What “Not” To Do When Traveling
With the affordability of local and international flights these days, people are traveling more than ever.
But sometimes, we get too carried away and forget that while many people and different cultures have become more welcoming of tourists, it is still the traveler’s responsibility to be aware of where they’re going and what they’re doing in a certain place.
In a new survey conducted by Agoda, they found these three habits that Filipinos find annoying in travelers: first is insensitivity to cultural nuances, second is noisy travelers, and third is people glued to their devices and not paying attention to where they are going.
Remember, when you travel, the whole place does not stop to accommodate you. You are the one that should be adjusting to the place, not the other way around. Don’t become that traveler that everyone hates. To make sure you’re not becoming a nuisance to the locals, here are some tips on what not to do when traveling.
Read before you leave
Photo by Lonely Planet
Cultural insensitivity is a beginner mistake, especially when you fly to a different country and don’t bother to learn about their culture before you leap. There are a number of cultural nuances that differentiate one country from another, and sometimes, failing to abide by cultural norms is a matter of respect.
In some countries like Croatia, raising your thumb, index finger, and middle finger could mean something more than it seems to you. In Croatia, doing this indicates that you’re a Serbian Nationalist, an extremist mindset that basically argues that every other nation and country is against Serbia and that you will do anything and everything to protect Serbia.
While it’s okay to use a toothpick to pick your teeth in most places, that isn’t the case in Turkey where they won’t appreciate it if you pick your teeth or blow your nose in public places. They also have a different understanding of the OK sign, where you form a circle using your index finger and thumb. In Turkey, this means you are saying you are a homosexual, and it is considered quite offensive.
Japan may be one of the most visited countries in Asia, but the Japanese have different customs as well that one must follow. They don’t appreciate it if you call them by their first name, which is reserved for someone close to them. Japanese restaurants also don’t appreciate tipping, unlike in Western countries where a tip is almost obligatory.
Each country has its different nuance, and it’s better to read up before you board your flight.
Photo by Redd Angelo
Photo by Duy Pham
It is common to travel in groups, especially with a group of friends. And traveling to a new place or destination can be quite exciting. While you may be bursting in excitement and joy, try not to be overly ecstatic to the point of disturbance. Remember, there are locals who live and stay in these places, and would not appreciate a giddy and rowdy group of travelers.
Respect the place and the locals, especially when you’re visiting a place of worship or a sacred place.
Be smart with your smartphone
Photo by rawpixel
Pay attention to your surroundings, not your smartphone. When you’re traveling, take the time to appreciate the scenery and the place instead of keeping your eyes glued to your smartphone. Learn to disconnect and share your stories later, and enjoy what’s in front of you now.
Also, be smart in taking photos. While it follows that traveling is all about documenting, you should still be smart about taking photos. Don’t bring out your phone for a selfie when you’re in a position that you can easily be knocked down or compromised. So don’t turn your back to a body of water when huge waves could push you back, try to be aware of railroad tracks and roads when crossing or taking photos, and be wary of animals snapping back at you if you try to capture them.
Taking photos of strangers could also be a no-no. Some people might not appreciate it if you take a stolen photo, and post it online. Some places also have photographic taboos like in Islamic countries where they do not allow photographs of religious artifacts and of faces of Islamic women. So just to be sure, always ask for permission first.
Photo by Hermes Rivera
Featured image by Jakob Owens