It is officially my favorite time of the year. I love the summer months when the weather is warm because it is the best time to take a vacation. After working through cold, sometimes damp, weather during the winter months, a person is almost due a break to recharge. And what better way to unwind than to travel abroad? Traveling to another country can be quite an adventure where you get to relish in cultures different from your own. So, get your passports ready for an escape to unknown lands, but remember to follow the following do’s and don’ts to ensure that your trip is safe and stress free.
- Don’t have cultural superiority regarding other cultures.
The United States is great and we are blessed to live here, but we must not look at other cultures that are dissimilar as inferior. Remember when you go to another country we are guests and we should act as such. You would not want a houseguest telling you how their home is better than yours, so don’t go to another country and complain about their country or compare it to the US.
- Do try to learn a few words of the country that you are visiting. Even though many people in foreign countries speak English as a second language, it will show respect if you try to learn at least some basic words or phrases in the native language of the country that you are visiting. Trust me, people in the country you are visiting will appreciate you just saying “hello” and “thank you” in their language. There is no need to try to learn a whole foreign language before your trip, just use an app from your phone or look up some phrases before your trip on the internet.
- Don’t commit a faux pas while dining.
Table manners and customs that are accepted in the U.S. may not be accepted in the country that you are visiting, so it is always best to research the norms of the country to avoid any blunders especially while dining. For example, it is considered rude to slurp food in the U.S. while slurping in Japan is a compliment for delicious food. Also in Japan, one must never stick chopsticks upright in rice because during funerals, a rice bowl is placed before a deceased person’s coffin with the chopsticks upright in the rice.
- Do research to learn about how to dress and traditions in the country.
Don’t be Samantha from Sex and The City where you must leave a country fast because of mistakes that could have been avoided. Research how people in the country you are visiting dress. In Dubai, the culture is conservative, so it is best to cover up and not show a lot of skin when venturing away from the hotel. Giving someone a “thumbs up” in the U.S. means approval while it means the complete opposite in Greece, so always err on the side of caution and research, research, research.