If you want to learn about a place and its people, there’s no better way than exploring it on foot. Travel is one of the best ways to gain a deeper understanding of cultures around the world and get to know your fellow humans in a way that can’t happen when you’re sitting behind a screen or behind the wheel of your car. But don’t take my word for it—here are some tips on how to make sure your next trip is culturally enriching:
Before you get there, know a little bit about the country and culture.
Before you get there, know a little bit about the country and culture. It’s nice to be able to say “hello” in the local language or at least understand it. Knowing how to use their currency will make your trip easier and less stressful–if only because you won’t have to worry about carrying around large amounts of cash in unfamiliar places. Knowing what time it is back home helps prevent jet lag, which can make it harder for you to adjust when you first arrive at your destination (and may even cause headaches). And knowing what kind of weather conditions are expected during your visit will help ensure that all goes smoothly during those first few days!
Smile at people, they will smile back. Smiling is contagious and it will make you feel better about yourself in the moment, as well as for the rest of your day or week. It’s also a great way to start conversations with strangers–if you’re smiling at someone who isn’t smiling back yet, they often will after a few seconds of seeing your happy face! And if someone doesn’t look friendly? Well then maybe that person just needs some cheering up…
Use local terms for directions.
When you’re traveling, it’s important to always use local terms for directions. For example, don’t say “right” or “left”. Instead, say “to the right” and “to the left.”
Similarly, don’t use the word “straight”–instead say something like “in a line with the road.” And never ever ever use the words “back” or “forward”. They’re not only confusing but they’ll make locals think you’re crazy!
Finally (and this one is really important) don’t use the word HERE! It sounds weird when people say it out loud and makes them feel uncomfortable because they know that YOU are standing right in front of THEM!
Look for mixed drinks with local ingredients.
If you’re looking to try something new, ask the bartender what is popular. If there’s a fruit or herb that is in season, they may be able to make an original drink with it.
Try something new.
- Try something new.
- If you’re going to be traveling in a foreign country, the best way to experience all of the culture is by doing things that are new for you. This could mean trying food or drink that you wouldn’t normally eat or drink at home, like sushi or beer from another country. It could also mean activities like dancing or playing sports with locals–whatever it takes for them to show off their culture through their actions rather than just words!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when someone speaks to you in their native language.
A common concern among travelers is that they will look stupid or ignorant if they ask questions in a foreign language. But don’t worry! There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, and the person you’re speaking to will appreciate your interest in their culture.
Furthermore, it’s important not to be afraid of sounding like a tourist when traveling abroad–it doesn’t matter if people think you’re visiting from out-of-town; what matters is that you’ve made an effort and learned something new about their city or country!
Don’t take the country’s problems personally.
It’s important to remember that not all people are like you, and that’s okay. The way they act might seem strange or even offensive to you, but it may be completely normal for them.
If someone is rude or unfriendly, try not to take it personally–they could be having a bad day or maybe just forgot how manners work in your country (or maybe they don’t have any). Don’t judge people based on their actions; instead, try asking questions about their culture and customs so that you can better understand where they’re coming from!
You can learn a lot from travel and if you go with an open mind you can learn even more by listening to your hosts talk about themselves
- Listen to your host’s stories. You can learn a lot about the culture by listening to the stories that people tell, especially if you are staying with them or eating at their home. They will tell you about their history and politics, but also about food and drink, which is something that we don’t often hear about in western cultures because it’s personal-yet-unimportant information to most of us (we don’t talk much about what we had for lunch). But in many other countries around the world, this kind of knowledge is shared freely among friends and family members; they will happily talk about what they ate yesterday or last week–or even earlier today!
- Ask questions! If there’s something you don’t understand while traveling abroad (or even here at home), ask someone who looks like they might know: an older person perhaps? Someone waiting at a bus stop? An employee at a store where you’re shopping? People love being asked questions; in fact some people say “I’m bored” when really all they want is someone else around so they can practice their English skills.*
We hope these tips have helped you prepare for your next cultural travel experience. Remember, the best way to learn about another country is by getting out there and experiencing it first hand!