World Travel 101: Part 10 – Cultural Awareness & Respect

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One of the reasons I love to travel is because I get the opportunity to learn about other cultures and ways of life.  It opens my mind and gives me a better understanding of the world and my place in it.

Part of getting the most out of your overseas travel experience is embracing new experiences.

World Travel 101: Part 10 Cultural Awareness Respect

I’ll Tell You My Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Trip!

World Travel 101 – Index

How to Get the Most Out of Your 1st International Trip!

1.   Remember You’re a Guest

When you travel to a new place it’s like being a guest in someone else’s home.  So be polite and respectful.

For example, ask folks for permission before you take their photo.

Also, watch out for cultural blunders!  Pointing with your index finger is considered rude in many countries.  And in some Asian countries crossing your chopsticks is thought to be a death omen. 

World Travel 101: Part 10 Cultural Awareness Respect

While Tipping Is Expected in the US, It Can Be Considered an Insult in Japan

Do some research on local customs before you leave for your trip to ensure you don’t offend the local people.  Travel guide books are often a good source for this information.

2.   Don’t Expect Home Away From Home

Not everyone speaks English (nor should they) and you won’t be able to find a hamburger and French fries wherever you go.  In fact, you may not be able to find any of your favorite foods.

So when you travel, be prepared and understand that you may not feel like you’re at home.  That’s part of the fun!

3.   Try New Things

Get out of your comfort zone!  Make some local friends, try new foods, or even experience a local religious ceremony.

Emily and I will never forget walking down the streets of Budapest, and meeting a street artist.  He was selling his photography, and we started chatting with him.  We ended up taking him out to dinner, and he told us all about life in the city, and how it was better under communism and why.

His story broke some stereotypes I had, and I’ll never forget meeting Tibor and the dinner we shared together!

World Travel 101: Part 10 Cultural Awareness Respect

Get to Know the Locals for a Richer Travel Experience!

Emily likes to keep a written journal as a reminder of her experiences when we travel.  Some folks prefer to keep a journal of photos on their phone or by posting to sites like Instagram.

Bottom Line

On your 1st international trip, remember to be open-minded and respectful towards other cultures.  Getting outside your comfort zone by trying new things and meeting new people will ensure you have a fun, and maybe even life-changing travel experience!

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4 responses to “World Travel 101: Part 10 – Cultural Awareness & Respect

  1. “We ended up taking him out to dinner, and he told us all about life in the city, and how it was better under communism and why.”

    Can you elaborate as to what did he say made life better under communism? I’m also curious to know (not sure if he told you) as to what did he do, job-wise, during communism.

    I just find it curious (sometimes funny) seeing different individual takes people have on something like that, as in this case with a drastic change of systems, not just in name but in freedom of expression, conditions of living (including wages) etc.

  2. Great article Dairius. Too many times I have witnessed the typical ugly Americans acting like buffoons. It’s either their confused as to why nobody speaks American, er English; yell at the natives because that would apparently make a non-English speaker understand; or flash their silly customs like tipping (they love to tip because it makes them feel better about themselves), drinking in public, or walk around in public without their shirts on. It’s quite comical, and I always take photos or videos of them to post on the Internet so everyone can make fun of them.

  3. I’ve always visited this site using my laptop. First time using my iPhone to go here and I must say this mobile version of the site is awesome!!

  4. Dairius, excellent post! While I visit you blog almost daily to get mile and points updates, your personal travel stories are probably my favorite! Keep up the good work. As always, thank you for sharing your insights!