As travelers, understanding & respecting customs is key. Cultural sensitivity can help ensure good experiences while on cultural group trips. Here are some do's & don'ts to make sure that your travels are respectful!
Get informed: Before setting out on your journey, it is important to research the culture, history, and laws of the areas that you plan to visit. Doing this will give you insight into what kind of expectations there may be from locals towards travelers as well as an understanding of how daily life in those areas operates.
Use common sense: Respectful behavior often comes down to using common sense. For example, no matter where you are it is usually best to remain silent or at least polite when discussing other cultures or religions, use appropriate language and keep your voice down in public places such as libraries or temples.
Observe local dress codes: When sightseeing or visiting public places it is important to observe the typical dress codes of locals. For example, if visiting a church or temple make sure to cover up bare arms and legs.
Show gratitude: A simple gesture like offering thanks can go a long way in creating positive relationships with the people you meet and encounter around the globe. Whether it is simply thanking a street vendor for their service or offering assistance to a struggling traveler, showing your gratitude is an easy way to make friends while on the road.
Don't disrespect local traditions: Different parts of the world have different ways of doing things which should be respected even if they seem strange. Things like ignoring pointing rules or breaching entry protocols can lead to immense offense being taken by locals which could potentially threaten your safety so it is best just to abide by their age old customs.
Don’t take advantage of locals: Taking part in activities such as bartering or overpaying for services/products is seen as disrespectful and takes away from the experience each destination has to offer so try not to do this whenever possible.
Don’t be ignorant: Being aware of any existing conflicts within the nation and actively avoiding topics relating to them will be beneficial both in terms of creating good interactions with locals as well as avoiding dangerous situations.
Don’t litter: Littering not only harms wildlife but also contributes to environmental damage so remember not to leave any trash behind when you visit a new place!
Respecting local customs doesn’t only benefit us as travelers but it also ensures that our host communities feel welcomed and appreciated throughout our stay. Showing that we understand how integral their culture is allows us to make better connections with the people around us and make sure that our impact is positive both socially and environmentally!