We’ve all come across that person at some point or other – the person who acts oblivious to their obliviousness. That person who doesn’t know how they should be acting and can therefore be inconsiderate of others. Sometimes ignorance of proper etiquette can come off as rude, so it’s important to be aware of what is expected of you in certain situations. Here’s how to be mindful of others and avoid being that person on your next trip.
Repeat after us: “Stand right, walk left.” Most moving walkways in airports adhere to this rule, and have signs posted everywhere with the rule, and even stamp the rule onto the walkways themselves, yet inevitably there’s always that one person who can’t seem to get it. Don’t be that person. Also, be sure to mind signs in any place where there are stairways, hallways, or places where you will be queuing. Each place will have their own rules, so make sure you pay attention to your surroundings.
Boarding the plane
Airlines board according to zone. Zone 1 board before Zone 2 and so on. Your ticket will let you know which zone you’re in, so when they begin boarding, be sure to queue when your zone is called. Don’t be that person that clogs up the doorway before your zone is called. If you have a ticket, you’re getting on the plane. Please be patient and wait until your zone is announced.
Learn some local phrases
It’s okay if you’re not fluent in the language of the country you’ll be visiting, but memorising some common phrases or words ahead of time can be helpful. Also, the locals will appreciate that you’ve attempted to learn some of their language. They’ll also be more willing to help you out if you have a question. Knowing at least a little shows that you have put in some effort to be able to communicate with them. “Please” and “thank you” are essential. And knowing how to ask where the bathroom, airport, hotel, and bus station is will be very helpful. You don’t want to be that person who thinks loudly repeating a phrase in your own language will make it any more understandable.
Research area customs
Whatever country you’ll be going to, brush up on what is acceptable and unacceptable. You don’t want to offend your host in Japan by walking into the house with your shoes on, and you don’t want to insult your chef in Egypt by shaking salt on your meal. A simple search online for local customs will tell you what you need to know.
Beware of food poisoning
Pay attention to which restaurants draw lots of patrons and which ones seem barren. Long queues are an obvious good sign, whereas stalls next door with no customers should be a red flag. It’s not rude to check for cleanliness before eating there. A tourist on holiday claims that an Egyptian hotel restaurant gave her Salmonella after noting that its hygiene conditions weren’t ideal.
Travelling abroad also means you’ll be representing your country. You might not feel like being an ambassador, but your interaction with others outside of your borders will leave a lasting impression so make sure it’s a positive one. Always be gracious towards your host and their gifts, food, and offerings, no matter how strange they may seem to you.
Travelling can be made all the more enjoyable when a few careful considerations are taken into account so don’t be that person that’s unaware of the unwritten rules of travel etiquette.