Everyone loves to travel, but that doesn’t mean we’re all good at it. Etiquette varies from country to country and you can’t possibly be expected to know all of the local customs when you travel. However, there are a few basic rules to follow when going abroad that should keep you from embarrassing your fellow countrymen – and if you don’t follow them, you’re officially branded an Annoying Tourist.
Here’s how to tell if you’re the traveling version of “That Guy,” and how to avoid it in the future.
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You Ignore the Rules
As tempting as it is to play the “I’m just a tourist” card, you shouldn’t take short cuts or flout the rules and expect to get a pass just because you’re a foreigner. One of the most exciting things about traveling is that you’re faced with new challenges to overcome, whether they’re related to navigation, language or culture. Don’t go against traffic rules, ignore signage or requests from locals and don’t even think about butting into that queue.
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When you’re out there repping for your country, you want to look your best. You’ll probably check the weather forecast before you pack; while you’re at it why not find out if you’ll be expected to maintain a certain level of dress in the country you’re visiting? Don’t schlep around Monaco in socks and sandals or walk topless down a beach in Mumbai. Also while you’re out there being a proud ambassador of America, try to keep the patriotism to a tasteful level. No need to proclaim your citizenship with Star-Spangled Banner sweatpants.
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You Expect Everyone to Speak English
English may be the dominant language in many parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean everyone speaks it well or at all. If you barge around a country speaking English at people and then get impatient over their lack of response, don’t be surprised when you receive poor treatment at the hands of the natives. Communicate slowly, be patient and perhaps even try to learn a few key words in their language, even if it’s just “hello” and “thank you.” It may not advance the conversation, but people usually appreciate the effort and are more likely to help you out.