I know, what could one possibly learn from a reality show like Jersey Shore? The answer: not much, really. However, with this season in Florence, Italy, I actually found that it could be quite enlightening for travelers, especially someone who is new to international travel. Which is why, I’ve complied a list with some travel lessons to be learned through watching the first two episodes of this season.
Do try to pick up the language. I was impressed with some of the cast members’ willingness to at least try to pick up the language. Vinnie seems to have a base for the Italian, and I’ve at least seen an attempt from Pauly D. and Deana. Picking up a little bit of the language will go a long way, and the people of the country you are in will be happy that you are trying. Sometimes, a little can go a long way.
Don’t expect electrical appliances to work. I learned this the hard way in London when I was a junior in college visiting a friend who was studying abroad, and the cast seemed to learn in their first night in Italy. Even with converters, you can still blow out your coveted straightening iron or hair dryer. If you are going somewhere long term, as the cast members are, wait until you get to your destination and buy your electrical appliances there. Trust me, it will save you a lot of trouble.
Do head to the grocery store. Even if you are only in the country for a few days, I suggest heading to the local grocery store or market. I was impressed that several of the cast members went out to buy ingredients for their Sunday dinner. Heading out to grocery shop will help you get a different view of the country, plus you can pick up some snacks that you’re unlikely to get anywhere else in the world.
Don’t over-pack. This is the biggest travel mistake and clearly, the cast of the Jersey Shore didn’t get the memo. The amount of bags they brought is completely absurd. I am an avid believer that one should pack in a carry-on, since it’s the easiest to trek around, especially if you come across cobblestone roads. For long-term travel, I can understand bringing one larger bag, not five or six. First of all, the fees airlines now charge are getting ridiculous and there is no real reason why you should have to pay them. Second, you can find a place to do laundry at your destination, I promise. Less luggage means a more enjoyable stay.
Do try to at least know a little bit about where you are going. I rarely research a place before I get there because I like to explore it on my own. I also like to be surprised by what I discover. However, you should know at least a little bit about where you are. The fact that Snookie says “I love Rome,” in the middle of Florence, and that Ronnie thinks the Duomo is actually the Vatican, where “Da Vinci painted on the ceiling,” is a serious problem. At least know enough to look intelligent to on-lookers.
Do go out and explore the first night there. While you may be exhausted from hours of travel, you should at least take advantage of your first night. Even after a long day of traveling from New York to Bangkok, I managed to explore Khao San Road, and after five hours in a bus with no air-con in Vietnam, we showered and still headed out to explore the bar scene. Take a shower, take a nap, or change your clothes, then get out there and enjoy your new temporary home.
Who knew the cast of Jersey Shore had anything teach us? But, surprisingly, you can learn something. And, with these tips in mind, you are sure to have a successful trip overseas.