How to be a good tourist

1. Attempt to learn the basics of the language

This is certainly something we’ve been guilty of. When you travel so much that you simply stop trying to even communicate the bare minimum. Examples of this is learning how to say Hello and Thank you in the local language. For English speaking natives, its more likely than not that the person you will be talking to has a better understanding of English than you do of their language. However, a little goes a long way to show that you are a little respectful and at least trying. The Parisians in France won’t let you get away with this carry on. But other locals will be much more favorable to yourself after. Imagine you were in your home country and an Alien walked in and started speaking Alienesh (Alien Langauge of course) at you and getting annoyed that you don’t understand. Be better.

2. Respect the Culture and Customs

This can be a little hard, especially when it may be something you don’t exactly agree with. But you have to remember you’re in their world and you’re just passing through. It may be better to just shut-up and if things aren’t too bad just go along with it. Let’s imagine you’re in a very religious Muslim country and you decide to go to the Beach. Do you think it’s wise to wear a thong bikini and get drunk blasting music from Eminem? probably not. So use a bit of common sense and try to live as the locals do.

Holocaust monument. Be considerate at all times.

3. Expect things to run differently

This can be frustrating when things aren’t running the way you would expect. You expect things to be simple and fast, but sometimes that’s just not the case. There’s a wonderful thing called ‘Island Time’, and it’s not an embellishment when you visit some island nations. Things run slower, and you cannot demand what you were used to in your home country. Be prepared for this but recognise things usually work out in the end.

4. Don’t support unethical vendors

Usually tourist traps are things that even the locals don’t appreciate. This could be career beggars, animal abusers, scammers, prostitutes, drug dealers or whatever. You need to vote with your wallet a lot of the time. Recognise what you spend your money on in that country will incentivise others to do the same. This can become incredibly frustrating to locals who end watching their nations become a scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Sadly many things that involve animals aren’t ethical. Do your research ahead of time, you can be fooled. Thailand has some wonderful sanctuaries but some others.. not so much.

5. Follow the Laws

This relates to respecting the cultures and customs but my point on this is to follow the laws. Do a little research if you can, especially if you’re going somewhere very foreign to you. In the UK you can ‘J Walk’ like there is no tomorrow, but doing the same in the US or Germany could get you some funny stares or even a fine. Try to use some common sense and look at others around you and see what they are doing. Oh, and don’t mess with Drugs in a country that has the death penalty…

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