You have just landed at your dream vacation and the glaring sunlight heats up your face in this hot and humid destination causing your unaccustomed eyes to squint. If you had only knew how essential a pair of eye-worthy sunglasses are, you would have surely brought them, along with a good brand of suntan lotion. No more tanning booths for you! Vacationing in the great outdoors is the real deal. The first thing to know when you are trying to acclimatize to new surroundings is to protect your skin from the elements and take care of your health.
Somehow the long wait to get through customs does little to phase you because you are busy trying to understand what is going on in your new environment. You make funny faces as you slowly tilt your head either direction, as if trying to tune into the local dialect of the people. At first, their speech translates into nothing more than incessant buzzing to your ears. And even though they are speaking English, your brain looks for word associations that you are familiar with; in order to understand what they are saying. Your keen observations pay off as you step to the immigration counter. There is a smooth exchange with the customs officer because your brain is adjusting to their accent. With your baggage checked, you hail a taxi to take you to the hotel. If you have difficulty understanding what is being said, ask the people to speak slowly.
Staying at an international hotel has a homely feel to it as you are able to calm your nervous energy a bit. It has been a long flight and a short nap to revitalize your body is a good idea. It suddenly occurs to you to look at some local TV. This will give you some great insight into the customs of the people. It is recommended that you rest after a long flight as this will make you more focus in your new environment.
One of best sources to inform you about the place is the hotel’s bartender. Besides being able to fill you in about places to see and the best times to be there. The bartender is more than likely to be a local with connections to other people, like yourself, who can help you ease into your vacation without a hassle and maybe saving some money in the process. Networking with like-minded individuals is the key to a speedy and successful acclimatization. Because safety is an issue in some countries for tourists especially when you stick out like a sore thumb!
In case you have not noticed… the hotel is also your cocoon where you can take your time and ease into your stay. Take the time to visit the gift shop and buy a map. Locate where the places of interest are and find out how to move around. Learn about the exchange rates and how much local currency you will receive for your money. Ask the front desk the average costs of things so when you go shopping you will have a fair idea as to how much to pay.
Forget about all those preconceived ideas you have about the place (and ditch the brightly coloured shirts!). Stick to the city areas (more so at night time unless you have a trust-worthy guide). Window shopping is fun and you will meet a lot of people. Say “Hi!” to them and they will definitely answer back with a smile. Talk to the locals and ask about the different ways to get to and from the hotel. This is useful because you will also come across other interesting landmarks and places to visit.
Do not be surprised if they ask if you enjoy their local cuisine and entertainment. If you have not tasted the food, except through the hotel restaurant, then this is the perfect opportunity to arrange a dinner date. As a safety precaution, ask your new friends to meet you at the restaurant. And prearrange with the hotel to take you back home, just a few tips to see you safely through your travels. At the end of your dinner date you would have a better sense of the country than any internet search can cough up. Congratulations! You are no longer a tourist virgin to this exotic land of fun in the sun.