5 ways to avoid being a terrible tourist

Have you booked yet another international trip? If so, time to start researching early about the places you ought to see and gastronomic foods you ought to try. Don’t stop there though.

Before you pack your bags and bid your home goodbye for a while, research on the do’s and don’ts in your destination to avoid being that type of tourist or traveler. In this day and age, a quick snap on the phone can catch you in the act of being a bad tourist. It’s no joke, it can and have happened already.

Don’t be that person who echoes “tourist” and “easily scammed” as you stroll along the streets of Cuba with your large digital camera and map. That only draws attention to you. Yes, we are travelers in a foreign land but let it not be an excuse to your mishaps and misadventures.

Be polite and humble when in other countries, improve international relations and show them you’re appreciative of the beauty their land holds. Here are ways you can avoid to be seen as the annoying tourist or traveler:

Dress appropriately

We completely get your argument for freedom of expression and in this case, to wear whatever you want wherever you are. But do keep in mind that this does not give you an excuse to disrespect other culture’s turf.

You are a visitor to another home. It’s only appropriate that you follow their house rules and respect their beliefs. Just because you’re an unreligious folk visiting a religious sites or country gives you a pass on respecting their dress code. Dressing appropriately is a small sacrifice to enjoying your journey and at the same time, illustrate respect to the people.

Respect their culture and tradition

In the same vein that you respect their dress code, do demonstrate genuine respect to their cultural norms, customs, traditions, etiquette, and the likes. Learn about their culture (do’s and don’ts) before flying to the destination as well as basic phrases in their language (“thank you,” other greetings, and the likes).

Another thing, do not express snide remarks around locals and if you do, just keep it to yourself. Things can be done differently in other countries you’re not used to. You’re the one who has to adjust and respect their way of living.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions (and listen!)

It’s normal to find yourself lost in a foreign land. Traveling is a great time to let loose your curiosity and speak with the people. Though it’s important that you listen more and talk less. Quick reminder though, as you land on their soil, open your mind to everything you see and hear. It will be different in your eyes but it’s the norm in theris.

Go your merry way immersing yourself in their culture and speaking with the people. As you do so, mute what you know are right and wrong, and just listen them. There’s nothing wrong to ask questions so long as you deliver it properly and not in a condescending manner. Once you’re there, try to see things the way they do and gain a new perspective.

Don’t take pictures when it’s not allowed

In the age of smartphones, it’s not surprising that a lot of tourists want to document their adventure in photographs. There’s no problem in that. Go snap hundreds of photos to remind you of your great time in India.

But when there’s a large sign instructing everyone NOT to take photos and you still do it otherwise, that’s being a terrible tourist and as a person, to say the least. We get so busy taking the perfect angle of a shot that we neglect what there is. Often times, taking a good look and appreciating what we see is enough to keep a good memory. So don’t rely too much on cameras and let your eyes capture the moment without distractions.

Research. Research. Research.

Don’t stop once you find your accommodation. Do your extensive research before flying to your destination. Skipping this essential step would be a major sin among travelers and tourists. And you have no one to blame but yourself for being unprepared. Plus, everything you need and have to know are just a few taps away (hello Google and other travel apps). So there’s no excuse to being unaware of the proper dress code and the likes.

What’s the worst terrible display of tourism you’ve witnessed? Share it with us!

About Chie Suarez

Chie Suarez sails from the PH. She spends her downtime writing for Holiday Inn Parramatta, the perfect hotel choice to stay in for both business or leisure.

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