Terrible Tourist Syndrome: Four Tips For Being Respectful When Traveling Abroad

Friday, August 23, 2013

Traveling abroad can be a wonderful and eye opening experience, but the people who live at your vacation destination may not be too excited about it.  It seems like every week there's some new story about a tourist on vacation doing something embarrassing or down right disrespectful, and nobody wants to shame themselves, or their native country and culture when they're away.  We specialize in finding people luxury villas in Tuscany, but good manners can be appreciated in every country.  If you want to avoid being a bad guest when you're abroad, make sure you follow these tips.

Be mindful of the different culture

If you're going to a fairly conservative country, don't be shocked or angry if you get some strange looks when you walk around in revealing clothing.  If you're going to be visiting a different country, you're going to have to expect that some things are going to be different abroad.  You'd be surprised by how many tourists get annoyed at the fact that they have to abide by certain cultural rules when they're abroad.  Being from a different country doesn't give you an excuse to openly flaunt your disregard of certain rules and expectations.  Do your best to learn about the local culture before your vacation so you don't unknowingly offend people.

Ask before you take pictures

Imagine that you're taking a break from work at nice and relatively well-known local park.  You're sitting enjoying your lunch and the scenery when all of the sudden you notice several flashes of light.  You look up and see a stranger snapping pictures of you when you're trying to relax.  When you kindly ask them to stop, they simply smile and walk away.  That scenario sounds strange to you, but for some people living in popular vacation destinations it's an everyday reality.  Taking somebody's picture without their permission is very rude, and it could cause some problems for you if the person you're photographing is upset.  Always ask someone before taking their picture.  If your grasp of the language isn't very good, miming the act of taking picture can get your point across. 

Don't block traffic

If you need a moment to check a map or look at your GPS, try not to do it in the middle of a busy sidewalk or when you're crossing the street.  One of the biggest pet peeves locals can have about tourists is their ability to unknowingly block foot and road traffic when they're on vacation.  You may be on vacation and not have anywhere to be, but there are thousands and possibly even millions of other people where you are that do.

Keep opinions to yourself

Some tourists can feel the need to voice their negative opinions about where they're staying, but if you're unhappy about something you should keep it to yourself.  Would you go to a friend's house and complain that you think their furniture is ugly?  Would you loudly say negative things about people in your neighborhood when you're sitting on your porch?  If you wouldn't dream about doing those things at home, why would you do them when you're abroad? 

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