Yes, you belong to a country and are proud of it, but the same applies to everyone else. Travelling is all about gaining new experiences, seeing new places, tasting new food, meeting new people and understanding new cultures. So act like you’re doing and enjoying all that. Everything else is secondary.
1. Forget your passport
This is like the god of all travelling rules. You don’t have a passport? Don’t even think about going to another nation (unless you’re dumb or you actually don’t need a passport to go there). But your passport is like your Bible – in other words – take care of it.
2. Stick only to the shopping malls and the theme parks
Unless the country you’re visiting has only these as attractions (which I highly doubt). Yes I know shopping is attractive and so are theme parks – but you probably can do the same kind of things in your home country. Why don’t you try something adventurous instead? Isn’t that why people visit other countries? Shopping and theme parks may give you something fun to do – but are not necessarily unique experiences.
3. Go around town looking for cuisine that is from your country – or at least similar
When you’re in a different country, you won’t gain any valuable experience by avoiding local cuisine and searching for your own cuisine. Part of the experience of travelling to a different country is trying out local cuisine. Not to mention, local food is usually much cheaper as well. Some places may have bizarre food – you can avoid those if you’re not willing out to try things like fried scorpions or guinea pigs. If you’re a vegetarian, find out what local vegetarian food there is. If you’re more adventurous, try out the ‘strange’ food.
4. Find people of your own nationality and avoid the local population
I’ve seen waaay too many people doing this. Yes, you are aliens in a new country, but no one is planning to eat you up. Consciously looking for people of your nationality and only hanging around with them is borderline xenophobic – and you probably won’t go far doing that. Instead talk to the local people, who will be able to give you some very interesting information (that you won’t get elsewhere). If you can’t understand what they’re saying and vice-versa, at least acknowledge their existence by giving them a nice smile. You’re in their country – respect them.
5. Be a racist
You might look different from people in the country you’re visiting. But avoiding physical proximity, contact, conversation and courteousness because of racial differences is probably the worst thing anyone can do. You’re in their country – calling them racially charged offensive names is not a display of racial supremacy – but is the lowest form of cowardice.
6. Carry out disgusting habits that you display in your home country
When you’re in your home country, you might’ve picked your nose in public, spitted on the road or have used some wall down the street as a toilet (men do this a lot in parts of southern Asia). These disgusting acts are in no way justifiable (not even in your home country). You may have gotten away in your own country, but try this elsewhere and see if you make a good impression on the locals. If your luck is particularly bad – you might get on the wrong side of the law for these disgusting acts. And if you have done something that disgusting, it’s better some legal action is taken against you. Might teach you a lesson or two.
7. Crib about how good things are in your country – especially to the locals
I’ve seen a lot of people do this. They go to another country and start complaining that things are not like back home, people don’t understand what you’re saying, things are more expensive, the culture is bizarre, blah blah. Remember this – you were the one who decided to travel to this new country. No one dragged you there. And telling the locals that? They’ll hate you for it. Besides, what’s the comparison about? You’re NOT in your own country! Learn to live with it!
8. Disrespect local practices, culture and places
Showing your disdain for cultural practices in another country is disrespectful – especially when you do not understand them. If you visit a monument that requires you to wear certain clothes, or not take pictures, or maintain silence, this is not the time to be rebellious. This also means respecting places of historical or natural interest – so don’t do graffiti and don’t litter. Travelling means respecting cultures as well – so show your respect and earn it in return.
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley