Thanks to social media, people are exploring other sides of the world more than ever. It is wonderful because earth has so much to offer. It becomes bad only when people really treat places and cultures they’re visiting as a toy or an object. It is understandable that you are travelling to a country you’re not familiar with, but you have an important duty as a tourist to try and respect everything in that country.
1. Observe The Locals
When you are in the country, you’re in a perfect position to observe what the locals do so you don’t end up doing something respectful by accident. For instance, look around when walking on the street of Tokyo. Are people loud? Do couples show public affection? Then follow their lead.
This way it shows that you respect people around you and you’re just here to be in this different atmosphere and environment.
2. Keep An Open Mind
There will be things you don’t agree about how the community is run or they do things such as:
- Treatment of gender in the middle eastern
- The way Asia cook food with less concerns of hygiene
- Japanese and German perception of public affection
But remember, you are in their countries not your own. You’re just there to observe and learn about their ways of living so if you have opinions against their culture then keep them inside.
3. Be Apologetic
You would be surprised how much people forgive tourists, at least for small, unintentional mistakes. It’s like when you accidentally step on someone’s foot, you apologise. The thing is you will end up making some mistakes, if you’re making those mistakes to the locals directly then it is a good manner to say sorry. But other times, just keep your eyes out for disapproving stares then you will realise that what you’re doing might make the locals feel uncomfortable.
4. Look Out For Signs At Tourist Attractions
Locals are aware of tourists not knowing the traditions, especially at famous attractions. For instance, at Wat Arun in Bangkok, Thailand has a sign by the front gate instructing tourists what to wear and things you shouldn’t do when entering the temple.
Those signs are put up for a good reason. It is for visitors to not accidentally or intentionally disrespect important places. Therefore, do follow what they’re saying.
5. Try Learning Some Words In The Language
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Locals actually appreciate and enjoy seeing tourists making an effort to learn their language, as long as you use it politely. One thing that is very common is tourists speaking English loudly because the locals don’t speak English. This doesn’t always work and if you think about it, it’s kind of rude. What can be done instead is you can learn words that are people say a lot such as ‘hello’, ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’ and such.
By doing this, you can also surprise the people you’re talking that language because they usually don’t expect to hear visitors speaking to them in their language!