Five rules for being a civilized tourist traveling abroad

By Trinh Hang   February 12, 2024 | 02:00 am PT
Five rules for being a civilized tourist traveling abroad
Passengers walk in Singapore's Changi Airport Terminal 3. Photo by Reuters
There are behaviors that are considered normal in everyday life, but are not appropriate when traveling in many countries around the world.

Many tourists are unfamiliar with the cultures of other countries, which can leave them in trouble while traveling abroad. Here are tips shared with VnExpress reader Trinh Hang, who has traveled to dozens of countries around the world.

Self-discipline anywhere, anytime

Some tourists only comply with regulations when there are traffic police, ticket checkers or security staff.

Many countries around the world have minimized supervisors, replacing them with camera systems that tourists may not see.

A police surveillance camera is seen in Singapore November 16, 2018. Photo by Reuters

A police surveillance camera is seen in Singapore, Nov. 16, 2018. Photo by Reuters

All illegal acts such as littering, breaking red lights, smoking in prohibited places, evading tickets at tourist attractions and writing graffiti on monuments can be recorded by camera footage.

Therefore, it is best for you to voluntarily comply with the laws of the country where you are visiting.

Get ready to line up

Many tourists when traveling abroad are annoyed by having to queue to go to the restroom, buy food, or pay for tickets.

Tourists sometimes have to queue for several hours to watch an art exhibition, or visit a UNESCO heritage site.

Tourists queue at the classical Greek Doric building complex Propylaia. Photo by AFP

Tourists queue at the classical Greek Doric building complex Propylaia. Photo by AFP

In fact, queuing is a common civilized behavior around the world. The more popular the tourist attractions are, the more people will have to wait in line, and tourists should get used to it.

Some places have a clever solution that allows visitors to enter directly without queuing, but they have to pay additional fees.

Eat everything on your plate

Ordering a lot of food and drink and then leaving massive leftovers is a bad habit for tourists.

Food waste has become a top concern in many countries where wasting food can even incur official punishments. Some places even charge extra money for customers who leave food behind.

Leaving leftover food not only makes other diners feel uncomfortable, but it can also hurt the chef, waiter, and restaurant owner.

Be on time

Many tourists have suffered delays or had their travel experiences canceled due to their own unpunctuality.

When visiting a foreign country, there may be many unforeseen situations, so give yourself time to handle unwanted things. That way, you will always be on time no matter what happens.

Respect common space

While traveling abroad, tourists should limit making noise (including listening to music or talking) and reduce taking up space such as putting luggage on someone else's seat, and instruct accompanying children not to be mischievous.

Especially in places with specific regulations on hours and dress codes, people should try to respect these rules. For example, in the train cabin, you should not turn on the lights after 10 p.m. While in the museum, you should not use flash when taking photos. And in the restaurant, you should not ask for the air conditioning to be too cold.

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