One of the great things about travel is the opportunity to meet new people and experience new cultures. As you travel, you can learn more about others, as well as more about yourself.
If you want to learn more about other cultures, here are some tips to help you with the experience as you plan your vacation:
1. Be Open to New Things
The number one rule of learning about a new culture is to be open to new things. You have to be willing to learn if you want to enjoy local culture. Be ready to try new foods, new dance moves, new ways of wearing clothing. And, remember: The culture is different. If you want to succeed, you have to remember that you are now in the minority, and that you need to try to avoid sticking out. You’ll be safer – and you’ll show yourself willing to learn, and that makes others more willing to teach.
2. Eat the Food
There are few things that can introduce you to the local flavor of a new place as the food. If you want to enjoy a local culture, eat the local food. Watch the rituals that take place around eating, and observe them. One of the things I enjoyed about eating while in Europe was how many people enjoyed sitting and talking, and eating slowly. Look at the way people eat, as well as what they eat, and try to adopt some of the same customs. You’ll enjoy the new flavors, and learn to like the way things are done at mealtimes.
3. Visit the Local Haunts
It’s true that you probably want to sight see, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But you should also consider going where the locals go. You can learn about cultural traditions, and more about every day life, if you get off the tour, and try someplace that’s a little less geared toward the tourists. You do need to be careful, though. Some areas are safer than others, and you need to be aware of which areas might be dangerous to tourists. The State Department in the United States issues warnings for dangerous area. This can be one way to keep track of where you shouldn’t go.
4. Keep Your Needed Items Close
Make sure you have what you need ahead of time. Be sure you have your proper insurance, medical needs, and travel guide. Make copies of important documents, and keep them separate from each other. You can also have a copy of important account numbers and phone numbers in a safe place, including back home with someone you trust. If you need to access them, they will be separate from your credit cards, and less likely to be lost or stolen if your purse or wallet is taken.
Be smart about how you carry your money, focusing on credit cards, with their protections, and carrying only a small amount of cash. Also, know where the Embassy or Consulate is. If you run into trouble, you will need to go right to your designated representative in the country in order to get what you need.
It’s fun to get the local vibe of a place, whether you are traveling to the next town over, or to a completely different continent. Take the time to participate in the local culture, and you’ll have a more enjoyable trip.