Traveling abroad is exciting, fun, and broadens the mind, but it can be tricky to navigate different languages, cultures, and etiquette. However, there are several things that you can do to avoid embarrassing faux pas when you’re out and about in a new place.
Learn the Language
This one may seem obvious but it can be an oversight. A country’s language is not only its way of communicating but it represents their history and culture, and by learning even a little you are showing respect and appreciation for it. If you aren’t naturally talented with languages, bring along a dictionary, or download an app that will help you to communicate when you’re there. And don’t worry about getting a word wrong or mispronouncing something, whoever you are speaking to will understand that it is difficult and appreciate the effort you are going to, they might even help you along, and it is better than expecting them to speak your native language to you.
Check Local Customs
A few online searches can teach you a lot about where you are traveling to, and with the internet at our fingertips, it is easy to check up on what the social norms are in different cultures. However, there are websites that can tell you what is acceptable and what’s not acceptable. For example, not every country treats gambling the same, and different places will have different customs surrounding the pastime. Take Japan’s “pachinko” culture, for instance. Pachinko parlors are an an integral feature of every Japanese city, whereby players can places bets in these brightly colored slot-type machines. They can be found all over Japan and represent a an important part of the culture. It is always good to keep yourself informed and even in the U.S., it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest information regarding such topics. For further details you can click here to see all the legal gambling brands in America. Even things that seem normal to you can pose an issue if you are traveling, such as in Maryland, where sleeveless t-shirts are banned in public parks, even when exercising! So, whatever you are planning on doing, particularly in public spaces, just do a quick check to see if it’s acceptable to the locals.
Talk to Locals
This one is more for those wishing to experience ‘proper’ culture, rather than the trendiest restaurant or club that they have seen online and in the news. By speaking to people who live in the area you are visiting you can get a taste of what their day-to-day lives are like, as well as getting recommendations for the best places to eat and socialize. If there is a great café tucked away behind a laundrette, then the locals will know. If there is a bar that serves locally-sourced alcohol, then the locals will know. So, if you are looking to really assimilate into a new society, then this is the best option – and you may even make some new friends along the way.
One of the final, and most important tips, is simply to enjoy your time away. Step away from you camera or your phone and try to really experience everything around you, because when you leave, you’ll be wishing you had paid more attention. By staying safe, considerate, and present, you can’t really go wrong, and you’ll make some wonderful memories too.
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