When traveling abroad, it is best to make preparations beforehand. Pack your bags, reserve your lodgings, and learn the do's and don'ts of international tourism.
Do Learn Some Basic Phrases in the Language
Before you hop on a plane to your international destination, it will be beneficial to do at least a crash course of important phrases to know in the local language. The best way to do this is to find a professional teacher to help you with the key phrases you will encounter while abroad. The second-best way to learn basic phrases is to find a YouTube channel with content dedicated to teaching the language. Buying a book may be beneficial, but it might include outdated vocabulary. The absolute worst way to learn phrases in the local language is by trying to use Google Translate.
Don't Assume People Will Speak English
The reason for learning basic phrases in the local language is the fact that you should never assume that the denizens of that country will speak English. Although English is the lingua franca in countries throughout the world, most countries have their own mother tongue. They are not required to learn English so that you can tour their country. If you want someone who will always be able to speak English with you, it is best to find a local tour guide to accompany you on your trip. They can act as your interpreter and can help you with the next don't.
Don't Venture on Your Own
Although it may seem fun to climb Mount Kilimanjaro accompanied only by your hiking gear, it is not the smartest idea. Getting lost, accidents, and local wildlife are all reasons not to do any hike on your own. You also should not venture off the beating trail of large and small cities alike. You have no idea what the infrastructure is like. Are you entering a high crime area? Is this part of the city a high pickpocketing area? You do not know. Stay with your tour group or your tour guide. If you get lost within the city, keep your mouth shut and head to the closest place of business. Hopefully your basic phrases will serve you as you seek to get help. This may be a good time to use Google Translate, since you are in a desperate position.
Do Research Clothing Guidelines
Clothing guidelines?! No one can tell me what to wear! As logical as this thought seems, it is an American one. When traveling abroad, there may be times where you have to conform to the local clothing standards. This is especially true for women. If it makes you feel better, think of it as a dress code. Following the local dress code will help you avoid problems. Those problems may include not being able to participate in an activity such as entering a place of worship in Italy, being on the beaches of Morocco, among others. Not following local clothing norms on the street may also cause you to experience verbal harassment. Do your research and follow the norms. Do not let your freedom mindset cause you a huge headache while traveling abroad.
Do Learn Greeting Customs
Greeting customs include verbal and nonverbal communication. In some countries it is considered rude not to greet people upon passing them on the sidewalk. In other countries it is rude not to greet each person upon entering a room. When visiting other countries, you should avoid greeting people of the opposite gender. Some countries bow to greet, some nod the head, some shake hands. Some require shaking with the left hand. Some prefer the right hand. Some you can give a thumbs up to acknowledge someone. In other countries, a thumbs up is like flicking people off. Researching greeting customs in the country you are going to visit will help you avoid embarrassment and committing cultural faux pas.
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