Travelling to another country or even another region means discovering other ways of life and meeting and speaking with new people.
The more respect travellers show for the place they’re visiting, the warmer a welcome they’ll receive.
Below are a few obvious rules you should follow to make the most of your travels and stay safe and secure.
Travellers who go abroad won’t always speak the language of the country they’re visiting.
Just learning a few words before setting off can help solve many a problem when you’re there.
Saying hello when you enter a shop, saying thank you to a passer-by who’s just helped you with directions.
All you need to do is write down a few common words on a small sheet of paper and pop it in your pocket.
Respect local customs
A foreign country means different customs and maybe religions.
If things seem strange, try to be tolerant.
People from the country you’re visiting would feel the same way if they travelled to your home town.
Think about what you’re wearing when you visit a place of worship.
Beach attire isn’t suitable for walking around most towns.
You may’ve been partying all evening, but if it’s late, remember that other people will be sleeping.
While you’ll be enjoying your lie-in in the morning, they’ll be getting up to go to work.
Show some courtesy to others who are probably trying to get a good night’s sleep.
Customs and Manners
Different countries can have very different customs, so please take the time to learn a little about the do’s and don’ts of the people in the country you’ll be visiting.
In China, for example, it can be considered impolite to finish what’s on your plate when you’re invited for a meal at someone’s house – the host may get the impression they didn’t prepare enough food.
In Japan you should never put your chopsticks vertically in your bowl of rice – because that’s what they do at funerals.
In Spain, the locals don’t eat their evening meal until around 9 pm.
In France, seeing couples holding hands and kissing in the street is fairly commonplace but it can be considered taboo elsewhere.
Don’t take photographs of people you don’t know unless they’ve given you their permission and never do so on the sly.
Make contact by saying hello or smiling first and only then should you take your photo.
It’s always nice to show people the photo(s) you’ve taken of them.
Don’t be too insistent, it is perfectly within a person’s right to refuse your request.
If you’re sure you won’t be needing your camera, put it away and enjoy your tour without looking at everything through a lens.
– It’s a good idea to scan your ID documents (passport, driving licence, visas, insurance certificates) and send them to yourself via email.
That way, you’ll have a copy in the unfortunate event you lose anything.
– Check out your destination, don’t take any unnecessary risks by venturing into unsafe areas.
The French government’s foreign travel advice can be found (in French) on the Conseils aux voyageurs website.
Before going trekking or hiking, always let someone know what you’re planning to do, give them your itinerary and tell them when you’re planning to come back.
If you’re the victim of an attack or attempted mugging, it’s best not to put up a fight. Do nothing and resign yourself to the theft.
You might end up losing money and they may get your camera but hopefully you’ll be ok and that’s the most important thing.
Assuming you have travel insurance, you’ll hopefully be able to make a claim and recover your money.
– Keep your money in a safe place, practice counting out foreign currency making sure you separate out the notes and don’t ever take a big wad of cash out in full view of everyone.
Most thefts occur at the start of people’s holidays. People are often less vigilant because they’re tired after the journey and so delighted to be start sightseeing at last.
– One more piece of advice, avoid wearing a bum bag on full show, which is a bit like telling any potential robbers:
“Look everyone, I’m carrying valuables, and they’re in here!”
– Be extremely careful on the roads and don’t hire a moped unless you know how to ride one.