In this day of social media, where human interactions are only decreasing by the day, the need to travel and cut off from the Digital World is only increasing. Yet, people still look forward to a large extent to travel, to only pick up content for their Social Media pages. Compassionate or etiquette travelling is literally non existent in a traveller’s itinerary.
Furthermore, the stress of the trip in itself, and what hinges on the result could have you in a bind. It’s during these times — unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people — you may be most likely to commit some sort of social blunder that could sink the deal or worse, offend someone or a lot of people.
It’s important to be a good guest wherever you’re going, be it another country, another state, or just another city. Exploring a new destination and immersing yourself in the culture of its citizens is an immensely rewarding experience. But it can be even more rewarding if we, as travellers, take care to observe the customs, contribute to a cause prevalent in that country and show compassion and etiquette to the places we visit. You have to be mindful when you travel. The locals are essentially hosting you in their home country. Below are some travel etiquette tips one can follow in their next trip.
1. Read up on the customs, history and culture of your destination.
2. Always be courteous in your interactions with the locals, and you will reap the rewards.
3. Take notes of signs and follow the rules which the locals follow. If one isn’t too sure then there’s no harm asking someone before breaking any rule.
4. Learn some of the language & lingo, even if it’s Hello, Sorry, Goodbye and Thank You. That’s the least one can do.
5. Be careful with selfie stick. It’s quite tempting to click selfies on a trip, but it’s important to be careful of the background and the people around you before you take out the selfie stick or even before clicking a selfie picture.
6. Be careful of what you’re posting on social media. As a tourist be mindful of the content you’re posting. Avoid criticising the culture, people, government or the food of the country. Why offend your hosts by imposing your opinions?
7. Don’t be too loud or litter when visiting other countries. Some cultures find it very disrespectful.
8. Mind your manners in a public space or restaurant. Don’t sneeze, cough, chomp or burp publicly. Some things are better off indoors, in the privacy of your own house.
9. Lastly, always try to be a compassionate traveller. Visit a local wildlife centre or an orphanage, or a cause which is close to your heart. A small donation or involvement in an organisation will only help you be the best version of yourself.
Apart from the above cardinal rules, it’s important to be open minded about the country or city you’re visiting. People love to see smiling, compassionate and warm tourists. And in some way or the other if you do manage to breach an obscure code of conduct in a foreign country, a sincere apology normally does the trick. Go with the flow and learn as you go – it’s as simple as that.