We’ve all seen them. The tourists that stick out like a sore thumb. Drawing attention from the locals (whether intentional or unintentional), rarely in a good way. What are some of the reasons that tourists stick out? Would you consider these types of tourists as good travellers? Why or why not?
Just loving to travel doesn’t make you a good traveller. There are certain characteristics that I believe good travellers should have. If you think you’re a good traveller and want to see if you match up, or if you just want to be a better traveller, look no further. Here are my 9 ways to know if you’re a good traveller (in no particular order).
#1 – You Respect Local Customs
Don’t assume that everyone around has the same customs as you. In fact, some things that are done on a daily basis in the Western world can be seen as offensive in other parts of the world, and vice versa. Make sure to do a bit of research about where you’re going so you know in advance.
#2 – You Pack Light
See if you can fit all your travel necessities into one carry-on. The last thing you want to be doing is dragging big suitcases around behind you wherever you go. Always remember that there will be places to get laundry done so you don’t need to pack all your clothes, and you can find most basic toiletries all over the world (just ask for help with the translation).
#3 – You Plan Enough but Don’t Plan Everything
It’s not necessary to have an itinerary for every part of every day. Have a list of the most important things that you want to see and do. Reserve a small part of each day to do those things and leave the rest open. It’s ok to just be spontaneous sometimes and leave some room for discovery.
#4 – You Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Vacations, like life, are not meant to go perfectly all of the time. Weather can turn bad, the internet can sometimes go down at the hotel, flights can be delayed. When things happen that are beyond your control don’t worry about it or get upset. It’s all part of the experience.
#5 – You Aren’t Afraid to Get Lost
Maps can be out of date and some directions can get lost in translation. If you ever find yourself lost it’s ok. Don’t panic. Never be afraid to interact with the locals and ask for directions. Even if most of it can just be body language at times.
#6 – You Make Good Use of Travel Apps, but Don’t Rely on Them
Having travel apps at your disposal is very important, but you don’t want to be on your mobile phone or tablet all the time, and what if your battery runs out. Know how to use the apps, but don’t be dependent on them. Check out The Points Guy’s post The Best Apps For Travel for a list of the important apps to install before you leave.
#7 – You Try to Learn a Few Words in the Local Language
This has to be one of the most important points I can make to new travellers. The whole world does NOT speak and/or understand English, and raising your voice when they didn’t understand you the first time doesn’t help. Learn a few words and phrases in the local language of where you’re visiting. This will impress the locals so much. Even if you pronounce things wrong, at least you tried, and that’s what’s most important to them.
#8 – You Go With the Flow
Don’t let things get to you when you’re travelling. Embracing situations is all part of the fun. Imagine the stories you can tell when you get back home. Letting go is liberating, and accepting situations for what they are is part of the fun.
#9 – You’re Prepared if Things Don’t Run on Time
Trains, buses and planes don’t always follow the schedule. This can sometimes cause interruptions in your travel plans. That’s ok, don’t worry about it. Just go with it.
To see where I have been in my travels visit my Map page.