Travel is a great activity, whether for work or for pleasure. But nothing beats traveling to other countries as a tourist. Recreational travel is a great way to have fun and to learn. You experience a different culture, a different people and the things that make them who they are – their food, their sites, their idiosyncrasies. But there are some tourists who fail to realize that visiting another country is akin to visiting another person’s home. It doesn’t mean that since you’re spending your money you should throw away manners and think that you can run away with being obnoxious. What you need is to behave like a good tourist, and here’s how to do it.
First, don’t go visit another country without finding out about it first. Do your research. Finding out about a country is not as hard as it was before the advent of the internet. A cursory check with a search engine will net you a ton of information about any country. Read up on their culture, their history and their popular tourist sites. But you should also be conscious to research on things that you should and should not do in a particular country. There may be some things that you have been accustomed to in your country that is actually frowned upon in the country you will visit. For example, wearing skimpy shorts or tank tops. This is what is means to be a responsible tourist.
Staying in another country shouldn’t mean that you’ll forget about conservation and being pro-environment. Going on vacation doesn’t mean you should just waste another country’s resources. Try to do your part even if you’re a tourist. Don’t leave your room air conditioner running even when you’re out. Save on water when you’re taking a shower or brushing your teeth and don’t just leave electronic gadgets on if you’re not going to use it. This also applies to your use of towels and bed sheets.
You’re already in a foreign country. It’s time to see what they have to offer! Do support the local business by buying stuff from local labels and brands. You may have a hankering for some sweets but why buy products you’re already familiar with. Buy the local brands of chocolates and candies and see what they have to offer. You may just find a new favorite. The same goes for clothes and other products. By participating in the local economy you are saying a virtual thank you for visiting the country and also helping keep their economy thriving. Of course, you have to be conscientious with your patronage of local brands. If you hear that a certain brand or label is engaged in dubious business practices, bring your money somewhere else.
You should be aware of the cultural mores of the country you are visiting and you should respect it. Again, you will find out about these during your research and it will be a good sign of respect if you actually follow these cultural practices.
Remember that no place is perfect. Even your home is not so don’t expect a place you are visiting to be so. Don’t vocally critical of something. Respect the people who are there and just try to be quiet about something that you may not necessarily like. Politeness and good manners can go a long way.
Photo from telegraph.co.uk