Anybody who’s ever traveled, whether locally or abroad, has probably committed one of these travel sins. We’ve all been there. If, however, you’re traveling for the first time (or maybe you just don’t want to add to the growing number of obnoxious tourists out there), keep these in mind the next time you’re away from home.
1. Be polite.
This might seem like the most obvious piece of advice but you’d be surprised at how many people forget to conduct themselves accordingly. Read up on the local culture AND FOLLOW THEM. Remember: You are a visitor. The worst thing you can do is to think that the rules don’t apply to you.
2. Dress appropriately.
This is sort of an extension of #1. Show the locals (and yourself) some respect, especially when you’re visiting a sacred temple. Try not to exert your freedom of expression through your clothes when you’re supposed to be covered up. Reserve that for literally every other moment of your life.
3. Don’t be loud.
Yes, traveling is exciting. Yes, everything is new and shiny and it’s hard to contain yourself. But please converse at the decibel everyone else is using. If you are unclear about what we mean, remember that one tour you were on and you couldn’t hear the guide because somebody was yapping along? Yeah.
4. Don’t mock people for not speaking English fluently.
Or even well. English is not the default language of every country. Actually, out of 7 billion people on the planet, only 375 million speak English. More importantly, when you mock someone for not speaking English as well as you do, that’s linguistic discrimination.
5. Limit your comparisons.
“Back home…” sentences are unavoidable, we know. But be mindful about the way you compare the two places. Plus, if you wanted the comforts of your home, you should have just stayed there, right?
6. Mindful photography, please.
Calm down, you’re not the paparazzi. Also, nobody likes the paparazzi. Fight the urge to take a picture of everything and everyone, especially children! Ask permission! You have no idea who you could be subconsciously violating. This applies to solemn ceremonies as well. When people are in the middle of worshipping, photography can be a jolting intrusion.
7. “This is so cheap!”
Everybody loves a good bargain, but a shopping steal for you could be supporting an entire family. People, especially in third world countries, could be doing back-breaking work for an unfair amount of money.
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