1. Travel is like being in school. You are learning new things and seeing new sights. School students have to do homework. Research, plan, study. Learn everything you can about the place you’ll be visiting. Then have your mind prepared for something completely different when you get there.
  2. Be patient with your travel mates. They may not have done their homework and are alarmed to find that they can’t eat at McDonalds and that they have to climb a few steps to get to a photo location. Or they may just be buttholes. Either way, every minute you let them spend in your head is a minute you have lost thinking about making great photos and experiencing a new land.
  3. Speaking of McDonalds, are you kidding? You have visited a new country. How are you going to experience it by eating at McDonalds? The only reason the McDonalds is there is for all the American tourists who have closed minds and are unwilling to immerse themselves into a new culture.
  4. Had a bad experience with a local? Guess what, it’s not his country’s fault. People in other countries are just like Americans. Everyone has a bad day. Or, maybe the person is just mean. Don’t bad mouth the entire country for it.
  5. Don’t let the people of a country judge America because of your actions. (See #4) They see enough to judge us by just by watching the news.
  6. Take a deep breath, relax, have a glass of wine, and just chill for goodness sakes!
  7. No, it’s not like home. You left home to go to a different country. And I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but nobody cares what it’s like at your home.
  8. Don’t buy a new camera the day before your trip. Or, even worse, while you are on the trip. (Yes, that happened on one of my photo tours.)
  9. Read the fine print from the photo tour leader. Know what you’re getting into. Bring your passport, exchange your dollars (no one outside of the U.S. wants dollars), get travel insurance, make sure your cell phone will work, bring power adapters, and on and on. Prepare!
  10. You don’t have to learn a new language, but locals will appreciate any effort you make. Use a language app on your phone or bring a phrase book/dictionary. At a minimum, you should learn to speak the following in their language:

Thank you
Excuse me
I’m sorry
I’d like to order red wine