What Not to Do When Visiting a Country for the First Time


As a frequent traveller who has travelled to a large variety of countries across the globe, I’ve often found myself in embarrassing situations when I said the wrong things or did something unusual for the local customs. Thankfully the more I travel and learn about other cultures, the less I do these type of mistakes. So here are some of my tips for you: what not to do when visiting a country for the first time.

If any of you have traveled extensively, you’ll know how easy it is to make a cultural “faux pas” and embarrass yourself (or worse, offend others). I’ve found that visiting a new country for the first time is fraught with the possibility for mistakes and mishaps.

The best way to get the most out of these experiences is to prepare well and understand the mistakes that tourists and travelers so often make. That’s what I’m going to talk more about now, so keep reading.

1. Cramming Your Itinerary

When you travel to a new destination for the first time, you understandably want to experience every wonderful and unique thing that place has to offer. That’s certainly how I usually feel anyway. But I guarantee you won’t get the most out of your trip if you try to do everything there is to do. Cramming your itinerary full of activities runs the risk of overwhelming yourself and not really enjoying yourself to the max.

2. Fail to Research the Risks and Dangers

Failing to research the risks and dangers present in a particular location is not the kind of mistake you’ll want to make. Whether it’s a political situation or natural threats that you need to be aware of, research is key. I now make a point of carrying out extensive research ahead of each trip I take because it benefits my travels in such a wide variety of ways.

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3. Assume You Know Everything About the Customs and Culture

Let’s face it: no one likes arrogance. And if you rock up in a new location and assume you understand the culture and the local way of life better than the locals do, you’re going to end up looking quite stupid. Travel is an opportunity to learn and discover new ways of life. Customs and cultures are there to be discovered; assumptions only hamper that opportunity.

4. Overstay Your Visa

Luckily, I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve overstayed by visa. But there’s always a risk that can happen when you don’t take care and ensure you understand your visa rules and requirements completely before traveling. You don’t want to end up having to hire an immigration solicitor to dig you out of a hole because you inadvertently broke the rules.

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5. Fail Prepare for How to Access Money

I think we’ve all experienced money and currency issues when traveling. Sometimes, you expect your card to work in another country and for some reason it just doesn’t. Or you think the ATM will give you money and for some reason it doesn’t take your card. Doing your research and ensuring you know how and where to access money is always a good idea to avoid embarrassing situations.

I’ve certainly made mistakes when traveling; I think we all have. Don’t be that ignorant stereotype of a tourist that all the locals hate. Nobody wants to be that person. I’ve discovered through experience that educating yourself, preparing well and being respectful are among the most important aspects of travel.

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.

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