When you travel to another country, you must remember that it has its own culture and customs. If you don’t respect another nation’s culture, you can make a fool of yourself or even get into a lot of trouble. It should also be noted that by acting disrespectfully, you will give the local citizens a bad impression of the people from your country of origin.
If you’re planning to travel abroad, we’ve put together some tips on how to be culturally sensitive on your trip.
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Misbehavior is unfortunately very common when it comes to tourists from certain countries. In fact, according to Survey results from CompareTheMarket Travel Insurance As can be seen below, a large percentage of Australian, Canadian and American tourists admit to engaging in inappropriate behavior while abroad. Unwanted tourist behavior usually occurs when drinking alcohol or using drugs; however, it can also happen when they are unfamiliar with the culture of their destination. Things that seem harmless to tourists can be very disrespectful to locals.
Do some research
The best way to avoid disrespecting someone while traveling is to research the culture of your destination. Wherever you go, you should learn about the culture and customs of the place. Besides using search engines, you can also look at a forum like Reddit, which may have a specific sub-forum for your destination. Forums are a great way to interact with locals and ask them what they think is disrespectful. Armed with this information, you can completely avoid cultural faux pas and offending people.
Respect local laws
This point should be obvious, but unfortunately, many tourists go out and break the law while on vacation. As a general rule, don’t try to do anything that violates the law of where you live and you should be fine. However, in religious countries such as Saudi Arabia, you should do additional research on the country’s laws before traveling. Many foreigners have faced problems in Saudi Arabia because the country’s laws are based on Islamic Sharia.
A big mistake that many travelers make is this stereotype of people: not all Englishmen drink tea, not all Frenchmen eat baguettes, and not all Germans eat sausages. Stereotypes are harmful because they often lead to discriminatory behavior. The best way to eradicate any stereotypes or ideas you may have about the people of the nation you are visiting is to do some online research. Again, you can contact people through online forums and ask them if your ideas are unfounded. Breaking down stereotypes will help you see people in your destination for who they really are.
Kindness and compassion
Wherever you go in the world, you must be kind and compassionate. When you travel to another country, you are an ambassador for your people. Your behavior can shape the opinions and perspectives of your fellow countrymen in the minds of the locals you meet. If you do not behave with respect, kindness and compassion, you can make your country look very bad. You are staying in someone else’s country and therefore you should respect them.
Be a seeker
Finally, show that you are curious, interested, and sincere when talking to people abroad. If you are not interested in the culture or history of your travel destination and just want to enjoy yourself, then do it in a way that doesn’t offend others and be polite when talking to others. Be sure to drink alcohol and control yourself. If you have a low tolerance for alcohol, then bring a friend to babysit you so you don’t do anything irresponsible.
It can also cost a little to learn the local language of your travel destination so that you can communicate more effectively.