I had “tweeted” the other day that each of us needs to remember that when we are visiting a foreign Country, we are representing our own Country. In essence, we are ambassadors as we travel. My tweet went on to say that we should not be jerks when we travel abroad because some see us and then judge others Americans based on our actions. That is human nature. We may see a tourist here in America being rude or insensitive towards someone or something. Then the tourist speaks and we realize that he or she may be from Germany so we immediately judge all German tourists the same.
American tourists frankly do not have the greatest reputation abroad and I think I am correct in saying it is because of a few bad apples. So here are some rules we all should live by when we travel:
1. Be respectful of other human beings. Just because they work at a hotel or on a plane or cruise ship or drive a bus does not mean they are less of a person. Treat them and talk to them as you would have them treat and talk to you.
2. Be calm. If something is not going according to plan, remain calm and be nice! Being nice will give you a great chance of getting your issue resolved to your liking much quicker than being mean-spirited and rude.
3. Remember that you are the tourist. You are the one talking funny when you travel abroad. Expecting others to speak your language and then getting mad when they don’t is honestly just a trait of selfishness and arrogance.
4. Obey the rules. Just because you think a rule such as “do not touch or photograph” may be stupid for whatever it is you are seeing or visiting does not give you the right to violate that rule. The item or place may be sacred to those in that Country and it is not up to you to judge its worthiness.
5. Study their culture before traveling. Sometimes it can be the littlest of things such as knowing how to bow in Asia or which hand to eat with in the Middle East. But your willingness to learn those things ahead of time will not go unnoticed by the locals. \
We all have the ability to represent our Country in the best way possible which will go a long way in shaping international opinion of the American tourist.
You may have thought of some other rules to live by when traveling overseas. I would love to hear some of them or get your thoughts on anything I have written.