Before start traveling around the world, it’s important to learn about cultural sensitivity.
There is a bunch of various definitions to the notion but in simple words, it means the ability to understand cultural differences without making any positive or negative valuation of it.
While traveling, you should keep in mind that your culture specifics don’t make better than local people.
You should know that there is a bunch of stereotypes about tourists all over the world.
There is an idea that usually tourists are disrespectful, loud and messy, and use only their native language in any case.
Of course, it cannot be applied for any tourist but still, most people around the world believe this stereotype.
If you want to be a respectful traveler, you should be able to recognize and respect any culture all over the world.
Of course, it can be really hard as some things can be rather frustrating.
Nevertheless, this task can be really accomplished if you will just give it your best.
To become a considerate traveler, take a look at our cultural sensitivity tips.
Learn About Your Destination
Going on a trip, you should start by learning some facts about your destination and its culture.
You need to learn about local values, way of behavior and lifestyle.
Also, take a look at such aspects as the way how locals dress, act or eat.
It’s just basics you need to know in order to be able to understand and respect local culture and way of life.
Also, you need to continue your research even during your stay at your destination as it’s the best source of info about local traditions and customs.
Visit some cultural and historical sightseeing and local museums to learn more about your place of destination.
Use every opportunity to chat with locals and learn more interesting facts.
And of course, take your time to read some local newspaper or magazine to stay updated.
Take Some Language Lessons
Going abroad one of the best ideas is to learn at least some language basics.
In such a way you can get acquainted with locals and show them that you are interested in their culture.
Keep in mind that English is not so widely spread in many countries as you may think so knowing at list some basic phrases in the local language can really help you.
If you are planning a long stay, it’s better to take some language classes to be able to communicate with locals easily.
Also, you need to learn about some body language locals use.
It’s absolutely important as the same hand signal can have a different meaning in different countries.
Learning such facts, you can be respectful and avoid offending people around you.
Language is your opportunity to learn more about local culture.
It gives you an opportunity to communicate easily with locals and learn more about your destination.
Of course, each of us has its own preferences in clothes and style but still, it’s better to dress like locals if you travel abroad.
Visiting a community with a modest standard of dressing, try to follow local customs as much as you can and give preference to the more conservative look.
It doesn’t mean that you are obliged to wear some traditional clothes but still be respectful.
If local women are obliged to cover their hair, make sure to do the same.
Follow this tip not only for clothes-related issues.
If you see that locals don’t wear lots of jewelry or don’t flash their gadgets, do the same.
It’s not simply some cultural aspects but some safety concerns as well.
Having dinner with locals, try not to turn down offered treats.
Such behavior can show you a really rude and offensive person.
Sharing a meal is an important aspect of any culture.
If your local hosts or friends offer you some food, it’s better to give it a try if you want to be respectful and polite.
Also, it’s really important to learn about local traditions of taking a meal.
In various countries, people use various utensils or no utensils at all.
There are countries, where people eat with a specific hand or sit on the floor while taking their meal.
Of course, you cannot be sure which customs are applied in concrete place so be observant and attentive.
If you decided to go to some unique destination, it’s a great chance that you’ll face an absolutely unique local religion.
Going to admire some historical and cultural sightseeing, you should stay aware of local religion and its customs.
For example, in some countries to be allowed to local religious spots, you should follow the dress code or meet some other requirements.
Also, some places have a bunch of rules that aim to regulate your behavior during your visit.
The list may include such points as keeping silence, making no photos, using certain signals or bowing.
Just keep in mind that you are visiting some important location respected by locals and considered as a representative of your own country and culture.
If you aren’t following the local rules, you may be seen as an extremely impolite person and this image will be transferred to your own community and nationality.
Taking photos is an important part of traveling and a tool to save some moments.
There can be photos of beautiful landscapes and locations as well as images capturing the local lifestyle.
Before making any photos with locals, it’s important to ask for their permission.
In fact, there are lots of people around the world that are ready to share their lifestyle, customs, and traditions.
If the answer is no, just stay respectful to people’s decision.
Some people prefer to keep their daily life private or just not in a mood to share it now.