Croatia/Serbia Travelling Help???

  1. Sign up to become a TPF member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It's free and quick to sign up, so join the discussion right now!
    Dismiss Notice
Our PurseForum community is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker. Thank you!
  1. Hi everyone! I *may* be leaving for a European trip to the areas of Croatia/Serbia, Germany and Italy in May. I emphasize "may" because my decision will be greatly influenced by your comments and advice. I've never been to Europe before, and would like it to be a positive experience for my first time. :sweatdrop:


    I'm Chinese, I speak Cantonese and English fluently, have high-school knowledge of French, and have picked up a few greetings in Yugoslavian. I've heard that UK and France are generally friendly to Asian tourists, but despite all my google searches, I can't seem to find the attitude or friendliness of locals to Asian tourists (from N.America). I will be travelling with BF, and may have to meet his extended family, and would like to avoid any confrontations on my first venture into Europe. Here are some questions I'm posing, I'd really appreciate any and all advice/suggestions/tips. *hugs* :yes:


    -Would I be attracting too much negative attention if I travel with him?
    -Do family members there take "meeting the gf" too seriously?
    -Are there any cultural norms/etiquette I should be aware of?
    -What are appropriate gifts to bring? (What are popular brands there that are cheap in N.America? Victoria's Secret? Coach? Chanel/Dior makeup? Tommy Hilfiger/Guess?)
    -I understand that there may still be resentment between Croatia/Serbia/Bosnia, other than avoiding political topics and past war references, anything else I can do to possibly diffuse the situation?
    -Is it safe to travel now with the Kosovo situation?
    -Is it safe for N.Americans to travel right now?
    -What are locals' attitudes towards Asian tourists?
    -I will be in small villages, is the issue of landmines as dangerous as the travel advisory makes it sound?
    -I can listen in on conversations fairly well, and can speak several greetings/questions. Should I be keeping quiet in public if I wish to avoid attention to our group?
    -What sort of clothing should I be wearing in May to try to blend in?



    Any other advice will be great too, now I'm only starting to understand why BF had so many questions last year when we travelled to Asia. :idea:
     
  2. -Would I be attracting too much negative attention if I travel with him? It depends where you go in Serbia/Crotia, if you go to Bosnia, you might get a few looks as they don't see too many people of Asian descent in that area. In belgrade there are actually many Asians that have opened up stores so you will be fine

    -Do family members there take "meeting the gf" too seriously?
    Depends on the family
    -Are there any cultural norms/etiquette I should be aware of?
    We kiss each other on the cheeks 3 times vs 2 times in most countries
    -What are appropriate gifts to bring? (What are popular brands there that are cheap in N.America? Victoria's Secret? Coach? Chanel/Dior makeup? Tommy Hilfiger/Guess?)
    They do know Guess, Tommy & Chanel. They are really into sports wear like Nike, Addidas etc. D&G too
    -I understand that there may still be resentment between Croatia/Serbia/Bosnia, other than avoiding political topics and past war references, anything else I can do to possibly diffuse the situation?
    Simply don't mention it, easiest way not to have any problems
    -Is it safe to travel now with the Kosovo situation?
    Not sure so I can't answer this one
    -Is it safe for N.Americans to travel right now?
    Yes
    -What are locals' attitudes towards Asian tourists?
    Not that I know of
    -I will be in small villages, is the issue of landmines as dangerous as the travel advisory makes it sound?
    Not at all
    -I can listen in on conversations fairly well, and can speak several greetings/questions. Should I be keeping quiet in public if I wish to avoid attention to our group? A lot of people speak english so you should be fine
    -What sort of clothing should I be wearing in May to try to blend in?
    Jeans, t-shirts, the streets aren't the greatest so they are brutal on your heels

    If you have any other questions, feel free to pm me
     
  3. ^^^ Thank you, I really appreciated your answers and feel much better about going now. I've booked a ticket and will be leaving in May :biggrin:
     
  4. I’m going to preface my answers with the fact that I’m Asian, born and raised in America, have lived in Europe for the past 5 years, and have traveled to Croatia and Serbia and have many friends from the area:

    -Would I be attracting too much negative attention if I travel with him? No
    -Do family members there take "meeting the gf" too seriously?
    Depends on the family, but usually Europeans are very casual when it comes to romantic relationships. For example, any European couples live together and it’s not viewed as a serious step in the relationship (whereas most Americans would view it as a VERY serious step).
    -Are there any cultural norms/etiquette I should be aware of? The kissing/greeting concept that pisdapsia79 pointed out is important. 3 kisses for most Eastern countries, 2 kisses for western Europe
    -What are appropriate gifts to bring? (What are popular brands there that are cheap in N.America? Victoria's Secret? Coach? Chanel/Dior makeup? Tommy Hilfiger/Guess?) I’d ask your boyfriend to suggest a few items. Perhaps a nice silk scarf for his mother and a good bottle of wine/spirits for his father?
    -I understand that there may still be resentment between Croatia/Serbia/Bosnia, other than avoiding political topics and past war references, anything else I can do to possibly diffuse the situation?
    It’s a sensitive topic - Do not talk about it
    -Is it safe to travel now with the Kosovo situation?
    Yes
    -Is it safe for N.Americans to travel right now?
    Yes
    -What are locals' attitudes towards Asian tourists?
    They are open and friendly towards tourists. Living there as an Asian person is a different story, but we won’t get into that…
    -I will be in small villages, is the issue of landmines as dangerous as the travel advisory makes it sound?
    No
    -I can listen in on conversations fairly well, and can speak several greetings/questions. Should I be keeping quiet in public if I wish to avoid attention to our group?
    You can hear Americans in Europe a mile away because they speak very loudly compared to the locals. Most people speak English so don’t be afraid to chime in on conversations, just don’t be too loud so you won’t attract too much unwanted attention.
    -What sort of clothing should I be wearing in May to try to blend in? The weather in May should be mild/warm. Wear the same thing you would normally wear at home (be comfortable), but avoid wearing large white trainers as that’s VERY American.

    Feel free to ask if you have any other Qs. I hope this helps!
     
  5. Hi!
    I live in Croatia, so perhaps I can try to answer some of your questions regarding my country. When it comes to Serbia, Germany and rest of the countries you plan to visit, I really have no advice to give since I am a foreigner there myself.

    -Would I be attracting too much negative attention if I travel with him?
    I don't see why would you. Perhaps people will look at you from time to time because we don't have many foreign students around the city, but that's all. I think you will get the least attention if you got to the Adriatic coast because they are used to see many visitors from all over the world during the summer season.

    -Do family members there take "meeting the gf" too seriously?
    Well, some. Especially if you are dating for a while. There are many conservative families (Croatia is a catholic country) but I wouldn't say that there are more than in the rest of the world.

    -Are there any cultural norms/etiquette I should be aware of?
    None that I can think of.

    -What are appropriate gifts to bring? (What are popular brands there that are cheap in N.America? Victoria's Secret? Coach? Chanel/Dior makeup? Tommy Hilfiger/Guess?)
    Again, there is no rule. It's not like there is something you would normally bring when you visit people in other countries and that would be considered rude or impolite in Croatia. From the above mentioned list of brands, Coach and VS are not being sold, but people are familiar with all of these.

    -I understand that there may still be resentment between Croatia/Serbia/Bosnia, other than avoiding political topics and past war references, anything else I can do to possibly diffuse the situation?
    Although the war did affect us a great deal, I don't think it would be considered a taboo topic. People resent more to the way the past war and its victims are being represented to the world by out politicians than to the neighbor countries.

    -Is it safe to travel now with the Kosovo situation?
    I really wouldn't know this. Never been to Serbia or Kosovo before, so I can't really tell...

    -Is it safe for N.Americans to travel right now?
    Safe as all other nationalities:smile:!

    -What are locals' attitudes towards Asian tourists?
    I don't think there are some general attitudes. But as I said before, there are not that many Asian girls in Croatia in general, so some people might be a little curious (like kids:smile:).

    -I will be in small villages, is the issue of landmines as dangerous as the travel advisory makes it sound?
    Well, there still are some areas where is a potential danger of mines, but these are marked as such. If you don't plan to go camping in one of those, you don't have to worry :nogood:!

    -I can listen in on conversations fairly well, and can speak several greetings/questions. Should I be keeping quiet in public if I wish to avoid attention to our group?
    People speak English fairly well, especially the younger ones (students etc.). So you can switch to English, and everything will be fine.:tup:

    -What sort of clothing should I be wearing in May to try to blend in?
    Currently I'm in Sweden, so can't tell you what the weather is like at the moment, but typical spring clothes would do (mixture of short sleeved blouses and tees). But also bring some trench/jacket along. Fashion trends are the same as in the Europe (mostly high street fashion).

    If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!
    Have a nice journey! :tup:




     
  6. ^^^^ Thank you to everyone who has replied to my questions!


    I feel much more at ease and am totally excited now to visit Serbia and Croatia. I'm leaving on the trip in an hour, and have printed out all your comments and advice. Thanks again!
     
  7. Oops, might be too late ...however, if you get internet service and view this forum -I just wanted to say have a super fun and safe trip Lyn! ;D I'll be waiting to hear your stories when you're back home!
     
  8. I'm too late, however if there's someone interested in visiting Belgrade, I strongly recommend that you visit Kalemegdan, Zemun, Skadarlija and Ada. For the best grilled meat, check "Dak" and "Cica". As for a place to stay, there are a lot of hotels, hostels but I'd recommend you to do what I did, book an apartment for rent Belgrade. I've used belgradeeye.com and http://srbija-nekretnine.org/short-term-rentals. The latter proved to be an excellent choice as they have great prices and selection of short term rent apartments.