4 Easy Ways To Be A Good Tourist

Everyone loves to travel, especially to different countries. There’s something both powerful and refreshing about a new experience in a new country. While vacationing in new places can be fun, a major key is being practicing good tourist etiquette. Here are four easy tips on being a polite traveler in new locations: 

1. Do Your Research 

This should go without saying, but it’s a major key to do your research before traveling. Besides doing the obvious research about hotel, accommodations, and activities, it’s important to understand the culture of the place you’re visiting. This can include:

  • Learning the native language and basic phrases to use 
  • Cultural customs (For example, Dubai is well known to have clothing rules for both natives and visitors)
  • Holiday dates (Important due to factors like traffic, crowds, and closures);
  • History 
  • Politics 

Understanding the basics of the location you’re traveling to will help you have a better experience when navigating and interacting with the people. 

2. Support the Locals 

Naturally, travelers and tourists will want to frequent popular and tourist friendly spots, but it’s helpful to support the locals as well. In many countries, while some locals may be employed by hotels, resorts, and other tourist centered locations, many are not. For example, in places like Jamaica, locals are not able to have access beaches due to the control of the hotels. This means that people selling crafts to tourists and even fisherman are limited in making a living for themselves when industries like tourism and fishing are vital to the economy. Support locals directly ensures money spent goes straight to their pockets without the middleman or the person at the top taking a large percentage. This can be done by the following:

  • Renting an Airbnb in a safe tourist friendly location instead of paying for a hotel or resort
  • Purchasing gifts and souvenirs from local artists and sellers instead of in airports and resorts/hotels
  • Hiring a local driver for transportation or utilizing Uber and Lyft
  • Dining at local restaurants (plus you can eat authentic food)
  • Hire local tour guides, photographers, and instructors for activities 

Besides financially supporting the locals, this gives you a unique and authentic cultural experience of your location of choice instead of staying at a hotel or resort the entire time. While planning a trip, be sure to add local restaurants, shops, and individuals to support on your itinerary. Be sure to do thorough research, read reviews, and confirm authenticity when booking through channels outside of mainstream hotels and resorts. You can find many locals advertising their tours, crafts, and activities via Airbnb under “Experiences”. 

Photo by Element5 Digital

3. Be Respectful 

You are a guest in other people’s countries, towns, cities, and homelands. While certain beliefs, customs, and religions may not be for you, be respectful while in other people’s homelands. If something makes you uncomfortable or you disagree with it, kindly do not attend said location, event, or visit the country at all. This goes back to the first tip on why it is important to do thorough research before booking your trip. Other ways to be respectful include:

  • Do not liter. Practice eco friendly tourism by adhering to cleanliness and reducing waste
  • Be mindful of where and how you are taking photos (eg. at sacred sites, burial grounds, etc)
  • Ask for consent if taking photos of people 
  • Learn the greetings and manners of the specific culture (see number one) 

Remember this is someone’s home and not just a tourist playground. Showing respect ensures you having a great time as well as not having tension, your safety and the safety of others. 

4. Educate Others 

Everyone loves sharing their travel adventures on social media whether it’s a casual post or some serious vlogging. After your next trip when you’re posting photos and videos online, be sure to share information about your local adventures too. Let others know about taxi drivers, helpful hotel staff members, tour guides, artisans, and restaurants that contributed to your amazing trip. This promotes and encourages people to support the native and local people when they are planning their own vacations to the same places. 

Not only does this assist in supporting local communities, but it also bridges the gap between people of different nationalities, races, ethnicities, and cultures bringing us together as humans. 

What are some ways your practice being a good tourist when traveling? Share below. 



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