As more and more people are getting vaccinated, many countries across the globe are gradually lifting their lockdown and travel restrictions. Seeing as we’ve been cooped up at home for the better part of a year, most of us can’t wait to hop on the first plane we can find and enjoy that long-awaited vacation. Before you book your tickets though, there are a few things you should keep in mind so you don’t unknowingly act like an annoying or entitled tourist. The following post will highlight the main differences between good and bad tourists, so be mindful of these behaviors to avoid being a terrible traveler.
Bad Tourists Haggle Too Much
Negotiating a better price is acceptable in many countries, especially at flea markets and bazaars where vendors usually increase their asking prices, expecting potential buyers to haggle them down. While it can be an enjoyable cultural experience, there are some haggling etiquette rules you should follow. For instance, you should be careful not to get too caught up in the competitive nature of haggling that you become adamant in your attempts to pay as little as possible for something that you can easily afford. Otherwise, you might come off as a cheap and insulting tourist. If you’re not sure what’s the lowest price you can offer, shop around to see how much the locals pay.
Good Tourists Respect Other Cultures and Traditions
When you visit a foreign country, you are essentially a guest in someone else’s home so make sure you behave accordingly. You may not share the same beliefs as the locals or agree with all the customs and traditions of the country you’re visiting, and that’s completely fine, but it doesn’t mean that you get to mock or disrespect them. To be a good tourist, make sure you take the time to research the customs and traditions of your chosen destination and learn about the acceptable dress code for the tourist attractions on your itinerary. In some places like the Taj Mahal, for example, you’ll want to err on the modest side of clothing. This means that you should wear long-sleeved t-shirts rather than tank tops and trousers or long skirts instead of shorts to show respect for the locals’ conservative beliefs.
Bad Tourists Are Entitled
There’s nothing worse than a petulant tourist making a scene because they have to wait in line for too long. Most of the world-renowned attractions will have long queues, so if you don’t want to wait in line, it would be a good idea to book tours and activities in advance. As you can see on this site, some online services offer skip-the-line tickets and many offer special deals that will help you save both time and money. Another entitled behavior that many travelers are guilty of is expecting everyone to speak English and making no attempts to use the native language of the country they’re visiting. Learning a few basic words and phrases like “Hello” and “Thank you” in the country’s national language will allow you to show your respect for different cultures and help you win over the locals.
Good Tourists Leave Tips
In the US, it’s customary to add a 15% to 20% tip to your restaurant bill, but in many cities across Europe, those who work in the service sector don’t rely as heavily on tips to earn a decent living wage. This prompts some travelers to assume that they don’t have to tip their waiters, cab drivers, and hotel housekeepers, simply because they don’t have to tip in their home country. As a general rule, you should always leave a tip to express your gratitude to service employees when you are in a place where tipping is customary. Since it can be a pain to figure out exactly how much you should add to the bill, it would be a smart idea to do a little research in advance to find out the average tipping percentage in the country you are visiting.
After not being able to leave the house, let alone travel, for countless months, most of us cannot wait to explore new destinations or revisit old favorites. However, if the COVID restrictions have taught us anything, it’s that travel is a privilege. Just because you have the passport, time, and money you need to travel doesn’t mean that the world is at your disposal. That said, don’t be a bad tourist; don’t haggle too much, respect other people’s cultures and traditions, research your destination in advance, learn some basic words in the local language, and always be kind to those in the service sector.
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