Exploring a new land and immersing yourself in its culture is an immensely rewarding experience. But, you can make it even more satisfying by observing the customs and travel etiquette of the place you are planning to visit. The term “travel etiquette” raises myriad questions. How much should be the tip for a cab driver? How messy should you leave a hotel room? Who owns the armrest on the aeroplane? Is it all right to say hello to strangers on the streets of a busy metropolis? Is it okay to slurp your soup? And, there are countless other things you have to be mindful of when travelling to a new country.
Here are some Dos and Don’ts of travel etiquette.
- Be respectful and thankful
- Find necessary information about the places you will be visiting
- Respect local culture and customs
- Wait for your turn while in a queue
- Have all your documents accessible in all airport lines
- Respect others’ personal space
- Make negative comments
- Treat locals poorly
- Block the aisles on planes and all other transports
- Complain about things that are not similar like your home country
- Carry your passport with you at all times. Money belts or cross shoulder bags should be your best options to keep it safe while travelling. Keep your passport in the inside pocket of your bag to make sure you’re not stuck anywhere.
Keep the emergency contact numbers of the place you’re staying at because you never know when you might need these numbers.
Avoid using your phone or tablet in public spaces when you’re travelling alone. You never know the intentions of the people around you; so, avoid any attention using expensive electronic devices.Though there are some basic rules of courtesy that are recognised globally, some etiquette varies from one place to another. For example, it’s okay to finish everything on your plate in some countries, but it isn’t considered good in some parts of the world. Since locals host you in their home country, we, as travellers, can at least, mind our manners to show them the respect they deserve. Let’s take a look at some of the best tips to travel mindfully in a different country.
Sharing the armrest
Since there are four armrests for three seats in a row in a plane, sharing the armrest is the most common scenario that travellers come across. If you’ve ever had a silent battle with the person sitting next to you for control over your shared armrest, you might want to find an answer to this question, too. Travel etiquette experts say that each passenger has one armrest. Typically, the armrest that has media and electrical outlets for you will be the one you should use. Also, if you are comfortable, you can have a short conversation with your seatmate and compromise as two elbows instead of two arms take smaller space.
Reclining the seat is another hot topic of travel etiquette among travellers. While some people view it as their right, some others see it as awfully rude. Reclining the seat becomes a problem specifically for people who have long legs. Even if you are of regular height and have had an experience of sitting at the back of people who recline their seats back fully, you will know the pain. While you have paid extra for recliners, reclining the seat so low is not only uncomfortable for the person at the back but weird too. To avoid this problem, you can be a little considerate by making sure that the person behind you is not in the middle of eating a meal on the tray table.
Learn a little bit of the country’s language
Though English is spoken around the world, it’s not used for communication in many countries. Learning some common words in the local language can be immensely helpful in some cases as people value such efforts from visitors. If not more, you could learn to say hi, please, thank you or bye in the local language and it will create a positive impression on the locals.
Other than language, body language works well in every country. But, you need to understand you’re your gestures are interpreted in different ways in different countries. Take some minutes out to know the common gestures you should avoid staying away from uninvited trouble in a different country.
To tip or not to tip
Leaving a tip on the table is a common practice in most countries. But, it is considered an insult or a negative implication in some Asian countries. Tipping a person in these countries can mean that you are viewing the person to have a low economic level. On the contrary, tipping is almost mandatory in countries like USA, Canada, Egypt or Mexico as it represents an important part of their salary.
Giving a gift from your country is measured as a kind and polite gesture in most countries. However, if you are on the receiving end, know the gifting etiquette of the country. It is considered impolite in some countries to open the gift in front of the person who has gifted it to you. So, going by the travel rule book can help you win over hearts in more than one way.
Be discrete with the eating habits of others while eating at a public place. Be a little considerate towards vegetarians, vegans and people from a city where eating a meal is not allowed. Also, try to finish the food you are served, and if you want the leftover for later, you can ask for it.
Whether you’re in your home country or travelling to a different nation, it’s essential to understand and accept that people reserve seats for a reason. Taking someone’s seat has almost become a common practice that you might have encountered while travelling by plane. Here, if you wish to have a seat other than the one assigned to you, be patient, and take it only if it stays vacant after the journey begins. As people intentionally book flight tickets in advance and also pay some extra bucks for specific seats, it’s important to mind that they really do want their seats back.
A little research goes a long way! You will make a positive impression in Japan by taking off your shoes before entering someone’s private residence. Also, use your right hand to eat in India and the Middle East. More than the research, applying common sense will help you even more! Don’t vandalize public property anywhere around the world. And, wherever you might go around the world, do not touch museum items ever.
Before you get the flight ticket booking done to fly to another country, here are some of the best travel tips you will find helpful.
Stay safe and sound
This travel tip is crucial, especially for solo travellers on different land. Find useful information online about local rules and codes of behavior that can help you with personal safety in an unfamiliar place.
Keep these travel tips in mind if you are in the habit of violating the basic rules of travel etiquette. These tips will help you correct your controversial behavior and make you more of a global traveller.