I read an article on MSNBC recently about types of tourists who are “killing” tourism. Some of the examples were all too familiar: like the piling of plates at the buffet spread. No, I’m not guilty! Anyway, inspired by that article, I’ve decided to start a new series on travel etiquette. This series will feature general tips on what to do and what not to do when we come into contact with foreign cultures around the world, as well as customs in specific countries. My aim with this series is to make our travels a more pleasant, more educational experience for both tourists and the locals. I hope you find this new series useful.

Learn to say ‘Thank you’ in the local language.
You might think this is the biggest no-brainer but you’d be surprised how few tourists actually take the trouble to learn just that one word or phrase (like… how much trouble is it?)! Thanking someone for a service rendered or for an offer of help is a universal custom so take a moment to memorise the foreign language equivalent (even if that’s the only word you’ll learn) and ask a local how to properly pronounce the word or phrase (they will certainly appreciate your interest). Oh, and don’t forget to put this wonderful foreign word/phrase into practice! 🙂

4 Responses

  • This is spot on. Imagine the impact of not being thanked in your own language after service, time after time again. It very much contributes to a feeling of distaste towards tourists and contributes to the Ugly American view. Like you said, it’s so simple, so there’s really no excuse!

  • That’s very true. ‘Thank you’ is definitely a good start but learning a few more words or phrases is way better, like “parlez vous anglais?” 😉

  • You are so right! Actually I think that travellers should even learn a few more words. Not really much, but just a few more. Ok, it could happen that the locals think that you’ll understand them, so also add the sentence “Sorry, I don’t really speak your language.” 😉

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