When it comes to travel, your manners are the carry on that matters most.
Travel broadens the mind, but there are often an unwritten rules governing behavior. From the expectations of other tourists to ingrained traditions and customs, and you do not want to offend.
To avoid making a faux pas that ruins your trip, learn these etiquette tips that can help make your trip a whole lot easier.
Be mindful that you are the guest
In Japan, it is acceptable to slurp noodles, in China, it’s normal to burp after a meal. So when you travel to those Asian nations,kept your mouth shut. If you are the guest, it i up to you to fit in, not the other way round.
Avoid talking politics
Whether BREXIT in Britain or President Trump in the US, it’s never a good idea to express an opinion about politics in a country that is not your own. When passions run high, it’s all too easy to upset hosts, so play it safe and confine yourself to the role of interested listener. Of course, if asked your opinion it may be safe to engage in conversation, but remember to be courteous, and respectful of others’ perspectives.
Do not try to adopt local slang
In an effort to fit in, you might be tempted to adopt local slang. But while raising your glass and saying “Cheers Mate” in a London pub is absolutely fine, calling everyone “me ol’ china” is not. Unless you want to be accused of mockery or treated with derision, it’s best to avoid Cockney rhyming slang or its equivalent. Note that blindly adopting slang is different from making a conscious effort to learn the language. But still, until you understand the culture and people, hold off on the more wild slang terms.
Do not haggle too much, or too hard
Head to the labyrinthine souks of Marrakesh or the markets of Guatemala and if you pay full price, you will be laughed after. Unfortunately, the enthusiastic traveler can take things a little too far in their efforts to get a good deal. Haggle too hard and you risk a desperate trader missing out on vital income that could have been spent feeding a family. Bargain a little to play along, but never so much that your sale is going to cause harm. A few dollars might be nothing to you, but ask yourself if the same can be said for the stallholder and act accordingly.
Keep out of the way
Spoiling someone’s photograph to get your own is just not acceptable. Leave the selfie stick at home and if you’re visiting a popular site, pay attention to what’s going on around you. If you want to take a whole bunch of snapshots, step aside to let others get theirs and carry on when they’re done. Ride a busy Metro at rush hour by all means, but move over on an escalator if you are blocking someone’s way. You might be on holiday but locals have to get to work, so do not make their commute difficult. Respecting other people’s space is also important on planes, trains and buses. Check you are not going to knock hot coffee over a fellow passenger before reclining your seat and stow your bags on the overhead racks rather than on the seat next to you.
Dress and behave appropriately
It is common knowledge that you need to cover your head, shoulders, knees and even ankles when going into many religious buildings. Pointing the soles of your bare feet at someone in Thailand is insulting, as is patting someone even a child on the head. Hand gestures are also fraught with risk. The thumbs up sign that will win you fans across Europe could well get you arrested in Iran, while the “I’m fine” signal used by divers everywhere is off the table in Brazil as it has a whole other meaning. Read up before you go to make sure you have done your homework.
What it comes down to is respect. If we respect others, then we can all enjoy this beautiful planet of ours and that what travel is supposed to be about.
Enjoy your travels