second fiddle to its cooler neighbor to the east, Berlin. But Germany’s second city is no second-tier destination – and this year, it’s pulling out the stops to prove it.
With the 50th anniversary of the British Invasion approaching, and the two remaining members of the Beatles having just made a rare joint appearance at the Grammys, Beatlemania is simmering once again. Besides New York, where they played their first U.S. show on February 7, 1964, Hamburg is also inextricably linked to the history of the band: between 1960 and 1962. They played many of their first concerts there.
This year, though, Hamburg will be honoring a different musician, Carl Philip Emanuel Bach, and the 300th anniversary of his birth, with a concert at St. Michael’s Church on March 8. But that doesn’t mean that Germany’s second-largest city is looking only to the past. Here are some exciting new developments to look forward to this year… Read more
Get ready for another one of those anniversaries that might make you feel really old. November 9, 2014 will mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Once you’ve overcome this shock, start researching cheap tickets on low-cost carrier Air Berlin because a series of special events and exhibitions are about to take place throughout the city.
As well as being Europe’s fastest growing tourism city, Berlin is a great overall budget destination where tourist activities tend to cost less than in other European cities. A hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus ticket will cost you $23 in Berlin, for example, compared to $40 in Barcelona. If you are planning to travel around the city and visit a lot of museums, you might also consider the Berlin Welcome Card, which covers transportation, museum entry, and discount vouchers. The card starts at $25 for 48-hours.
As the count down to the New Year approaches, so does the party-planning pressure. Most major cities throw vast, crowded spectacles for the occasion, but if you’re not so keen on ringing in the New Year elbow-to-elbow with thousands of strangers, consider planning something a little offbeat this year… Read more
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