International or Domestic?

For the most part, we are domestic travelers. When you live in the Midwest, this isn’t hard to do. Just get in the car and take off in any general direction. After a few hundred miles or a good day’s travel (depending on how many stops you want to make) and you’re there. Somewhere. Things might look similar and if you haven’t gone too far outside your comfort zone, you can still meet up with some of your favorite chain places.

Since relocating to the middle of nowhere up north, the familiarity of the Midwest is so far away. Seriously. I can get to Iceland in less time than it would take me to get the Bob Evans I used to frequent a few years ago. So, this year, we’re thinking bigger when it comes to travel. As in Germany with a little trip over to Paris.

We’re all a little excited, to say the least. Yet at the same time there are so many things to consider when traveling international.

Like the language barrier. A friend told me about Duolingo. I got the app and of course committed myself to twenty-five minutes of studying a day. It’s been…oh, I don’t know…ten days since I looked at it. Which is a shame because the app is free and user friendly. It’s just that I have yet to find the version that says “you’ll have to stop playing Words with Friends to get anywhere” and “reminder e-mails are piling up in your inbox.” I’m such a slacker when it comes to learning French.

We’ve got German covered though. With two teens who have each taken two years of German in high school, we should be good, right? Surely they’re moderately fluent by now? I don’t know. They don’t speak it much at home. And with my luck, we’ll get to Germany and they’ll know the one sentence in German that I learned after two years of high school Spanish: Yo necessito el libro.

Let’s just say it’s a good thing I’m a voracious reader because I’ll probably not do more than sit in the hotel room reading books on my Kindle if we don’t get a handle on the languages soon.

What about you? Do you prefer to travel international or domestic? If you’ve been to Paris or Frankfurt, what did you do there? What do you recommend for first time visitors?

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