The world has become smaller over recent decades thanks to a number of factors. These include the internet, cheaper and easier ways to travel and, as the large number of digital nomad communities makes clear, the chance to work from anywhere. It’s undoubtedly a good thing that we can see more of the world and even work while we do it, but if you’re going to make this part of your life experience, it’s a good idea to make sure that you make a good impression when you travel.
You have no doubt seen portrayals on TV and in movies of nightmare tourists. Wherever they go in the world, they expect the world to revolve around them. They seem to feel that they are doing people a favour by visiting their city or country, and expect to be treated with gratitude as a result. These people are, not to put too fine a point on it, rarely welcome anywhere, but are too oblivious to anyone else’s feelings to realise it. And it’s a good idea to study the following tips to ensure that you are the absolute opposite of these people. As you’ll see, it pays to be a good tourist.
Learn about the place before you go
It’s easy to ask whether a place is worth visiting or even a potential future home, but the reality is that no matter where you go it can be as good or as bad as you’re prepared to make it. The only way to really get to know a place is to spend time there, but it is a good idea to research before you go. Knowing the customs and laws of a country or city, being able to speak a few words of the language, and keeping up with the news in that area are all good ideas. People respond better to visitors who put some effort into fitting in, rather than expecting the surroundings to shift to accommodate them.
Plan out at least a basic itinerary
Showing up in a new place and expecting it to have everything you want is naive, and also a little bit rude. You wouldn’t just turn up in someone’s home and expect them to entertain you. Any holiday will be much more enjoyable if you have an idea of what you’re going to do while there. The internet is an incredibly versatile resource, and even if you’ve never been to a place before, you can turn up with a decent idea of what the main attractions are and where people go to eat, among other things. Turning up and then walking around the town asking if they have a Starbucks will annoy people, and reputation can travel fast.
Contribute to the local economy
If you do it right, the point of international travel is to experience new places, see new sights, enjoy new tastes. This will go particularly well if you keep your spending local. Why would you go to a new country and then look for a familiar chain restaurant to eat in? You’ll immediately be more welcome in a new place if you find a local, independent restaurant and eat there. Be respectful, curious and communicative, and you’ll find that your experience of a place is so much better for the effort – and people will offer you advice on other places you can go which will make the trip even more special.