As a first -time traveler, it’s natural to set expectations about your coming trip.
You are nervous how the weather will go. You are worried that you might have have to change plans. You are anxious whether your budget shall be enough.
While we cannot dismiss the importance of preparation, still, realize, that some things are bound to go out of hand, and you cannot blame yourself.
Have fun no matter what, and remember these tips to making the most out of your journey.
Welcome culture shock.
Their way of living is different from yours.
Their environment may be on a slower pace than the one you are in. The place might not be as technologically-advanced as where you are from. Means of transportation may not be as convenient as the ones you are using back home.
As much as you are learning about the locals and their way of life, so are they to you. You cannot call people weird just because their beliefs are far from yours. Leave with a positive impression toward you. Do not question, rather show respect toward other’s customs.
Anticipate communication barriers.
You cannot complain about the people not understanding or speaking English fluently. The same thing as travelers at your place wouldn’t complain that you do not know how to converse using their local language.
This is another’s territory you are in. Be the one to adjust.
You need not master the language before setting out on your trip but it helps that you at least educate yourself about commonly used phrases or words. Examples are words that translate to thank you, sorry, how much, as well as greetings like good day, to words that pertain to direction such as left and right.
We may have varying traditions but at the end of the day, we are all humans. We know kindness when it’s shown to us.
Smile to locals. When there are porters or sellers following you, say no politely. Assist the elderly.
Do not shout at locals if they are having a hard time understanding you. They for one, are not deaf. Raising your voice wouldn’t help the conversation progress.
When haggling, be considerate of the price you are asking. Keep in mind that these people usually depend their everyday living from the income they earn selling goods.
Learn about traditions.
When we use chopsticks for eating, we would not mind how we place them on the plate or on the table when we’re done. But Asians do, especially those who are native to using this utensil.
Letting the chopstick stand upright after eating represents a bad omen as it resembles the incense offered to those who passed away. Lay down the sticks flat on the surface instead.
Do your homework about common traditions like this in the place you’re visiting. The last thing you would want happen is offend or insult locals.
Make your itinerary a mix.
Nothing is wrong veering from touristy places and taking charge of your own itinerary.
Going off the beaten path is good but make it a point to also experience the attractions the place is known for.
Be careful though about planning your schedule. Make time for rest and allow flexibility for interruptions.
When you are always in a rush, chances are you wouldn’t enjoy the place.
Staying in a food stall or common area and interacting with locals and other travelers, watching people as they live their everyday routine, watching the sunrise and sunset. These are all the beauty in traveling you can only enjoy if you will take things slow.
Try local dishes.
Where the locals flock, there you are likely to find cheap, good food too.
Talk to the front desk personnel where you are staying. Inquire where they usually eat.
Don’t be shy. It’s not as though you are asking a write my essay type of favor. You’re only gathering food tips from the most credible sources you’d find – locals, themselves.
Note that some places are known for exotic dishes.
You need not finish an entire serving if you doubt your stomach will be able to handle it, but taste some at least. You can divide the cost with your travel buddies just so you can try the delicacy. Then order a full one should you like it.
Nettie Gray is not fond of exotic food although makes it a point to try one when traveling abroad. Makes her happy merely seeing locals happy for convincing guests grab a taste of authentic dishes they serve.