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Cindy Jul 26th, 2000 01:34 PM

Is it common or unusual for first-timers to dislike their first trip to Europe?
This seems to be the month to fret about taking first-timers to Europe, and I too am wringing my hands. I'm going with one veteran and three newbies this fall, and I am wondering whether all of my angst is misplaced. Has anyone gone to Europe with a first-timer only to have them dislike it? If so, what was the problem for them and what (if anything) do you now think you could have done differently to help them enjoy the trip more?

Ed Jul 26th, 2000 02:12 PM

The most common reason I find people dislike their visit to Europe is that 'it isn't like home'. <BR> <BR>Things like: <BR>--'too little ice' <BR>--getting Scotch instead of Rye when ordering a 'whiskey' <BR>--different plumbing <BR>--different food <BR>-anxiety over being surrounded by 'foreigners' (without a thought given that &gt;&gt;they&lt;&lt; are the foreigner <BR>--'all the buildings look old ... don't they ever build anything new?' <BR> <BR>In short, people with a low tolerance for change or 'difference'. <BR> <BR>I've never figured out how to 'fix' that. Obviously advance reading will arm the new traveler with some 'warning' about what they'll encounter. It's surprising, though, that I'm not sure it's easy to predict reactions in advance, even for the people themselves. <BR> <BR>I've seen some otherwise very worldly people become royal pains when traveling with them overseas. <BR> <BR>Fortunately it seems to be a small percentage of folks. If you're traveling with them, just ignore them and give them opportunities to do something (maybe even sit in their room) on their own. <BR> <BR>In the end, we can only really take responsibility for ourselves. We can offer just so much help, then it's better to make sure &gt;&gt;you&lt;&lt; enjoy the trip and leave others to their own devices. <BR> <BR>Ed <BR>

Maira Jul 26th, 2000 02:14 PM

I really think it all starts out with what their expectations are. It would be very worthwhile for the vet traveler to discuss those expectations with the 1st timers and how realistic they are. <BR> <BR>Food, the Europeans demeanor (some say....), walking to everywhere, the crowds (depends on the season), hotel standards, language; those may be likely sources of cultural shock and potential causes for disccomfort, if unprepared. Make sure you discuss these and others you may think of.

AMG Jul 26th, 2000 02:20 PM

Cindy, <BR> <BR>I have planned 7 trips for myself and friends. The mix of people usually has one new traveler. I have found that explaining some trip basics to them usually eliminates most dissatisfaction. <BR>First I talk about how we will spend our time - museums, cities, countryside, shopping and eating and drinking (partying). Peoples expectations when you asked them if they want to go to Italy can range from visiting every art museum, shopping every major city or tasting every type of wine the country produces. Make sure a compromise between all travelers is agreed to before you leave. <BR>Second we discuss hotels and meals. We always stay in *** hotels with own bathrooms. I explain that this may vary from a dorm-room style room with a shower head on the bathroom wall to a very plush room. Prepare them for the worst possible case. We also discuss how important fine dining is versus convenience and cost. <BR>Third, I discuss packing with the new people. Comfortable shoes are imperative. Pack for the weather and the style of the trip you are taking. You may have to carry the luggage you take up a flight of stairs (so pack light). <BR> <BR>The final thing I try to gage when planning, is how much the group has in common. How many hours of sleep do people need? How long does it take individuals to get up and dressed? Is everyone at a similar fitness level. If not talk about compromises. <BR> <BR>I have had friends unhappy with a day, a hotel or a restaurant, but never the whole trip. With a group, every day is a compromise and you have to let go of crankiness and hurt feeling quickly, but the benefits are great. <BR> <BR>Have fun! <BR>Aileen

Sb Jul 26th, 2000 02:31 PM

It is so true---about people's expectations--I went to Hawaii and was disappointed because it is nothing like I had thought it to be. But now I love it aand want to go back. It is so different. Tell the newbies what to expect and what the trip entails--- walking, the food, the hotels, the sights and tell them you have planned it and if they can do better-- try. I told this to my son(age 23) and his grandmother gave him a pep talk and he loved every minute of three weeks and was astonished at everything. You have to have a sense of humor---I kept saying "boy I wished you brought more luggage!!" he kept wondering why we weren't getting robbed and said "I bought this money belt for nothing !"LOL

Robin Jul 26th, 2000 04:06 PM

Hi Cindy-- I'm not sure how much you can generalize this, but my experience has been that sometimes "newbies" are not so sure that they like foreign travel during the trip, or shortly after getting home, but they like it a lot once they have had time to think about it! I think that sometimes the strain and "foreign-ness" overwhelms the good stuff at first (especially for people who like routine and familiarity), but then once time and distance passes, they remember all the wonderful new experiences. For example, I went to Greece with two other couples two years ago, and we all fretted the whole time about one of the individuals, who seemed to have a lot of frustration and difficulty adjusting. But just recently I heard this person reminiscing about what a great time it had been! <BR> <BR>So what can you do? Not much, except to help the person prepare, during the trip be positive, try to improve any negative situations that you can control (not many of them, right?), and hope that they will finally in fact see the value of the experience. My guess is that most people do.

BOB THE NAVIGATOR Jul 26th, 2000 04:08 PM

Great answer Ed ! Adaptability to change is the secret. An open mind helps

Thyra Jul 26th, 2000 04:09 PM

Three Cheers for Robin!!

elvira Jul 26th, 2000 07:21 PM

Eventhough people disagree on Rick Steves' philosophy, etc., his PBS shows are a real eye-opener: he shows typical rooms, steep steps, walking everywhere, what he carries for a 2week trip, eating in small restaurants, etc. Suggest to the first-timers they catch a couple of his shows. <BR> <BR>Of all the newbies that have joined the Loons on their adventures, only two didn't enjoy themselves - but that was because they were passive-aggressives who resented not being the center of attention. I chalked it up to a cosmic glitch and insufficient psychotherapy.

Joanna Jul 26th, 2000 07:40 PM

It's not unusual for first timers anywhere overseas to suffer a little bit of culture shock. My first trip ever was to Asia when I was in my teens and the first day my sister and I felt very uncomfortable, particularly as we were lied to by a shopkeeper (I won't go into this story). By the end of the day, however, we were feeling much better and seemed to get over it. I'm not sure if it's an age thing or a culture thing really, but we were aged 18 and 19 respectively at the time. Although I have to admit we didn't dislike the place, just felt uncomfortable for some reason or other. Never felt that way again though. Our first European visit was to Greece and we loved it from the time we first glimpsed the acropolis from our taxi in from the airport.

cass Jul 27th, 2000 04:45 AM

How about a slightly different approach? <BR> <BR>If there are 2 veterans and 3 newbies, there's the possibility that the 2 veterans will be a little controlling, a little territorial, and a little know-it-all about introducing "their" Europe to the newbies. But if you remember your own first trip, you will remember that some of the magic was in your own sense of discovery and exploration. If they are uncomfortable with the strangeness of everything AND feel that the veterans are being all superior and all-knowing and telling them what to do and how to feel, it will just make it worse. <BR> <BR>Instead of giving the newbies assignments of homework just reading up on places and such, why not give them each the assignment of planning one (or more)day for the entire group in whichever place most appeals to them? That way, they not only will have to do a little familiarization with the place, they'll have a sense of control and investment in at least that part of the trip.

Rex Jul 27th, 2000 05:18 AM

You may want to see if you are on the same page with your newbies on the issue of elevators (lifts) in the hotels you have chosen. <BR> <BR>This generated more complaints than I expected on a recent trip - - even when guests were on the first floor. they kept asking - - "oh, so this is ANOTHER hotel which labels the ground floor as floor zero"? - - as if the previous one (or two or three) were aberrations. <BR> <BR>This was as much an issue with "veterans" who had never stayed anywhere but a Hilton or Sheraton on their previous trips to Europe. <BR> <BR>I won't call it "right" or "wrong" to stay in smaller ("more charming"?) places where there are nor elevators. But you might want to make sure that you and your newbies are of like mind on this. <BR> <BR>Best wishes, <BR> <BR>Rex

Crossref Jul 27th, 2000 10:08 AM

Be sure to see the other thread re:being stressed w/first-timers.

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