When I was six years old, my parents and I moved to their favorite vacation spot on the Jersey Shore. Twenty-seven years later, I followed in their footsteps and moved to my favorite vacation spot – Rome. Four years later, I now live in the South of France among a group of people from around the world who followed this same urge.

My vacation advice is from the point of view of someone whose entire life could be loosely defined as a vacation. But, sometimes I forget that people did not grow up the way I did, and who do not live like I do now. So, with that in mind, I’d like to impart my know-it-all wisdom to those who live a lifetime in two weeks every year.

1. Stuff in other places doesn’t work like stuff does at home. Toll-free numbers don’t work. Your laptop plugs won’t work. Even with an electrical adapter, your hair dryer will knock out a city block. Air-conditioning is a luxury. Customer is not always king.

2. Not everyone speaks English. If you’re going to a foreign country, learn to say ten useful phrases and their possible answers. You can do it on the flight. Make a phonetic cheat sheet if you have to.

3. Act like everyone speaks English. While this seems contrary to what I just said, I don’t mean when you’re talking TO locals – I mean when you’re talking NEAR them. No loud comments or complaints – someone is always listening.

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