While it’s understandable to feel a bit lost in a foreign city, tourists should always do their research before heading to their destination. It’s important to figure out what are the dos and don’ts of the particular country so you don’t end up annoying the locals, or worse still, breaching local customs. Here are a few general rules to remember when travelling around the world.
Yes, Amsterdam might be one of the most relaxed cities in the world, but they do have one strict rule – never walk in the bike lane. Not only will you make someone very angry, but you’ll also probably leave with an injury because once those bikes get on a roll, they won’t stop for anything, including you.
For some reason, tourists feel they are exempt from road rules when they come across a particular famous spot. Stopping in the middle of the street to snap a photo of the X where JFK was shot or pausing on the famous pedestrian crossing from The Beatles album cover it definitely isn’t safe and is known to cause extensive eye-rolling from the locals.
This might go without saying but some people need the extra reminder. No, we’re not talking about a pair of sunglasses or a t-shirt (although you definitely shouldn’t do that either) but more so rocks, flowers or plants from natural tourist attractions. If each of the thousand daily visitors takes home a rock from a national park, very soon there won’t be anything left at the national park to go and visit.
This rule is mostly for busy cities where locals don’t have the time or patience to be waiting around for tourists. When you’re on escalators, stand one behind another towards one side so people who are in a rush can move past you without difficulty. If taking a stroll around the city, don’t take up the whole footpath as you will probably become the victim of a number of passive aggressive shoulder nudges.
Wild animals should never be fed no matter how well you think you know the species. Feeding animals can not only be incredibly dangerous if you give them the wrong food but it also makes them reliant on humans rather than continuing to feed off the land the way wild animals should.
After the Traditional Owners of Uluru strongly discouraged tourists from climbing over the iconic red rock, people continually ignored their requests, which forced board members of the park to officially ban it. Just because you can climb something, doesn’t mean you should. Trudging over temples, natural areas and historical ruins is not only damaging but also incredibly disrespectful to local culture.
If you’re haggling for something, it generally means you’re already paying less than you would at home. While a bit of back and forth is expected from customers, know when to stop. If you’re not willing to pay a few extra cents then you probably don’t need the item all together – so pay up or leave it.
While it’s definitely exciting to see native animals walking around right in front of you, tourists need to stop giving money to companies that exploit them for profit. Riding elephants in South-East Asia, donkey rides in Greece or swimming with dolphins on tropical islands is just not the humane way to holiday.