By Rachael Funk
Visiting a new destination can be tricky! Tapping into the status quo and knowing what might or might not be appreciated during your trip isn't going to happen immediately. Lucky for you, we have a quick guide to what you should do and what you should avoid doing during your fabulous Welsh getaway!
DO get your shopping done by 6
When you’re staying in a major city like Cardiff, you'll probably have better luck with retailers being open late. Once you’re away from the city, however, things are going to be all closed up by 6 pm. Gas stations and grocery stores can sometimes be open later than that, but double check the hours online or ask a local for input so you don’t find yourself stranded and peckish.
DO bring several pairs of shoes
Wales is an outdoor vacation destination! They’ve got hiking trails to walk, coastlines to visit, and castles to explore! It’s likely you’ll see a little rain on your trip (it IS Wales, after all - that lush scenery didn’t pop up out of nowhere). It’s a great idea to bring at least one pair of sturdy hiking boots that can take some mud and water, one pair of walking shoes, and a pair of shoes for when you’re in town.
DO get a rental car (with GPS!)
This is going to be your best option for transportation during your trip. With a rental car, you’ll be able to go out to see the castles, National Parks, and city. The roads there can be narrow and winding, so it helps a lot to have a car with GPS installed to help you find your way if things get confusing.
Pro Tip: Don’t assume the GPS on your cell phone will be enough - the further you get from the city, the less likely you’ll be to find a signal!
DO make pit stops
Wales is studded with castles and perfect views, so give yourself plenty of extra drive time. That way, when you pass something striking, you can pull over and spend some time exploring!
DON’T miss out on the steam trains
What better way is there to explore a new landscape than up-close from the comfort of a classic carriage? You'll be able to check out the flora and fauna of the country without hiking the 141-mile Heart of Wales Line Trail or risking getting caught in the rain!
DON’T mix up Wales and England
The Welsh are the Welsh and the English are the English, so don’t mix up the two. It can be a touchy subject!
DON'T be disrespectful of the Welsh language
Nobody disagrees that the Welsh language is fun to hear, but don't make the mistake of making fun of it. The language is a beautiful part of Welsh culture that should be appreciated! In 2009, the UN issued a warning that the language could face extinction by the end of the century if nothing was done. In the 10 years since then, speakers of the language have significantly increased. The Welsh government has a goal of one million people speaking Welsh by 2050.
Pro Tip: if you're socializing with Welsh speakers, don't always expect the conversation to be held in English solely for your benefit. Some American tourists hold the mistaken belief that when they enter a pub or other public place, people may switch to Welsh but it's quite likely they were already speaking Welsh before you walked in.
DON'T refer to Prince Charles as "The Prince of Wales"
The last recognized prince was Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (or Llywelyn the Last), who was assasinated in the 1200s. Some people feel the issue is irrelevant in the 21st century, but others are insulted by giving the title to the heir to the English throne. Better to not find out who subscribes to which opinion that hard way - that's a great way to ruin a night out!