Traveling out of one’s home country is an intimidating thought for some, while others have an entire passport’s worth of stamps testifying to their global adventures. Regardless of the amount of traveling one has done, they are bound to come across cultural differences when leaving their country of residence. Whichever side of the spectrum you fall on, preparing yourself to interact with another culture and visit a new country means also adapting some of the following pieces of international travel etiquette so as to respect the locals and gain more out of your trip.
Learn a Bit of the Local Language
When visiting a new country, you’ll be viewed as entitled if you expect the locals to adhere to your language. If visiting a country with a differing local tongue, it would do you well to learn some basic words or phrases in that language. While you won’t be expected to engage in fluent conversations with anyone there, most locals will appreciate your effort to learn some words of their language, even finding it endearing. This skill will also help you in your efforts to navigate the city, order from an authentic restaurant, and potentially make friends abroad.
Research the Dining Habits
Travelers from America have grown accustomed to telling waiters of their picky orders and leaving a tip once paying for their meals. However, most other countries approach their dining business a bit differently, with tipping actually being offensive in some cultures. It is always best to do some research on these dining habits so that you can be prepared for the culture you visit and avoid any chances of offending the local staff. This will also spare you from accidentally paying more than is necessary, helping your trip budget stay on course.
Leave Politics at Home
No matter how politically aware one might be, politics are best left at home when visiting a new destination. Whether a die-hard conservative or an adamant liberal, keep in mind that your politics might differ greatly from the country you are visiting. Rather than wearing political slogans on your shirt or scoffing at a local for a value they hold, remember that the culture you are visiting differs from your own and is worth respecting, even if you disagree with some of their ethics. Avoid these sticky subjects altogether by focusing on enjoying your vacation but also being mindful of how you can respect the culture you are a visitor of.