Travel Tips with a Socio-Cultural Focus

Photograph on this page courtesy of Will Bates, Image copyright Conor Ashleigh 2008

Photograph on this page courtesy of Will Bates, Image copyright Conor Ashleigh 2008

• Research your destination. Learn about its history, political situation, current events, cultural groups and intercultural dynamics, religion, geography, cuisine, transportation, etc.

• Learn at least a few basic phrases in your host community’s language. Learn how people greet each other and practice that greeting. Body language is also important. Be astute and adapt your body language appropriately.

• Find out about local taboos and customs by asking people who have traveled before you, by consulting guidebooks etc., and then respect them.

• Dress appropriately. Respecting the dress code where you are is very important, especially around religious sites.

• Be snapshot savvy. Don’t experience your entire trip through the lens of a camera. Ask locals before taking photographs of them or activities they are involved in.

• Learn about something you’re interested in while you travel. Do you have a passion or hobby? Find out how people in another culture approach or deal with the same theme.

• Don’t limit yourself to the tourist hotspots and popular destinations. Look for events going on that are not mentioned in guidebooks and seek places that are not overcrowded with like-minded tourists. Go where the locals go; however, use your discretion and don’t infringe on people’s private activities and spaces.

• Bring small, thoughtful gifts from home if you know that you are going to be spending time with a local family or in a community.

• Beggars. In many cities in the world you will encounter both children and adults begging. Generally speaking, giving money to children is not a good idea. Depending on you where you are, the implications for giving to beggars are different. Search the Internet and local travel guides for local rules and recommendations.

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