Be a good tourist with these travel etiquette tips


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Seasoned globetrotters or newbies, anyone can benefit from learning the secrets to being a good tourist. It’s not only about blending in but also about respecting the local culture and environment.

From mingling with the locals like a pro to showing respect for different cultures, here’s how to be the ultimate tourist.

Young woman reading guidebook at ancient temple in Cambodia

Research the local culture

Before you even book that flight, do your homework! Take a little time to read up on the customs, traditions, and norms of where you’re headed. Understanding the local culture will help you interact with locals in a respectful way and avoid unintentionally offending anyone.

Lost tourist asking for help from a pedestrian

Learn basic phrases

Even if you can’t become fluent in the local language, knowing a few basic phrases can go a long way in showing respect to locals. A “hello,” “please,” and “thank you” in the local language can be like magic words that open doors.

Guide pointing out features of Diriyah ruins near Riyadh

Dress with respect

Your clothes can make you look either like a rude tourist or a polite visitor. Dress appropriately for the local customs, especially in religious or conservative areas. It shows that you’re mindful and respectful.

Tourists taking a selfie

Observe local customs

 Pay attention to how locals behave in public spaces and try to follow suit. For instance, some places may have specific rules about public displays of affection, tipping practices, or gift-giving traditions

twinsterphoto / istockphoto

Visit local businesses

While you’re exploring, why not support local businesses? Whether it’s trying out the family-run restaurant or finding treasures in small shops, you’re not just shopping; you’re supporting the local economy and promoting a more authentic experience.

Travel like a local

Bargain respectfully

In many countries, haggling is a common practice, especially in markets. However, remember to do it with respect and fairness. Avoid becoming overly aggressive or insisting on extremely low prices.

The world is just waiting to be explored
Dean Mitchell/istockphoto

Respect nature

Be mindful of your environmental impact while traveling. Avoid littering, follow marked trails in natural areas, and leave only footprints behind. And never, ever take souvenirs from protected areas or historical monuments.

Tourist couple at the market
Drs Producoes/istockphoto

Mind your volume

Nothing outs you as an “annoying American” more than speaking in a loud, booming voice in a foreign country. Keep noise levels down, especially in quiet areas or places of worship.

group woman sitting in the restaurant and talking together

Follow the local tipping protocol

In some countries, tipping is customary, while in others, it’s not. Research the tipping customs of your destination, and tip appropriately for good service if it’s the local rule to do so.

Three lost tourists trying to find a location in a map

Be a travel chameleon

Being flexible is like a superpower when you’re traveling. Things may not always go as planned. Practice patience to adapt to changing situations without becoming frustrated or upset. Nobody likes a rude, frustrated tourist, so mind your manners.