Travel Etiquette | How to Act Properly in a Foreign Country
Are you planning a vacation? Do you want to have some fun while traveling abroad? International tours to other countries may be great, but a lot of those who join them often do not know how to conduct themselves properly when touring.
Some are too rude, or too bossy to the local residents as if they owned the place when, in fact, they’re only visitors. Don’t be one of these uncivilized tourists; instead, choose to be a traveler who respects other cultures. Choose to stay classy. Follow these travel tips and learn how to act properly in a foreign country.
Immerse Yourself in the Foreign Country’s Culture
One of the perks of traveling is gaining new knowledge that can only be obtained from foreign countries. You may read about your destination in online blogs and articles, but a strange and foreign culture is best learned through actual experience.
Ask the locals directly how they do things, what their traditions are, and how they live. It’s also a good idea to ask them about what the proper travel etiquette is when in their country, as they may their own idea of acceptable behavior for travelers.
Don’t try to demean them by comparing your country’s best practices with their worst. Every country has their own pros and cons, and a different cultural perspective on life. What’s bad for you may be good to them and vice versa. Don’t judge them for that; instead, try to see it from their eyes, and by doing so, you’ll expand your insight and learn how to respect their culture.
Learn the Local Language
A lot of countries have English as their secondary language, but they usually do not have a perfect grasp on it, especially on nuances like slang and idioms. Try to learn some basic words and phrases in the local tongue. You’ll endear yourself to the natives and give you a head start to being truly connected with them. Furthermore, if your goal is to find a foreign woman as a life-long marriage partner, then learning her language will give you bonus points during courtship and bring you one step closer to wedlock.
It may be difficult to learn a new language. Fortunately, some countries sell dictionaries of their language with English translations. You may not have the time to learn enough of the language to use it for conversations so concentrate on learning useful phrases.
Learn how to ask for directions, for the time, or for how much an item costs as well as common expressions like hello and goodbye and please and thank you. Don’t worry too much about your diction.
A polite attitude and a smile can make people overlook the flaws of your language skills. If all else fails, make jokes about your own difficulties. Humor always makes things easier.
Treat the Locals with Kindness
Remember the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you are kind to people, they’ll be kind to you in return. That’s even more important when you’re a stranger in a foreign country. The locals will be more welcoming to you and be more eager to help you if you are friendly to them.
Even in third-world countries, where you’d think the natives will pamper you because you’re a foreigner with money, kindness will still go a long way. Most people from third-world countries have a strong sense of gratitude—it’s part of their traditional values. Even if you run out of money, the people will still take care of you, especially if you’ve been good to them.
So regardless if the country that you plan to visit is rich or poor, always remember to treat the locals with kindness. Just be a decent human being, and you’ll earn the natives’ trust and friendship.
Try to Be Like a Professional Diplomat
When you visit other countries for business, leisure, or any other purpose, you’re there not just for yourself but also as an informal representative of your own country. Your actions will influence how the other country’s residents see your fellow countrymen back home. That’s how stereotypes develop. You don’t want to shame your homeland, do you?
If you make a mistake and offend a native, own up to it and take responsibility. Make amends for any damages incurred so long as it is lawful. Most of the time, local residents will shrug off minor slights if you sincerely apologize, but if it is a truly major issue and you don’t have the means to solve it, contact your embassy for advice. They’ll be able to resolve matters in a just way or reach a compromise that’s mutually beneficial for all parties involved.
Always Keep Your Wits About You and Use Common Sense
Basically, travel etiquette and travel tips are based off on common sense and proper courtesy. If you think that an act is offensive, then don’t do it. If you think you need to know the current events of the country you’ll be visiting, read up on them.
Don’t turn off your wits or your common sense. You will maximize the enjoyment you get from your vacation or tour if you always keep your wits about you; plus, you will also stay safe. A foreign country isn’t a kindergarten playground where you can do whatever you want. It’s got real people and real laws. Think of your destination country as if it’s your own but with a different culture. You may find some common things between yourself and the locals. We’re still part of the same human race, breathing the same air, and living on the same Earth.