When we think about tourists, our perception can often be tinted by our point of view. To some, such as residents of a country, tourists can be a frustrating part of summer life. This is especially true if said residents live somewhere idyllic or beautiful in the first place and have to deal with hordes of holidaymakers each year. To some, they help provide a backbone to the economy and business, allowing them to survive the quieter winter with more comfort than most. To others hoping to take a vacation, they are simply other competing tourists queuing up for attractions and taking up spots in the desirable locations ahead of time.
One thing is for certain: travelers, tourists and those on long expeditions can either be a fantastic boon or an absolute nuisance. This means that as a tourist yourself, learning how to subvert expectations and instead providing the best of yourself to wherever you visit can help you encounter much better experiences and also give yourself more of a pleasant journey to enjoy.
With the following advice, we hope to help you do this:
Consider Your Border Experience
When entering a country, you are going to cross a border. Unless you have some odd private jet affair arranged because you’re a spy, with everything taken care of ahead of time, you’re likely going to have to pass security of some sort and provide the right documents. Consider your border experience. We often think of border staff as hard, discerning people who are looking for every reason to deny you entry. In reality, they’re just trying to do their jobs and ensure all the protocols are correctly followed. This is why it’s important to allow them to do this.
For example, learning how to prepare your visa for the USA is essential before even considering how to source a plane ticket. Learning how and what to declare in your luggage can help you avoid costly mistakes. Ensuring you know how to be at the right place at the right time and how to best explain your need for travel can help you allow the process to be as smooth as possible for everyone around.
There’s much more to see than the standard tourist hotspots and guides in your local travel book. Be sure to explore and try to see the worth of a country on its own terms. This might mean finding a real authentic restaurant rather than looking for a corporate version you are familiar with. It means paying attention to the cultural history and also understanding the historical reverence surrounding that.
Exploring can give you plenty to enjoy and plenty to experience, but only if you honor its potential.
Learn The Customs
Some countries have customs that you’d be best off learning. A simple hand symbol might not mean what you think it means. Certain table manners might be absolutely essential. For example, in Romania, when visiting a friends house, you are usually offered a shot of alcohol. Refusing this is seen as a great insult. This example shows you that little customs can often help or hinder your progression and respectful passage through a country. It’s your need to learn them well.
With these easy tips, you’re already on your way to being a respectful traveler.
P.S. Here’s another great read on travel rules to live by.
Do you have anything else to add? How do you make sure you’re being respectful when you travel?