Traveling to a new location? There may be components of your trip that you’ll have to do some research on and learn about. Different cultures have unique rules and customs about money, food, and transportation. Don’t think about traveling until you check off everything on this list.
Know How Much To Tip
Knowing the correct percentage to tip depends on where you are. In the United States, tipping rates usually vary anywhere from 15%-22%. Often times, parties of 6,7,8, or larger are required to pay a tip or gratuity determined by the restaurant. Make sure to check your bill before adding a tip to see if they have already factored it into your final bill.
Fast food restaurants, coffee shops, or other restaurants with no table service rarely require traditional tips, but sometimes have jars near the cash register where you may tip if you feel it is necessary.
Some larger cities in the U.S. may have higher tipping rates. In New YorkCity, the standard at higher-end restaurants usually runs higher, around 25%. It is important to note that in the U.S., servers and waiters are paid low wages and depend on — and expect — tips from their customers.
Tipping in Europe is much different than in the U.S. While it varies from country to country, a good rule to follow is to always tip in cash so you can ensure the server will receive it.
Many times, tipping in bars is not expected, like in the U.S., but appreciated. If the tips for service aren’t included in the bill, leave around 7%-12%. Try and tip in the country’s currency whenever possible. Wherever you’re going, know what is customary before you leave.
No matter where you’re traveling to, if the area is busy, it is best to make a reservation.
In the U.S., you can call the restaurant you plan to eat at and reserve a table. There are many apps and websites where you can make reservations online 24/7.
If you’re traveling abroad to a large city, a reservation is a safe bet. Keep in mind the person who answers the phone may not speak English. Consider using an online reservation system especially when traveling abroad. Examples include Open Table, My Table, and The Fork.
Try A Taxis
Most cities in the U.S. and Europe have taxis. In New York, yellow cabs flood the city. Taxis in Amsterdam are identified by a special license plate. Each city or country usually has special indicators for the taxis that are legally run with the proper permits.
A popular option all over the world for taxis is Uber and Lyft. Both are extremely popular apps that allow the user to “order” a taxi from their phone. They are safe (drivers need to be certified and registered) and are almost always much cheaper than a traditional taxi.
The caveat to these two options is that they’re not always available in all cities. Check and see if they’re going to be where you are. If you download the app before your trip, you can actually enter your pick-up location and destination of where you’ll be and get an estimate for costs. This will allow you to predict how much you’ll be spending on transportation and plan ahead financially.
Take Public Transportation
Public transportation can be a great, cheap alternative to renting cars and taking taxis when traveling. In major U.S. cities, above- and below-ground subways are available, trains, and busses. Sometimes you will find public bikes you’re able to rent for a very small fare that are yours to ride around for a certain amount of time.
While it’s a great alternative, taking public transportation while abroad can be intimidating, especially in countries where English isn’t their native language.
Before you leave, research all of the travel routes ahead of time. Where are the entrances and exits? How many stops are there on each line? Look for packages where you can purchase a ticket that lasts a whole day. In Dublin, there are buses that run certain routes and have a hop-on hop-off feature. This is great for sightseeing during the day.
Many cities have developed apps for their transit. For example, in Paris Rapt is an app that shows you exactly when the trains will be arriving in the station, allowing you to easily plan your trip.
Carry Their Currency
When you travel outside of your own country, know what type of currency they have and how they use it. In the U.S., cash is just as widely accepted as coins, as are credit cards, debit cards, checks, etc. Is this the case where you’re going?
Some countries don’t widely accept credit or debit cards. Get the cash of the currency you need before you leave. Once you’re abroad, will you be able to transfer funds? Are ATMs readily available? Check with your bank to see what locations they have in the city or country you’re going to.
The most important thing to remember when traveling is to do as the locals do. If they only tip 8%, don’t stick out like a sore thumb by leaving 22%. Do they only carry cash? Make things easier for yourself and those around you by doing the same. Through research and talking to others who have traveled where you’re going, you’ll be able to have a successful trip.