Travel Planning

Traveling abroad is a privilege, but it’s also a huge opportunity for growth and new perspectives. Appreciating the cultural differences between the place you’re from and places you travel to can help you foster a more open-minded and mature sense of the world. Here are a few ways to make the most of different cultures while you travel. 

  1. Do Your Research 

Before you go on your trip, it’s a good idea to study up on the culture that you’re going to be encountering while you’re there. Just knowing some simple facts about what the culture values and how daily life is lived can help you integrate better while you’re there and give you a lens through which to view the interactions that you have. Look up everyday tips such as greetings, etiquette for eating out, and whether they remove their shoes indoors.

  1. Speak to Someone Who’s Been There Before

If you can, it’s valuable to have a conversation with someone who’s traveled to your destination country before. Whether it’s as simple as browsing through forums and travel blogs or actually speaking to someone in your circle who’s been there before. They can give you an idea of how people might interact with tourists, and what the culture looks like from an outsider’s perspective.

  1. Be Respectful

As with any other interaction, respect is key to fully embracing other cultures. You should avoid an egocentric view of your own culture as superior and be open to having your worldview or biases challenged while abroad. Observe, listen, and be respectful of whoever you interact with while traveling. 

  1. Communicate

Locals are the best people to learn about cultures from, and that means that you need to have open lines of communication wherever possible. Be friendly, nonthreatening, and nonjudgmental in these interactions, as some people are hesitant to open up to tourists. You should always try and learn at least a little bit of the local language before you travel so that you can adequately communicate questions and needs while abroad.