It’s always great to be able to travel and to discover new countries, but we should all make sure we travel responsibly.
There are plenty of travel mistakes we can make unknowingly. So it’s best to be prepared and make sure we do not hurt the people or the place we are visiting.
This article presents you with the things you need to know about responsible travel and the things you should never do while travelling abroad.
It’s always easier when we travel to countries with a culture similar to ours no and with customs and traditions that we know. However, when travelling to countries with very different cultures, it’s always great to be prepared.
That is why white it may be surprising for you, you should know what not to do while travelling abroad. These tips and tricks may actually save you from experiencing embarrassing moments and even encounters with the police.
The travel tips included in this article are based on our long travelling experience and interactions with cultures across the globe. So, if you’re interested in responsible tourism, keep reading as you’ll discover what you should avoid doing when travelling.
Responsible travel: 15 things you should never do while travelling abroad
Don’t make fun of local traditions – always respect the local culture
It is possible for you not to understand the local custom because you don’t have the same cultural background as the people from the country you are visiting.
However, you should never make fun of any local custom, tradition, or event.
Just as you wouldn’t like foreigners to laugh at you and whatever holidays and customs you have in your country, you should always respect the local culture.
Instead, keep an open mind and try to discover the root of that specific tradition.
Don’t act superior just because you’re from a different country
You might think you’re coming from a country that’s more evolved or a culture that’s more open than the one in the country you’re visiting.
However, no matter how famous or big your country of origin is, is you should never act superior when visiting a different country. So make sure you are a respectful traveler! Always!
Don’t take pictures of people without consent. Read in advance what you are allowed to photograph
It’s highly unlikely that you would love it if you were worth drinking something at a cafe or eating lunch and someone would come and take a photo of you up close without asking for your permission.
That is why you should always ask for consent before taking a picture of a person.
And speaking of photography, make sure to read in advance if there aren’t any restrictions on that topic in the country you are visiting.
Usually, it’s not allowed to take pictures of military buildings and the military/police personnel.
Make sure to always respect the signs regarding taking photos at each of the places you are visiting. Many museums do not allow taking pictures inside, for instance.
Responsible tourism and being a respectful traveller should be goals for everyone!
Don’t act like you know everything there is to know about the place you are visiting just because you’ve read some articles
Make sure to always keep an open mind and live prejudice and stereotypes at home as this will allow you to travel respectfully.
It’s obviously useful to read guys and travel articles from the people who visited the country before, but you should never assume that you know everything there is to know about that country, about its history and culture.
It should go without saying, but you should never throw away garbage in a public space, park, beach, sea, ocean, etc.
It’s a sign of respect for yourself in the first place to always throw the trash in garbage bins. It’s a sign of responsible travel!
Don’t dress inappropriately
When visiting a new country, make sure you read articles or guides and discover if there are clothing restrictions.
Make sure to always be dressed properly for each place you plan on visiting – museums, places of worship, high-class restaurants, etc.
Pay attention to don’t use sign language that may offend
A sign may have a specific meaning in your country and the very different one, even offensive, in other countries.
Make sure you read about that before visiting a country, as it’s obviously recommended to avoid making signs that could be misinterpreted by the locals.
Respect the rules
While you may not always like each local law, so you should always respect them all when travelling abroad.
You are a responsible traveller if you research in advance what are the specific laws that are different than the ones in your country and you respect them.
Pay attention to the display of affection in public in the countries where that is not allowed
You will see people in Europe and the US showing displays of affection in public as that is allowed. However, there are many countries where that is forbidden or considered rude.
Pay attention to alcohol consumption
There are countries where drinking is prohibited or not too encouraged.
But even if alcohol is available and not taboo, you should still pay attention to how much you’re drinking, especially if you’re travelling alone.
Don’t travel before knowing basic rules from the country you are visiting
By basic rules, I’m thinking of tipping, food, and eating habits. Learn in advance if tipping is common practice and what’s the amount you should leave. Also, learn more about the eating habits, if they are different from the ones in your country.
If you know you’ll attend a special event – like a tea ceremony in Japan – make sure you know how it goes for you to be prepared. Obviously, there may be some differences and things you’ll need to adapt to when going through that specific ceremony or event, but being prepared will help you a lot.
Don’t feed the wildlife
You may encounter some wildlife on your travels. For instance, in Romania, you might spot a bear or a fox on some roads through the mountains.
However, you should never feed them. And this is something valid throughout the world.
Don’t do something that can potentially damage any of the places you are visiting
Yes, there may be a “just a brick” that you’d like to climb on in order for you to take the perfect photo or to have your photo taken on top of for your insta feed. but that “brick”, part of an ancient wall, is damaged by every person that does that.
So make sure you don’t ignore the signs that say don’t climb or touch different objects and listen to those recommendations and rules.
Don’t take photos of animals with your blitz on
Not only that will make them mad, but it also bothers them.
Don’t be disrespectful to your tour guides
Always treat your tour guides with respect, no matter what country you are visiting.
Don’t travel unprepared
Make sure you always have with you the documents you need – for instance, learn everything there is to know about visa requirements before each place you’re visiting. Don’t expect others to be indulgent and forgiving just because you didn’t prepare in advance.
If you follow this recommendation, you will be a responsible traveller and everyone will appreciate that. You’ll avoid problems and embarrassing moments while travelling abroad.
I hope you find this list of things you should never do while traveling abroad useful and I’m inviting you to tell me if there are other things that I should add to this article.
photo sources: 1, 2, 3, pin 1, photo in pins 2, 3, and 4, second photo in pins 2, 3, and 4
One thought on “Responsible travel: 15 things you should never do while travelling abroad”
An excellent summary, Violeta. Good for you for publishing this! I’ve seen all of these misbehaviors on my travels. It’s embarrassing & makes me cringe when I see travelers being rude & arrogant in another country. Keep up the good work, Violeta. This reminder is long overdue. Best Regards, Roy Stevenson