Seeing the world is a great way of gaining an appreciation for cultural diversity. While travelling, you’ll likely interact with people who have different languages, values, and beliefs. You’ll be able to find qualities that many people share despite belonging to different groups and cultures. Also, journeying to far-off places will give you the opportunity to observe or sometimes take part in activities and practices that are new and foreign to you. These events give you the chance to open up your mind and expand your horizons.
At the same time, being in an unfamiliar situation or place means that you’re not well-versed with the customs in the area. This is perfectly understandable since you’re an outsider, but you might also want to avoid being at the centre of a misunderstanding. It will be to your advantage to familiarise yourself with the culture of the place you’re visiting and remain observant of local customs and modes of behaviour. Here are a few practical tips on how you can show respect to the culture of the places that are included in your itinerary:
Read and Research Before You Travel
Before you leave, you need to make sure that you’re ready for your trip. This involves knowing about the basic beliefs and practices of the people whom you’ll be staying with. If, for example, you’re visiting a country where Islam is the main religion, you can use the Muslim Pro app to keep track of the schedule that the people around you will likely follow as they practice their beliefs. You can also check out the Muslim Pro app Facebook page to gain a better understanding of how you can conduct yourself during these times.
Aside from researching online and using apps as guides, you can also consult with someone who has been to the country that you will be visiting. Using both your own research and asking people about their experiences can help you reduce the level of culture shock that you might feel. It will also help you acclimate to your new environment.
Learn Phrases That You’ll Likely Use While Travelling
Language plays an important role in defining a culture and the relationships between its people. Familiarising yourself with the language that is spoken in your destination is a great way of showing your interest in learning about the local culture and its people. Speaking the local language, even just snippets of it, will make it easier for you to connect with the people you’ll encounter on your travels. This, in turn, will enable you to ask questions and find the resources that you need to accomplish the activities included in your itinerary.
What You Wear Matters
Wearing the wrong types of clothing can be misconstrued as a show of disrespect to one’s culture and beliefs. It’s one of the concerns that you should keep in mind when planning your OOTDs and packing your luggage for your trip. If you’re going to a country where locals and tourists alike are expected to dress more conservatively, be prepared to change your style a bit so as not to attract unwanted attention. Even in countries where more liberal clothing is the norm, there might still be destinations where you’ll be expected to cover up or follow traditional styles of dressing. Be aware of these possibilities and pack accordingly.
In Uncertain Situations, Take a Step Back and Observe
No matter how much you’ve prepared for your trip and researched your destination, there’s still a chance that you’ll come across a situation that you haven’t prepared for. If you find yourself in the middle of a situation that you don’t understand, the best course of action is to step back and observe. Let other people, such as your tour guide or other locals, take charge of the situation while you observe what they are doing and how the people around you are reacting.
Now, while you might want to respect culture and tradition, it’s important to remember that you’re still in a place that’s unfamiliar to you. If the locals seem to be avoiding a particular place for no reason, follow suit because they know more about the area. If at any point, it seems to you that you’re in an unsafe environment, it’s best to remove yourself from the area and head to a place where you feel more secure and comfortable.
It takes more than an open mind to show that you respect local culture. You need to demonstrate your appreciation for human and cultural diversity by researching the place you’ll be visiting, making an effort to learn the local language, and making reasonable adjustments to some of the details of your trip. Follow the tips on this list and you will have a better chance of connecting and developing a deeper understanding of the people in the places you’ll be visiting.