Hey there! Are you in the process of packing your bags and necessities for that relaxing road trip you have been in great need of? I am assuming that the best destinations have already been mapped out and you can already envision yourself spending glorious days on the road with nothing but freedom. All your required papers are in order and you already have a planned itinerary. Before you set foot outside your lovely house and get into that RV or camper van for your road trip, hold on one minute and be sure that alongside your luggage, you packed along your manners with you. After all, being a good tourist is what gives you the best road trip adventures.

Yes you definitely read that right! Manners!

The fact that you are going to a whole different place does not mean a simple thing such as etiquette needs to be tossed aside. When it comes to travelling the world for fun and leisure, I can definitely say I am an authority in that area but going to a whole new place means that you have to be open to earning new cultures as well as interacting with people from around the globe.

being a good tourist
Road trip in 2010 on the Cayman Islands. Meeting the locals, climbing up coconut trees and eating local dishes. It was an amazing time and the locals were super friendly.

If the locals are willing to welcome you, then it is only right that you reciprocate good feelings by displaying proper etiquette. You may not know it yet but the interaction you have with these locales might mould their perception of your nationality or country itself. You definitely do not want to be grouped amongst the class of tourists that are considered to be insensitive and arrogant so you have to be on the best behaviour possible.

To help you along the way, I came up with the five tips below on how to avoid the negative tags that most tourists tend to pick up from the locals:

Know the balance between giving and being gullible

A word of warning to you, if this happens to be your first time in a new place, try not to show it as there are con artists and locales willing to take advantage of that. If your budget allows for you to be generous especially if the exchange rate just happens to be favourable. However, you need to know that there are certain limits to giving and being free with your money not only makes you gullible to the wily tricks of seasoned con artists but leaves you cash strapped.

There was a time I paid a visit to a restaurant and the waiter over heard me talking to a friend that this was my first time there unfortunately for me, I ended up almost paying far more than I ought to on a meal that cost 50% lower than that. Good thing my mate spoke the language and knew the prices. You can decide to be generous and leave tips for the workers and waiters but if the amount you paid is more than enough, then save your money for something else. Some restaurants have websites which they advertise their menu.

Be familiar with the rules

The fact that your country allows a certain dress code does not mean the neighbouring country will be welcoming about the same dress code. Every country carries its own distinct laws apart from the International laws and no matter how comical or absurd you find them, you ought to stick to them. Make sure you hit up a search engine to find the do’s and don’ts for certain countries that are known to be finicky.

Being a good tourist
Road trip through the Middle East with Arnoud from IT & Social Media. Dress codes are of importance in these countries, but if you show respect for the culture and religions all will be good. Common sense! 🙂
Respect is earned

I am really fond of a saying that goes “respect is reciprocal and only those who earn it shall receive it”. Do not mind my philosophical nature but it is a part of being open to a new experience. The important things about road trips and vacations to different spots is that you get the chance to experience the way others are living and you might just get surprised along the way. Respect for the country or locality you are in means you learn how to abide by their customs, learn the proper dress codes and take note of language that is permissible (this is advice for individuals that find that a swear word happens to be mixed into very sentence they say).

Excess Baggage

For a road trip of any kind, it is important to pack light and make sure that all your essentials fit into at most 2 travel bags especially if you are going to be mobile most of the time. If you are going to be a tourist in unfamiliar territory then leaving your luggage unattended to is definitely unwise. What is also not wise is having your bags squashing a stranger that happens to have the misfortune of seating close to your excess luggage. It is quite typical for road trippers and hikers to have heavy back packs but courtesy demands that you be mindful of the people behind you. You can try carrying it in front of you if the situation permits. Or like me, being stuck in the back!

being a good tourist road trip