Don’t stress; here are the tips to respect culture but enjoy the trip too.
No one wants to be labelled a stupid tourist with little idea or respect for culture while travelling abroad.
Whether it be pulling out a map, asking for directions or walking around aimlessly, it’s no fun to feel like a vacationer when you’re striving to fit in.
Don’t sweat it; here is some advice to ensure that you don’t look like a clueless visitor while out and about overseas.
1. France: say ‘hi’ when entering a shop
Whether you know it or not, it is a vital part of French culture to greet the shop owner when entering their stores.
You may be unproblematic in the shop and have a calm demeanour, but if you do not greet the owner, their attitude towards you can become very cold, leaving you wondering what you might have done wrong.
It is usually polite to do this everywhere, but in Australia, if a shop assistant is busy, it’s no big deal if a greeting is missed.
But make sure you give your warmest when entering a shop to avoid awkward confrontations when purchasing something later on.
2. London: stand on the right
Here in Australia, we were born and raised with everything done on the left side: walking, running and even bike riding.
However, it is the complete opposite in London, despite the fact that they also drive on the left side of the road.
In such a busy city, it is easy to get caught up in the rush of the underground, and self-consciously move to the left, but remember that Londoners do it differently and you are the tourist!
You’ll want to avoid the bustle of a busy peak hour, so you’ll have to mentally work hard at staying on the right side while negotiating those pedestrian paths.
3. USA: Expect to pay more than the price tag
Unlike Australia where whatever price is labelled is the price you have to pay, in the United States, the sales tax is added after the item is scanned at the register.
This may be unhelpful if you are eager to offload some extra coinage, as it forces tourists to use bigger bills on something they thought they could pay for with loose change.
While it is illogical and may be a hassle to deal with, be prepared to pay more than expected or just bring some credit cards along. It could save you the embarrassment of not having enough cash when you really need it!
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