International travel does wonders for the soul, but can be a nightmare if you do not take the time to learn about the area you will be visiting before you go. One of the best ways to prepare for safe international travels is to learn the culture of the place where you are visiting – and for many reasons. Not only do you need to be able to communicate with natives, but you also don’t want to offend anyone or stand out as a vulnerable tourist. Research is your best friend and there are many resources available for you to use to brush up on the language, customs, and possible threats that may greet you upon arrival.
Here are a few international travel tips to guide your research:
Learning The Language Before Your Trip
No matter which source you use, every list of international travel tips will include this one. Learn the language before you go. You do not have to be fluent – basic dialect with a few common phrases will make a world of difference. Understanding the language will prevent merchants from ripping you off, allow you to communicate with local authorities, and get directions from locals when you need them.
Understand the Local Customs, Manners, and Etiquette
You will also want to study the customs of the people of your destination. Learning the customs, how the locals do things, will keep you from making faux pas and the people you meet from becoming angry with you. For example, you would not want to point with your finger to ask for directions where doing so is considered offensive. No one would help a rude person, regardless of the situation. By not obeying the local customs and etiquette, you will look like a delinquent or worse, leaving you as the scapegoat if something goes wrong.
Wardrobe International Travel Tips
While you may have considered bringing an outfit or two that reminds you of your destination for fun, you may want to consider bringing more. Clothing can make you stand out as a tourist, increasing your vulnerability to being targeted by local criminals – especially if in hostile territory. Research and find out what the locals are wearing and try to blend in if you can.
Note Any Terrorist Activity/Threats
While most of us already plan for emergencies, we may not think about how terrorism could affect our trip, especially if you are visiting somewhere that is currently considered “safe.” Terrorist threats can happen without warning – anytime, anywhere – turning an otherwise great trip into a nightmare. Know the risk for terrorist activity before you go and be on alert for any suspicious activity while you are there.
Understand Local Religious Customs
In many cases, religion determines cultural norms. Thus, you want to know which religions are predominant in the places you will visit. Studying the rules and guidelines of these religions will give you a great start on learning the culture.
Universal Safety and Security Solutions is familiar with the safety risks involved with international travel. We can help you determine how much of a risk is involved with your travel plans and be prepared before you go. Contact us for more international travel tips and to set up a travel risk assessment for your destination.