Visiting other countries is a great experience, and we’re fortunate enough to live in an era where traveling is relatively accessible. However, to truly enjoy your experience and come home a better person, you need to respect the cultures of the country you’re going to visit. Here are a few tips on how you can do that.
Research About the Place You’re Going To
Before traveling to a new location, you should always do your research. It is critical to conduct extensive study on national laws, customs, cultures, political conditions, and the predominant religion (and also the most common religious practices). It prepares you for what to anticipate as a foreigner and teaches you the fundamentals of daily living such as dress, food, and conduct. For example, taking photos of people is frowned upon in certain cultures. In some instances, wearing shoes inside the house is frowned upon, while in others, it’s perfectly fine. Kissing and greeting individuals are typical in certain places, yet other cultures openly restrain from exhibiting affection.
Begin your study by checking your government’s travel advice website to monitor any warnings and advisories, then go on to guidebooks, online reviews, blogs and vlogs, and news sites for further information on cultural taboos and things to avoid. It will assist you in avoiding awkward or even unlawful situations. Don’t stop learning once you’ve arrived at your new location- there’s a lot to learn and even more to discover.
Wear the Appropriate Clothing
Different countries often have their own socio-cultural rules for what is considered generally acceptable, and they can sometimes be very distinct. This also includes what kind of clothing is appropriate to wear. It is essential to know what they are so you can mingle with the natives everywhere you go. You might accidentally insult others or dress in an attention-grabbing manner, so spend some time learning how natives dress in various settings.
Some countries, for example, compel women (and sometimes men) to cover their hair, shoulders, arms, and legs in various religious and cultural locations. In some countries, all you need to do is wear thematic clothing, so if you’re going to a rustic wedding venue, dressing for the theme is appropriate. Dress appropriately and avoid apparel with offensive graphics as a general guideline. If the natives dress conservatively, you should wear similar clothing as a gesture of respect. This also applies to showy accessories like high-priced phones, flashy earrings, necklaces, watches, and other jewelry pieces. All of them will identify you as a wealthy tourist and may draw unwelcome attention.
Know a Bit of the Local Language
Among the biggest problems you’re likely going to encounter when you travel overseas is language limitation. It’s a great idea to learn a few fundamental words and phrases before you even leave your country to make your vacation more seamless. Doing this will also assist you in connecting with the local community better, resulting in an overall better stay. When you try to learn a local language, you show that you are interested in learning about that language and the culture of the country you’re visiting.
Even learning a few short phrases is appreciated and can bring a smile to a local you’re talking to, and that might even mean additional help! Always carry a language book or even a translating app to aid you in getting used to the language. Non-verbal language like body language is also an essential element of language and culture. The different forms of polite and unpleasant gestures must be known before visiting a new region. In certain nations, seemingly innocent gestures (OK sign, thumbs up, peace sign ‘Devil’s horns’ hand sign, etc.) can have a negative connotation.
Ask Before You Snap
Who doesn’t like taking amazing pictures of memorable moments throughout their travels? However, before we go on and snap away, it’s always best to ask permission first. As a matter of fact, in many cultures, it’s rude to take photos of areas and not mind the people who will be part of the picture. Many locals are just quietly living their lives and would appreciate it if their privacy is respected. Consider the following: would you want a random person taking pictures of you when you’re doing your own business?
If someone allows you to take a picture of them, you should show them the picture and get their approval before sharing it on the internet. There are areas where photography is always a terrible idea, such as military bases, company offices, police facilities, private areas, and airport security.
Make sure to respect the local culture and customs of the places you’ll visit, and you’ll have the time of your life.