Unlike a sun-filled, beach-side vacation, a trip backpacking through China or exploring South America isn’t for the faint of heart. This type of traveler is looking for a unique experience — an opportunity to meet new people, taste exotic foods, visit ancient wonders and experience a different way of life. If you’re headed abroad for the first time don’t fret, an exciting world awaits you. Just make sure you memorize the 10 commandments of international travel.
1. Thou Shalt Explore The Road Less Traveled
While having a guidebook is an essential item for any city, stop visiting cathedrals and churches after two or three. The old religious spots are eerily similar. Substitute a market, museum or even a café for people watching after you have visited a handful of old world sites.
2. Thou Shalt Learn the Phrase, “Where are the Bathrooms?”
When traveling to foreign countries, especially developing nations in Africa and Asia, the importance of being able to know this phrase can never be stressed enough. Those who do not follow this commandment may need to learn the companion phrase, “Is there a nearby store where I can get underwear?”
3. Thou Shalt Learn Other Key Phrases
Besides asking about the toilet, learn some basic phrases such as: “hello,” “thank you,” “please” and “how much is this?” Locals love when you try to speak their language and even if you mess up, they will appreciate your efforts.
4. Thou Shalt Not Eat at a Chain Fast Food Restaurant
It is possible that you will be inconvenienced a bit by eating foods that are native to where you are visiting. But, local franchises of McDonalds and other chains use locally sourced food, so you will not escape any tummy problems due to where the food is sourced. Even if you’re a picky eater, ask for recommendations for local lunch and dinner spots and enjoy going native — it can be one of the most enjoyable elements of your trip.
5. Thou Shalt Keep Thy Important Documents Safe
Utilizing hotel safes or carrying a document pouch are good ways to follow this commandment. Even so, documents can be stolen or lost. Consider a travel protection service that monitors your identity and alerts you of anything suspicious. Lifelock offers lost wallet protection, meaning if your wallet goes missing you’re not completely out of luck.
6. Thou Shalt Be Respectful
It is more than rude; it is offensive to show disrespect to the religion or culture of your host country. Keep an open mind, unusual things often can be fascinating if you find out more about how the custom came to be. Locals love to speak to visitors about their culture — try it and you will make friends.
7. Thou Shalt Ignore Friendly Strangers Who Offer a Free Ride to Your Hotel
Always use taxicabs that are officially licensed by the proper governing authority. Your hotel can provide you with information on how to identify them. As an American visitor, your wealth is given — even if you are of modest means. It might — or definitely, absolutely will — be hard to raise a $1 million ransom in the middle of Mexico or some other country where kidnapping is a sport.
8. Thou Shalt Realize that Only God Controls Weather
Follow this commandment by not yelling at the desk clerk, travel agent, boat captain or other travel industry employee when your “sun-filled” vacation is rained out. If you want a climate-controlled vacation, go to Las Vegas and never leave the casino.
9. Thou Shalt Understand that English Is Not the Universal Language of the World
Do not expect that when you visit a foreign country the locals will speak English. It is more likely they will speak their native language. Find other ways to communicate, such as using gestures, translators or guidebooks with dictionaries. Remember, a smile usually won’t get lost in translation.
10. Thou Shalt Remember Thou Art a Representative of Thy Country
Whether you’re traveling in east Asia, northern Italy or backpacking through Argentina, you’re acting as a representative of your home country. Locals will look at you and base their opinion of Americans on how you behave. Even if it’s raining, even if you’re tired, even if someone just tried to rip you off; remember who you are and what you want to portray.
- Luxury Caravan with Mercedes SLK Inside
- Mind Control
- 18 Of The Best Places To Swim With Sharks
- 7 Of The Most Stunning Castles In Europe And Beyond
- England countryside
- The Amazing World of Pigeons
- Welcome Spring with Crocus Flowers
- Essential Skills For The Future
- Make Some Brand-New Good Old Days: Living Your Youth Again
- What Do Hotels In Denmark Have On Offer
- Arts and Design
- Featured Articles
- People and Society