Do you consider yourself a traveler or a tourist? Why not both? People may take a journey for the sake of traveling, for enjoyment, or perhaps for a little bit of self-discovery. Whatever your reasons are for packing your bag and taking a flight, it is important to keep in mind these ten helpful ways to become a better traveler or tourist:
1. Do your research.
In order to become a better tourist, the first thing you must do is to do your research. Whether you are going to a local spot or going on a trip abroad, it is very important to conduct some learning about the place you want to go to.
Through your research, you will be able to learn things that will help you on your journey. For example, the local language that they speak, the currency, or the most popular places you can visit. But the important thing is that you will be able to learn the dos and don’ts of the place you are visiting. Take a very good note of this because every country does things differently.
2. Be open-minded.
Before you go on your trip, prepare yourself to be open-minded, especially if you are going to a country that has a very different cultural environment than yours. Remove your prejudice or any hint of negativity in your mind, remember that you are there to open your mind and learn new things.
Traveling is not only for the body but also for the mind. It is not enough that you have fun, it is also important that you learn. Being open-minded will help you in becoming more engaging and insightful throughout your trip.
3. Learn to appreciate.
Learn to be more appreciative! When you go on trips, especially when you go with a bunch of people, often times the locals would put up a welcoming party for you, showcasing their local traditions. Learn to appreciate their customs and cultures whether you agree with them or not.
When you are more appreciative, you get to enjoy more the different experiences that you encounter. You treat them with a positive outlook and you always try to learn something from it. Your appreciation must come from the heart, always remember that it is a great privilege and opportunity to travel and experience new worlds.
4. Follow the rules.
Wherever you go on your trip, it is very important to follow that country’s rules. If they don’t allow chewing gum to be thrown on the street, then don’t spit your gum on the sidewalk. If you are going to a more conservative country that doesn’t allow public displays of affection, then please refrain from doing so. If the sign says to not touch the painting, do not touch it!
Remember, a good tourist always respects the rules of the place he or she visits. Breaking such rules will not only result in disastrous situations, but it could also end up in very messy legal battles. So, if you’re feeling a little daring, please remember that a good tourist will always place respect first.
5. Preserve memories.
Relish at the moment and preserve your memories. If you are allowed the opportunity of taking photographs, then please do so! Take every chance you have to keep those moments because you wouldn’t know when you can ever come back to that place again.
If you are visiting a place where photographs are not allowed, then please follow the rules. Don’t worry about not being able to take a picture. Savor the moment and the fact that you are there is enough! Besides, you can always take mental pictures in your mind.
6. Clean as you go.
To become a better tourist, you must be a clean tourist. It is very important that wherever in this world you may go, you take your trash with you or throw it in its proper place. This is your responsibility, not only as a tourist but as a person overall.
It is quite alarming to see pictures of famous tourist spots littered with trash. Throwing trash irresponsibly is pure disrespect to the place you are visiting and by doing so you are harming the ecosystem of that place. If people don’t learn from this, soon enough, you may not be able to visit your favorite spots anymore.
7. Live the experience.
Live the experience and be in the moment! In every place, you visit, put your phone for a moment, and just enjoy the view. Always remember to take a deep breath first, appreciate what you are experiencing, and thanking the world for the opportunity to be in that moment.
People spend their lives in social media way too much that when they go on their trips, they carry that toxicity with them. Do not let the urge to posts selfies consume you. Respect the place by giving it the time, attention, and appreciation that it deserves.
8. Respect their culture.
In every country you visit, always remember to respect their culture. In order to become a better tourist, you must be able to keep an open mind and respect their customs and beliefs. Just because they live differently from you, doesn’t mean they are wrong.
Experiencing someone else’s culture allows us to see their way of living, adding to the knowledge we learn every day. By respecting other people’s culture, we are not only showing our love and appreciation, but we are also showing that we care and that their insights and history matter.
9. Reflect on your travels.
There is no point in traveling if you are not able to reflect upon it. People travel because they want to see different things, taste all kinds of food, and experience something they never had before. After every travel, take the time to sit down and write about your journey.
When you travel, you experience other people’s cultures. Through that way, you are able to reflect upon your own way of living and see if there are some principles that you may be able to apply in your lifestyle. In that way, you continue your traveling by integrating the things you learn into your day to day life.
10. Promote their country.
After visiting their country, always take the time to promote it. Express your thanks in any way, by making a donation to their national organization, posting it on your blog, or even sending a thank-you card to your hosts!
By promoting their places, you are helping them by exposing them to good tourists like yourself and thus helping them boost their local economy! Remember to always show your gratitude for every place you visit and every experience you encounter.
Wherever you may go, whether as a traveler or a tourist, keep in mind these three ideas: respect, reflection, and promotion.
You must be sincerely respectful to every person and every experience you encounter. Remember that the world is a big place, it does not only stop where your feet land on.
You must also be able to reflect upon your travels and learn how you can be able to integrate it into your life. Experiencing without learning is not enough. Place that knowledge into action.
And lastly, you must always promote the place you visit. In other words, never forget to express your thanks and spread the good word!