We’re all young and adventurous and dying to see what the world has to offer, but sometimes we forget that travelling requires a certain level of maturity. Visiting other countries (the right way) means respecting the customs and following the etiquette. Here’s how to avoid being THAT person when travelling to a foreign land:
1. Don’t be a picky eater
Shocking as it may seem, most countries outside of the Western world don’t have a Starbucks and McDonalds on every corner. You can try to order a burger or chicken nuggets in Peru, but I guarantee the results may not be as expected. To fully enjoy your experience, remain open minded and try to eat what the locals recommend. They know the land better than you, and you might be pleasantly surprised when that odd looking casserole you just ate was absolutely delicious.
2. Don’t be in a rush
North American culture instills in us a strong belief in efficiency. Everything should be done NOW, because our society is very fast-paced. In other parts of the world things aren’t like that. People will close shop and take entire siestas instead of 30 minute lunch breaks. In rural Tuscany, for example, when they say 9:45 it really means anywhere from 9 to 11 to tomorrow. In other countries, people like to stop and smell the roses. They are in a hurry for no one, least of all you, and screaming and stomping your feet won’t change that. Expecting things to be done as efficiently as they are at home will only lead to frustration and a couple new grey hairs.
3. Dress code
Do yourself and everyone else a huge favour and don’t be the person who walks around in a teeny tiny cleavage-inducing dress while every single other person is wearing modest shorts and t-shirts. Especially if you’re planning to walk into churches or other places of worship. I’ve been that person, and it’s not worth it. At the time I felt like such a rockstar but now years later I look back and feel embarrassed by my “daring” fashion faux pas. When in other countries, follow the dress code and save the statement pieces for home.
4. Ditch the internet
When travelling, my primary concern always used to be “Will they have wifi?!” But most places around the world don’t have the kind hotel/hostel wifi we do, and going on a city-wide journey to find internet seems like a waste of time. If you have access to good wifi, that’s great. To avoid stressing out if you don’t: tell friends and colleagues and family before-hand that you might not be reachable so they don’t freak out if they can’t get in touch. FOMO anxiety is real, but you’re on vacation and guaranteed having more fun than anyone at home, so try to just forget about it and remain in the moment. Being disconnected can truly be the biggest blessing in disguise.
5. Learn The Language
This goes without saying. You’re in another country where they speak another language, and no one is obliged to speak English to you. Many people won’t know English, especially if you visit more rural non-tourist areas, so you can’t expect them to. For best results, practice some Duolingo to try and familiarize yourself before you get there.
What are your travel tips?