International Travel Planning: 6 Ways to Prepare for a Trip Abroad


International travel planning is a must these days. Traveling abroad is an adventure, but make no mistake about it: You’ve got to be prepared. 

This is truer now than ever in the COVID era, when different countries pose different risks. Furthermore, new variants are making future travel as unpredictable as it has been since early 2020. 

But that doesn’t mean you should avoid foreign travel altogether (except in places where medical experts advise against it). You just have to know what you’re likely to face in your destination and what challenges you might encounter getting there.

International Travel Planning: Preparing for Your Trip

International travel planning requires a little more patience than planning for a domestic trip. Don’t forget to get a check-up, build a budget, pack the essentials — and (of course) learn the language with the help of a language translation app!

1. Get a Check-Up

The CDC recommends you make an appointment with your physician or a travel health specialist at least a month before you plan to depart. Don’t wait to get a check-up on the books. You never know how busy your healthcare provider might be or how far out you’ll need to schedule an appointment, so make one as soon as you know when you plan to leave. 

Consult on any medical conditions you have and how they may interact with the environment where you’re going. Allergies and asthma are a couple of examples. You don’t want to wind up somewhere that triggers severe allergic reactions, or with poor air quality that might contribute to breathing problems.

You’ll also want to be aware of any illnesses that may be problems in specific areas you plan to travel. Some places pose a greater risk for malaria or yellow fever, for example, and may even require vaccinations in order to enter the country. Be sure you’re up to date on routine vaccinations, as well as the COVID vaccine. 

Also, different countries have different travel restrictions, ranging from COVID testing requirements within a specific date of arrival to health insurance requirements and bans on travel from certain countries. Check on your planned destination to make sure it’s safe to travel there and what’s required for you to do so.

2. Build a Budget

Set a realistic budget for your trip, and start setting aside money well before you leave. Know that costs may change before you, and give yourself a cushion. Airfares are rising and so are gas prices.

One of the most important international travel planning tips is building a budget. 

You should also research the exchange rate and how to pay for products and services at your destination. The Federal Reserve has a table of exchange rates that shows current rates and which way they’re headed. Have some cash on hand in local currency; you can typically obtain some at your local bank before you leave.

Plastic is typically a great option because it reduces fraud liability, but some companies charge a fee of 1% to 3% for using credit cards abroad. So, check with your card issuer before you go. You’ll also need to let them know you’ll be traveling so your purchases don’t get flagged and your card doesn’t get canceled. 

If you need a credit card but don’t have the best credit history, consider getting a secured card. In exchange for a deposit, you’ll receive a line of credit. As an added bonus, you’ll also build your credit as you use the card and make your payments on time. 

3. Learn the Language

Communication is important, and when in Rome (or anywhere else a different language is spoken), it’s a good idea to learn how to understand others and be understood yourself.

Where’s the restroom? How much does this cost? Can you tell me how to get to my next destination? These are all questions you should know how to ask – and you’ll need to be able to understand the answers. 

You can get a handle on some basic words and phrases by looking in surprising places (like Netflix, YouTube, and podcasts) or even by listening to music. You won’t be able to learn any language overnight, so take a translation app like Vocre with you. It’s the no. 1 voice translation mobile app for Android and iOS phones.

4. Don’t Forget to Pack

Different kinds of trips require different methods of packing — especially when it comes to international travel planning. If you’re driving over a land border, you’ll probably be able to take more than you will if you’re flying overseas, for example.

Determine how much room you’ll have and map out a list of items, beginning with necessities first, followed by the stuff you just want to take for convenience or fun. Consider the climate where you’re going (do you need a sweater, sunscreen, or both?). And don’t forget important legal documents, such as your medical insurance and prescription information, as well as personal protective equipment like masks and antibacterial wipes. 

Speaking of masks, more than 80% of countries require masks. Even if you don’t need one to get into a foreign country, you’ll have to have one in order to get back into the United States. 

If you don’t have a passport, get one as soon as possible. There are also ways to get a passport quickly, but some countries require your passport to be valid for a minimum of three to six months (or longer) before you’ll be allowed to enter. You may also need extra documentation, such as a letter of consent from the second parent in the event a child is traveling with only one parent.

5. Prepare for Emergencies

The first rule of emergency preparedness for travelers is simple: Always have a first aid kit on hand. From minor injuries to more serious medical emergencies, a well-stocked kit is bound to come in handy. You can buy one or compile it yourself using an online checklist. The Red Cross is a good place to start.

Depending on what type of trip you’re taking, there are other kits you may need. For example, if you’re road-tripping across Europe, follow this road trip checklist to make sure you have everything you need to make the trek.

6. Open your mind

Part of the point of traveling abroad is seeing – and appreciating – how the rest of the world works. By keeping an open mind, you’ll be able to experience other cultures to their fullest. 

As Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

By Molly Barnes, Digital Nomad Life


Best Language Translation Apps

Language translation apps have come a long way in the past decade. The best language translation apps can help us communicate with other cultures, understand business phrases, and even further our education.


Want to learn Spanish verb conjugation or French vocabulary? These apps for translation can also help us cross language barriers that could otherwise prevent us from getting to know one another. The best translation apps can do all of the above.


How to Find the Best Apps for Translation

When it comes to finding the best language translation apps, you’ll want to check out each app’s features and think about what you’ll use the app for.


Are you traveling to new and exciting places? Do you need language translation for school or business? Or are you simply learning a new language?


Some apps for translation specialize in language dictionaries while others focus on phrases. Some apps are all about translation while others can replace a live interpreter.


Check out the app stores and make sure to read the reviews of each app. Is the app responsive? Do the developers respond quickly to questions?


Best Language Translation App Features

Not all language translation apps are created equally. Some (often free apps like Google Translate or Microsoft Translator) have lots of features, bells, and whistles — but can’t translate text accurately.


If you’re searching for an app for translation that will help you communicate in the boardroom or the classroom (or even for last-minute travel), we recommend going for one that has at least a few of these features:


  • Accuracy
  • Voice translation
  • Offline translation
  • Translation tools
  • Camera translation (for menus and street signs)
  • Text translation
  • Real-time translation


Language Translation App Accuracy

Possibly one of the most important features of an app for translation is its accuracy. In fact, language translation software really doesn’t serve any purpose if its translations aren’t accurate!


Unfortunately, one of the main differences between paid and free apps is the app’s accuracy. Most of the free apps aren’t as accurate as the paid ones. To ensure an app is accurate before putting it to use, you’ll want to:


  • Try it out on a native speaker of another language
  • Research the app’s reviews
  • Compare its accuracy to the accuracy of other apps


Trying an app for translation out on a native speaker of another language (or checking out the app’s phrasebook and translation feature on two languages you already know) can determine its accuracy.


Most free apps offer literal translations and don’t account for figures of speech.


Voice Translation

Many free and paid apps now offer voice translation. Simply say what you want to say out loud with the voice activation feature activated. The app should translate the spoken word into your desired language.


There are two ways you’ll get your output: either in text or audio. Some apps are sophisticated enough to offer an audio translation while other apps simply offer the written one.


Obviously, voice input and output are ideal, but not all apps provide that. The most ideal feature is the ability to chat back and forth through the app on a smartphone without needing to read at all.


Offline Translation

What good is a translation app if you can only use it when you have access to the internet or data service?


So many of us use translation apps on the go, in internet dead spots, and while traveling. It’s pretty common to need a translation tool when you don’t have service.


Many paid and free apps offer the ability to download the entire app and phrasebook onto your smartphone, allowing you to access voice and/or text translations — even when you’re off the grid.


If you’re planning on using the app only during times when you’re expecting to have internet access, this may not be the most pressing feature on this list. But we always feel that it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to language translation.


The Vocre app offers translation without wi-fi or an internet connection. Simply download the phrasebook when you have a connection, and it’s available for you offline.


Real-Time Translation

One of the fanciest features of language translation apps is the ability to translate languages in real-time. Instead of waiting for your app to translate, some sophisticated apps can translate in real-time (like automated interpreters).


Less-Commonly Spoken Languages

Most translation apps come with the same list of commonly-spoken languages:


  • English
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Mandarin
  • Portuguese
  • German
  • Italian


But what if you need a translation for a language that isn’t so widely spoken across the world?


Many language translation apps offer translations for less-commonly spoken languages, like Tagalog, Khmer, Nepali, Kurdish, and more. These apps are helping schools, hospitals, and other organizations communicate with patients, students, and clients.


Malay-to-English translation, Telugu-to-English translation, and translating English to Khmer, you should be able to download a dictionary of less-common languages, too.


Most apps will translate the most common languages accurately and in text. But only some apps will translate these less-commonly spoken languages into English, French, Spanish, and more.


From how to say hello in Farsi to common French phrases and how to say hello in other languages, the best language translation apps will help you with the basics.


Paid Vs Free Language Translation Apps

The biggest difference between paid and free apps is the number of features the apps offer — and the app’s accuracy.


Yet we understand that not everyone needs a high-tech app that has all the bells and whistles.


That’s why we’ve compiled this list of both free and paid apps and included a list of features for each app. If you just need an app for literal translations, basic text translations, and the most common languages, we recommend the following free apps.


If you need an app that has voice input and output, includes a long list of languages translated, and is very accurate, we recommend checking out the list of paid apps.


Paid Language Translation Apps

Paid language translation apps offer plenty of features and are considerably more accurate than free apps. These apps are worth paying a few extra dollars a month because they’ll save you time — and probably a little bit of sanity.


Best Paid Translation App: Vocre

The Vocre app is one of the best paid apps available right now. We have a 4.7-star rating in the Apple store. Vocre reviewers love that the app offers voice output translation as well as text translations.


We often hear from teachers that are so grateful they found Vocre; before using the voice-output feature in the app, these teachers struggled to communicate with students that didn’t speak the language in the classroom.


The app allows you to instantly chat with someone in a foreign language. Use offline mode to take your translator with you wherever you go — whether or not you have internet access!


Vocre has been featured in BBC News, Tech Crunch, Gizmodo, Raconteur, and Life Hacker.


Chat with people in other languages, practically in real-time.


Paid Translation App Runner Up: Triplingo

While Vocre clocks in as the best language translation app in the paid category, we admit our app isn’t the only paid app on the market.


If you’re planning on traveling, you may want to download a translation app that offers a few other features, too. Triplingo’s app offers language translation as well as other travel services, such as a tip calculator, cultural notes, and safety tools.


Of course, the translation tool isn’t as highly rated as Vocre’s — but if you need the app for travel, we recommend its other helpful tools.


Free Language Translation Apps

Some of our favorite free language translation apps include Vocre’s own MyLanguage App, the ever-popular Google Translate (for its wide availability), and Amazon Translate (for its free features and upgradeable services).


MyLanguage App

Did you know that Vocre offers a free version of our popular paid app? When it comes to a light app that offers accurate translation and great reviews, MyLanguage is at the top of reviewers’ lists of 5-star free translation apps!


Translate English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Belarusian, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Burmese, Cambodian, Catalan, Cebuano, and more.


This free app offers a huge list of less-commonly spoken languages as well as translations for some of the most commonly-spoken ones on the planet.


Reviewers love how accurate this free app is. Even native speakers agree that the app is much more accurate than most of the other free apps in the Apple app store and Google Play.


Google Translate

Google is an oldie but a goodie. It’s possibly one of the most well-recognized translation apps available — thanks to Google brand recognition.


The app is readily available (right on your favorite search engine’s homepage) and for download in the app store.


While Google has been working hard to make its app more and more accurate, widely available, and ensure it includes less-common languages, this app still has its flaws.


Amazon Translate

Amazon offers both a paid and free version of its translation apps. If you need to check the meaning of a word in a pinch, this app will do just that for you.


The major downside is that after your free subscription is up, you’ll need to pay for each character you translate. The pay-as-you-go model is fine for those that only look up word translations here and there, but it’s not ideal for people that need daily translations.


Foreign Language Translations

Most translation apps can translate different languages, like French and Spanish, but did you know that the Vocre app can also translate less-common languages, too?


Just some of the language phrasebooks in the app include:


Where to Buy Translation Apps

The best translation apps are available for smartphones and iPads on the Google Play Store for Android and the app store for iPhone and iOS.


You can find the Vocre app on both the Google Play and Apple App stores.


What language translation apps are your favorite? Do you use apps for education or business translation? What about travel? What features would you like to see added to your favorite language translation apps? What languages would you like to see added to Vocre’s database?


Head to our Facebook page and let us know in the comments!

Good Morning in Greek

Learn how to say good morning in Greek, when to say it, and what to avoid doing if you don’t want to look like a Greek-speaking novice. Good morning is one of the most popular phrases that you can learn to say in pretty much any Western language. 


Facts About Greek

Greek is an Indo-European language that claims the title of the longest documented history of this family of languages. The Greek alphabet has been used for nearly 3,000 years, and it’s more than 3,000 years old. 


Here are a few fun facts about Greek and a few reasons why you might want to learn Greek yourself. 

Who speaks Greek?

More than 13 million people speak Greek all over the world. It’s the main language of the Mediterranean. 


About 365,000 people in the U.S. speak Greek, and the country saw a large wave of immigration during the 1800s and 1900s. Tens of thousands of Greeks flocked here to escape poverty back home.


Today, the largest population of Greek citizens in the U.S. live in New York (particularly in Queens in New York City) and New Jersey. 

Why learn Greek?

Greek is an important language! Many of our words and letters in English come from Greek, and many great works of literature were written in Greek.


If you want to read The Illiad, Medea, The Poetics, or other famous Greek works as they were written — in Greek — you’ll need to learn how to speak the language. 


Greek is the alpha and omega of the alphabet: the word alphabet means alpha plus beta! Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet (A) and beta is the second letter in their alphabet (B). 


While not all English letters correspond so closely with Greek letters (the last letter in the Greek alphabet isn’t Z — it’s omega, which means the end of everything). 


The New Testament was even originally written in Greek (not Latin or Italian!). 

How hard is Greek for English speakers?

We’re not gonna sugarcoat it for you: Greek isn’t an easy language to learn if your first language is English. 


Yes, we share a lot of words (and letters), but the two languages come from completely separate language families (English is a Germanic language). 


Experts believe that learning Greek for an English speaker is just as difficult as learning Hindi or Farsi. Of course, the Greek alphabet is totally different than the English alphabet, so you’ll need to learn a separate alphabet in addition to new vocab, grammar, and sentence structure. 


Check out our tips on how to learn Greek down below, should learning the ins and outs of this language get you down. 

How to Say Good Morning in Greek

Good morning is a very common phrase to say in Greece! You can use this phrase much of the day (not just first thing in the morning or before noon as we do in English-speaking countries).


To say good morning in Greek, you’d say, “Kaliméra!”


Since the Greek alphabet is different than the English alphabet, you’ll see the word kaliméra written like this: Καλημέρα. 

Kaliméra Pronunciation

Most English speakers find it easier to pronounce Greek words than words in languages that weren’t derived from Latin.


Of course, you wouldn’t pronounce everything in Greek the same as you would in English! The good news is that pronouncing Greek words is slightly easier than pronouncing words in some other languages (such as English).


Want even more good news? There are no silent letters in Greek! That means that you won’t need to worry if a letter is pronounced or not — unlike in English where words like gnome, name, or even bomb. 


When saying good morning in Greek, you could sort of sound out the word and say, “kah-lee-meh-rah.” 


Just make sure to take note of the accent above the e and emphasize the “meh” when pronouncing this word. 


If you really want to sound like a local, you may want to practice saying Greek words with a language translation app, like Vocre.


Vocre offers text-to-speech, speech-to-text, and even voice-to-voice translation. The best part is that you can download the app on your phone when you have wifi or cell service and continue to use it even if your signal is lost. 


Vocre is one of the best language translation apps available in the Apple Store for iOS or the Google Play Store for Android.

When to Say Kaliméra

For many of us English speakers, knowing when to say good morning is a little confusing. Different cultures use this phrase much differently than we do in the U.S.


You can use kaliméra to greet someone first thing in the morning or anytime in the morning really. You can also use this phrase in the afternoon.


When combined with the word yassas, kaliméra simply means hello. If you combine kaliméra with yassas, you’ll be greeting someone with more formality (which is ideal if you want to pay respect to someone, as with someone older or someone with more authority). 


Yassas on its own is a very informal greeting. 


If you want to greet someone in the afternoon, you could say, “kalo mesimeri.” Though, many Greek speakers do not use this phrase, so steer clear of it if you want others to think you’re a local or fluent in Greek.


You can use kalispera to say good evening or kalinychta to say good night. 

Greek Greetings

Don’t want to say good morning when you greet someone? Learning how to say hello in other languages can help you get a leg up on learning the language.


There are plenty of Greek greetings you can use to say hi, hey, how are you, nice to meet you, and much more! They include:


  • Yassas: hello
  • Ti kaneisi?: how are you doing?
  • Chárika gia ti gnorimía: nice to meet you


If you’re wandering the streets of Greece and you’re obviously a foreigner, there’s a good chance that you’ll hear the most common Greek greetings. Though, you may want to familiarize yourself with as many Greek greetings as possible!


The good news is that if you don’t already know many of these words before your trip, you will probably know them by the time you return home. 

Kalimena/Kalo Mena

One tradition in Greece that we don’t practice in the U.S. is to wish someone a happy month on the first day of the month. It’s kind of like saying, Happy New Year!” But you say it on the first day of each month — not just the first few days of January. 


Back in ancient times, the first day of each month was considered a mini holiday (like Saturdays or Sundays in the U.S., depending on your culture). 


We know we’d like to take a vote to go back to celebrating the first day of each month as a holiday!

Antío Sas/Kalinychta/Kalispera

If you want to use the evening equivalent of kaliméra, you could say, “Kalispera,” (to say good evening) or, “kalinychta,” (to say good night), or you could say… “kaliméra!”


Kalispera can be used at any time throughout the evening (after 5 p.m.), but kalinychta is only used as a way to say good night before you go to bed. 


You could also simply say goodbye or, “Antío sas.”


καλωσόρισμα noun. welcome

Another common greeting in Greek is kalo̱sórisma, which simply means welcome.


Another way to say hello to someone who is arriving at your home is, “Kalo̱sórisma,” or welcome. You may also hear this word when you first arrive in the country or get to your hotel. You may also hear this word at restaurants or stores, too. 

Greek Untranslatables

There are many words and phrases that simply cannot be translated from other languages into English. 


Because of cultural differences, many words in other languages don’t have a purpose in English (though we happen to think we should jump on this bandwagon and create some English translations of these super cool words!).


Some of our favorite Greek words that cannot be translated into English include:


Meraki: When you do something with so much soul, love, or flow state that a little piece of you is infused into what you’re doing. 


Philoxenia: Admiration for someone you don’t know; love for a stranger in a welcoming manner.


Nepenthe: A thing or action that helps you forget your suffering, anxiety, stress, or other negative feelings.


Eudaimonia: Feeling happy and content during travel.


We happen to love that last one — but then again, we may just be biased!

American English Vs British English

Learning English is hard enough on its own. When you take into account the fact that English words vary heavily between countries, regions, states, and cities, and learning nuanced words in English can feel downright impossible sometimes.


British words differ in meaning and context from American words. Discover the difference between American English vs. British English — and why these differences exist in the first place. 

American English Vs British English: A History

Like many other countries previously under British rule, America adopted English as its primary language. Yet While American English and British English share most of the same words, sentence structure, and grammar rules, the English most Americans speak today doesn’t sound like British English.


In 1776 (when America declared its independence over Britain), there were no standardized English dictionaries. (Though Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language had been published in 1755). 


The first English dictionary was published in 1604 (nearly two centuries after Columbus first traveled to North American). Unlike most English dictionaries, Robert Cawdrey’s Table Alphabeticall wasn’t published as a resource list of all English words. Instead, its purpose was to explain ‘hard’ words to readers that might not understand their meanings.

Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary was called for by the Philological Society of London in 1857. It was published between the years 1884 and 1928; supplements were added throughout the next century, and the dictionary was digitized in the 1990s.


While the OED standardized the spelling and definitions of words, it didn’t make major changes to their spelling. 

Noah Webster Dictionary

Noah Webster’s first dictionary was published in 1806. This was the first American dictionary, and it distinguished itself from British dictionaries by changing the spelling of some words.


Webster believed that American English should create its own spelling of words — words that Webster himself believed to be inconsistent in their spelling. He created a new spelling of words that he considered to be more aesthetically pleasing and logical. 


Major spelling changes included:


  • Dropping the U in some words like colour
  • Abandoning the second silent L in words like travelling
  • Changing the CE in words to SE, like defence 
  • Dropping the K in words like musick
  • Dropping the U in words like analogue
  • Changing the S in words like socialise to Z


Webster also learned 26 languages that are considered the basis for English (including Sanskrit and Anglo Saxon). 

American English Vs. British English Spelling Differences

The differences between American spelling and British spelling that were initiated by Noah Webster remain intact to this day. Americans generally do not spell words like color with a U or words such as music with the K at the end.


We also drop the second silent L in words like traveling and spell defense and offense with an SE instead of CE. 


British English essentially uses the spelling of words from the language they were adopted. These words, called loanwords, make up nearly 80% of the English language!


Languages English has ‘borrowed’ words from include:


  • Afrikaans
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Dutch
  • French
  • German 
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Latin 
  • Malay
  • Maori
  • Norwegian
  • Persian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Sanskrit
  • Scandinavian
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Yiddish


American English Vs. British English Pronunciation Differences

The main differences between the ways Americans pronounce words and the way Brits say them are pretty obvious to even an untrained ear. Yet, there is a specialized, standardized difference in the pronunciation of English words. 


To make matters more confusing, United States citizens don’t have just one type of accent — and there are also variations on British accents, depending on where you live in the United Kingdom. 

Pronunciation of the Letter A

One of the most common differences in pronunciation between American and British English is the letter A. The British usually pronounce As as “ah” whereas Americans pronounce As stronger; As sound more like the ones in the word ack than abhor.

Pronunciation of the Letter R 

The British also don’t always pronounce the letter R when it’s preceded by a vowel, such as in the words park or horse. (Though, depending on where you’re from in the U.S., you might not pronounce Rs either. In some parts of Massachusetts residents drop their Rs, too). 

Grammar Differences

American and British English don’t just differ in spelling and pronunciation. There are also grammatical differences between the two, also. 

One of the main differences is that Brits use the present perfect tense more than Americans do. An example of present perfect tense would be, “Tom can’t find his shoes anywhere; he’s given up on finding them.”


Singular verbs always follow collective nouns in American English. For example, Americans would say, “The herd is migrating north,” while Brits say, “the herd are migrating north.”

Vocabulary Differences

Vocabulary can vary within different states, cities, and regions in one country alone. So, it’s no surprise that American vocab is very different from vocab words used across the pond. Some of the most common words that Brits use differently than Americans include:


  • Chips (French fries)
  • Bank holiday (federal holiday)
  • Jumper (sweater)
  • Current account (checking account)
  • Dust bin (garbage can)
  • Flat (apartment)
  • Postcode (zipcode)
  • Skimmed milk (skim milk)
  • Biscuit (cracker)

Other Common English Language Differentiantions 

So which form of English is correct? While there is a noticeable difference between varieties of English (especially between the English spoken in the U.K. and the U.S.), there is no one right or wrong way to pronounce these words. 


Because world-famous TV shows are filmed in the U.S., many people that learn English as a second language learn American English. Yet because the British empire colonized so much of the world, teachers speak British English. 


Other areas of the world where English spelling, vocab, and grammar differ include Canada and Australia. 


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