Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

How to be a better tourist

Being a good tourist can be difficult at times. You don’t want to annoy the locals, but you do want to get the most out of your holiday. There are ways to avoid being a nuisance to the local community and mostly it just comes down to doing some planning in advance. Doing a bit of homework before you set off on your travels can seem tedious and against the carefree mood that you might be going for as you hop onto a plane but can make all the difference.

 

swimwear might not be acceptable attire in public spaces

 

Learning a little about your holiday destination can benefit you more than you might realise. The smallest things can go a long way to making your holiday easier for yourself as well as the people you might come across on the way. Converting your currency to the correct local currency of your destination is always a good idea before you set off, as is checking that you’ve got the right plug travel adapter for wherever you’re headed. You might be switching off social media for your holiday but it’s useful to keep your phone charged up and handy if you need a quick glance at the maps app or, more importantly, if there’s an emergency. It’s worth bearing in mind that airlines also generally recommend keeping all electronic devices charged up so they can be switched on if requested as you’re passing through airport security.

 

Your choice of clothing can play an important part in being a better tourist. Typically, countries of Asia and Africa will have a more conservative dress sense for public spaces. It might be okay to go for a swim in the hotel pool but swimwear might not be acceptable attire in public spaces such as the hotel lobby and restaurants. Reading up in advance can save you some hassle and time trying to shop for the right kinds of clothes when you get to your destination. A good rule of thumb is to dress to blend in, and not to stand out. If you’re planning on visiting places like temples and mosques, it’s a good idea to read up on the expected attire in advance. It’s not uncommon to find that they request visitors to refrain from wearing vest tops and shorts as a sign of respect. Some might be kind enough to provide coverings for you but you don’t want to be turned away at the door if they don’t.

 

Eat the local cuisine, try new things and expand your horizons

 

Nowadays most countries will have at least a basic understanding of spoken English but it’s always useful to learn some helpful phrases. A simple ‘thank you’ and ‘hello’ in the native language can go a long way – your effort doesn’t go unappreciated! If you’re short on time or trying to squeeze in as much as possible in the time you have, it can be a good idea to go on a few guided tours. It can help you navigate the tourist traffic as some tours are conscious to beat the crowds and it’s a great opportunity to learn about the local culture from a member of the community – nothing beats first-hand knowledge. Guides are often more than happy to answer any questions you might have so don’t be shy.

 

If you want to get the most out of your trip whilst being a good tourist, you should aim to embrace the local culture as far as possible. Eat the local cuisine, try new things and expand your horizons. After all, travelling is about having new experiences, and although a pizza can be a safe choice for a decent meal, trying new local cuisine is an experience in itself (though be careful with the street food!).

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