Are you a tourist or a traveler? In recent years, the trend has categorized a “tourist” as a person with little respect for the culture and land he/she visits. While a “traveler” is the opposite; someone who respects the laws and cultural differences of the people and the land visited.
The following information is shared with you in hopes of encouraging the building of bridges to friendships as conscientious travelers.
- In preparing for your trip, do some research about the history and the culture of the people who live where you plan to vacation.
- Leave the master-of-the-universe bit at home.
- A lot of the customs and activities that we practice today were probably “borrowed” from the people that you are visiting today.
- Stay away from derogatory statements, for example – “Y’all were discovered by…”
- Challenge your preconceived realities; delete the trash.
- Ask locals for recommendations for books, cultural centers and places to visit.
- Obey all laws.
- Be respectful when taking photographs. If no signs are posted, then ask to ensure that photography in that area will comply with local customs.
- Don’t allow your travel companions to write an itinerary that looks like a book. This ensures that stress will not be a travel companion on this trip.
- Patience is a good travel companion. Remember that lines will be longer, distances will be greater and traffic will be heavier. Talk to locals for realistic timetables.
- Smile, breathe and be nice.
- Those watered-down Mai Tai cocktails that you will drink at the luau will benefit you … less alcohol.
- The golden rule: alcohol equals taxi ride back to the hotel, condo, et cetera – ‘nuff said.
- Travelers should have fun on vacation by doing the usual activities. However, a visit to the local food bank or orphanage to contribute should be included in your itinerary.