Your ticket is booked. You’re packed and ready to go. Are you ready to have a good time on your next adventure? Good.
Before you go, remember that you’ll be a guest in another country. As great as it is to kick back and relax, you need to keep in mind that you might end up disrespecting locals or even the very place you are visiting.
You don’t want to do any of the following five things and end up looking like a crappy tourist:
1. Sticking Your Camera Where It Is Not Wanted
You may find that there are places of worship that do not allow photos to be taken in certain places. Many have signs alerting tourists where they cannot take photos. Some might even provide the reason. It is not only rude, but sacrilegious in some places if you choose to ignore their warnings. If you are lucky, locals, and employees will probably chalk it up to the fact that you don’t know any better. Some places aren’t so forgiving and will confiscate your camera or just your SD card. Not only will you lose the photos you just took, but possibly all the other ones from the rest of your trip.
2. Being Rude When Negotiating
Some countries will have markets and stores where it is very common to negotiate on an agreed price before purchase. Think about it: these shopkeepers are merely trying to earn a living. Yes, they maybe be over-inflating prices, but are you willing to get into a verbal argument over it? Be friendly but firm when stating what you are willing to pay. Be prepared to say, “Thanks but no thanks” and just walk away if you don’t like the price.
Another reason to be nice: you never know if other shopkeepers might be looking. If you are rude to one, who’s to say the others will be willing to do business with you?
3. Ignoring Dress Codes
Many religious sites and historic buildings will post strict dress codes (if there are any). Some will provide appropriate clothing in order for tourists to comply with guidelines, but some won’t. Don’t insist on going in if someone tells you that you’re not dressed appropriately. What makes you think you’re the only who doesn’t need to follow the rules?
Some tourists tend to forget that there are unofficial guidelines to dress codes as well. For example, in some Middle Eastern countries, women tend to cover their hair and cover their bodies. If you go in as a female tourist and ignore the dress code, the chance of you looking like a crappy tourist are high.
4. Not Immersing in the Local Culture
What is the point of visiting a new country if you are not even willing to try out a few local dishes? Of course, there are exceptions like dietary restrictions, but there is nothing stopping you from doing a little bit of research beforehand and finding out what you can eat. Even if you don’t go out to a restaurant, the least you can do is go to a market and purchase some local produce to cook in your hotel room, provided that you have the appropriate facilities.
5. Openly Criticizing Your Surroundings
It’s rude in your own country, so why is it ok to do the same somewhere else? You’d look like a total jerk if you make comments like “The restaurants are so dirty here” or “This hotel is definitely not like the standards we keep back in the US.” It doesn’t matter if you don’t think people understand you. Chances are, someone might. Don’t forget that body language and the tone of your voice also speaks volumes.