As a family, we decided to take a huge, splurge vacation in 2013. With passports in hand and a few less dollars, our family is excited to take on the adventure of traveling abroad later this year. While my husband and I are well traveled, we haven't taken our children on many overseas trips. With this scenario in mind, I posed a few questions about travel to one of the well known experts, Rick Steves.
Our family will be traveling abroad for with our kids in 2013, is there one must have item that families should pack for an international family vacation?
Kids should have their own money belt, an expanded “vacation allowance” and the responsibility to manage their funds and understand the foreign currency. They should also have and keep (as a pre-condition for getting the expanded allowance) a trip journal with meaningful thoughts and observations. This will end up being their favorite souvenir.
· I've noticed that on your PBS show that you often carry a backpack. What are some of the items that you carry in your backpack?
In my day bag I carry a camera, sweater, extra pencil, travel notes, my script (when making TV), a small water bottle, and very often a small ham and/or cheese sandwich in a zip lock baggie swiped from the breakfast buffet.
· Many of travel suggestions include cities that are smaller in size or not the popular names, how does the novice travel feel confident traveling off the beaten track?
The novice traveler should understand that famous and popular places don’t need to work to make a visit efficient or welcoming while smaller and less famous destinations appreciate you more and work to help you have a great time. The infrastructure of travel and the language barrier are no different in either case.
· When traveling to a foreign country, how important is knowing the native language? Are there any apps or books that you recommend for translation?
While I wish I spoke a foreign language (and Ireland is one of my favorite countries in part because when hanging out with locals there I have the sensation that I’m understanding a foreign language), it is not important for the basic needs of a traveler. For the same reason I personally haven’t used a phrasebook much, I don’t think I’d mess with an app. A bold spirit of adventure, a dollop of common sense, and a big smile are all I need to communicate in my travels.
· Is there one country or locale that you haven't visited that you want to see in 2013?
The West Bank (Palestinian Territories) and Alexandria in Egypt.
Rick Steves is the author of Rick Steves' European Guidebooks, Host, Writer & Producer, Public Television, Rick Steves' Europe. He will be appearing at the Travel and Adventure Show.
Want to learn more about travel opportunities in 2013? Come out to the Travel and Adventure show in Chicago on January 26 & 27 at the Donald E. Stevens Convention Center. Tickets are $15 for adults and children under 16 are free.