7 Travel Etiquette Tips
Traveling can either be a pleasant or an unpleasant experience depending on how travelers follow etiquette rules. Be the traveler that helps people to enjoy their trip and not the clueless tourist who spoils all the fun in exploring places.
Queueing at the airport
The airport is almost always your first stop when you’re traveling to another city or country. With hundreds to thousands of people traveling with you, you should be prepared to wait in line at the check-in counter or other security points at the airport.
More importantly, however, you could help minimize queueing and make traveling less stressful for everyone. Be conscious enough that you’re stalling people behind you when you rummage through your purse for your travel documents or when you have to remove items in your luggage at the last minute. It’s a waste of precious time that you and your fellow travelers could otherwise spend getting on the plane sooner instead of later.
Boarding the plane, lift, train, etc.
Unless you’ve been living in isolation from the rest of the world, you should know the following general rules in moving around places:
Avoid playing loud music or video games in speaker mode so as not to distract or disturb the person around you on the plane, lift, or train. Keep your speaking voice low, too.
If the travel time is rather short, try to resist the urge to recline your seat in the plane. If you really need to do it, remember to do it slowly to avoid any harm or inconvenience to the person at the back of your seat.
You’ll be dining out or staying in a hotel most of the time when you’re on a trip, and you might find yourself asking whether you should leave a tip for the staff who served or waited on you. In general, the Japanese rule is not to accept tips from customers, so don’t even attempt to tell the vendor to keep the change. Otherwise, they might view your tipping gesture as rather derogatory – something along the lines of dishing out a dole.
On the other hand, tipping is more prevalent in the United States. In fact, the common practice is to tip at least 17% on your bill.
The bottom line is, giving gratuities may be acceptable in one country but may not be the standard practice in another. Check rules about tipping from someone who knows the culture, policies, or preferences of the locale, restaurant, or country that you’re visiting beforehand.
Dining dos and don’ts
Speaking of restaurants, eating meals is another aspect that travelers need to pay attention to. Whether you’re dining in a resto or the house of your host, there are certain practices you can and cannot do.
Again, the rules vary by culture, but here are some must-know things to keep in mind:
Do finish everything on your plate when you’re dining in India and Japan. Food is considered sacred in India, so leaving food portions on your plate is considered disrespectful. Meanwhile, the Japanese dislike wasting anything, even more so when it comes to the food being served to you.
Don’t leave behind an empty plate for your Chinese host. In China, an empty plate signifies that you’re still hungry or that the host has not served you enough food.
Don’t ask for Parmesan in Italy to avoid the ire of chefs. The locals will put a bowl of Parmesan on the table if the dish you’re eating needs some Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Do go to the bathroom to blow your nose if you’re eating with Koreans. Although it’s common courtesy that you should not do this kind of gesture on the table during meals, Koreans find it particularly disgusting and offensive.
Say cheese! Taking snapshots and selfies
What do photographers like Ralph Wunsch have in common? They love to travel, that’s what.
Traveling lets them discover a wide range of subjects and the most IG-worthy places to add to their portfolio. Just be mindful of certain guidelines when it’s your turn to take pictures in a foreign place.
For example, it’s inappropriate to make Nazi concentration camps as your selfie or groufie background due to their negative historical connotation.
Make sure as well that you don’t get in the way of people who are trying to get into public places such as subways, shops, restaurants, and the like.
Saying commonly used expressions
It pays to know how people greet one another in your travel destination, so get a handbook of commonly used expressions from a local bookstore or look it up on Google.
Some nations might use gestures like a handshake or kissing on the cheek while others, bow. Brush up on your social skills to help you gain instant friends along the way.
Dressing in style
Dress codes exist in some countries or special places of interest like mosques, temples or churches. Some will deny you entry if you’re not dressed appropriately for the occasion or the setting.
That said, observe how people around you dress up and try to stick to the norm. Do as the Romans do.
These are just a few of the travel etiquette tips we have in mind.
Did we miss out on other important tips? Share it with us below!