A big part of traveling the world and going to new places is experiencing new cultures and meeting new people. But before you get too excited about showing up to a foreign country and basking in everything that is new, unique, and different, it’s important that you first educate yourself on what to expect and how to be respectful of cultures. As much as learning and actually experiencing new cultures is an incredible opportunity, it’s easy to get yourself caught between awkward situations because of cultural differences. To help you eliminate any possible problems handling new cultures, consider and adopt these travel tips everytime you find yourself planning to go to a foreign country.
Culture and travel tips
Do your research
Maybe going to the other side of the country doesn’t necessarily need for you to do the research to fit in with the culture, but traveling to a completely different country should prompt you to start reading about what to expect. In almost every country in the world, culture and traditions are unique. Some may be similar to others, but it never really is certainly the same. This is why it’s so important to start doing research on what to expect. But where to start?
What to do research on?
One guaranteed activity you’ll be doing when you travel, is exploring the local cuisine. And this means immersing yourself in the food culture. You need to be aware of the local etiquette when it comes to dining. A simple action that may seem harmless to you, can already be unintentionally offensive to a different culture. For example, in Japan, it is incredibly rude to leave a tip after dining in a restaurant. Unlike the mandatory nature of tips in the U.S., when it comes to Japanese culture, it is rude and unnecessary to leave a tip. You wouldn’t want to offend anyone by doing anything that’s culturally frowned upon.
Another important factor to consider when you’re doing your research is the language etiquette you should expect in a foreign country. Similar to your behavior when you eat, how you talk can also prompt negative perceptions if you don’t read up on what the norms of a culture are when it comes to communicating. Find out if there’s a right way of saying thank you, or showing gratitude. Understand what is normal in a culture.
Avoid showing any discomfort or resentment against odd cultural practices
One thing you should expect when you experience new cultures is that you most probably will see or experience something that you may not like or feel uncomfortable around. The best and a common example of this is the butchering and sacrificing of animals practiced by hundreds of cultures around the world. If you are to visit a place that practices ancient traditions, you’ll see that their culture and traditions revolve around hunting and gathering practices. And many cultures practice sacrificing and butchering animals as a sign of celebration. If you see something like this, or similar to this, that may make you uncomfortable, do your best to be as pleasant about the experience to show as much respect as possible. Another way to be as respectful as possible is to be accepting of everything that is shared, offered, or provided for you. You may not be the biggest fan of stinky tofu, but in Taiwan, if you are offered a bite, it’s best to be thankful and to try it. That’s what traveling is all about.
Make the most out of all of your experiences when you travel. But above all priorities, you should always do your best to be as respectful of different cultures and traditions, as you possibly can. This will not only guarantee that you avoid offending anyone, but this is also a great way to have an open mind about every new experience that your travels have to offer.