There is always a list of "dos" and "don'ts" when you're traveling. For example, in certain cultures, it's customary to take off one's shoes before entering a dwelling. Not doing so could be seen as highly disrespectful. It's important to be cognizant of these things to avoid embarrassing cultural mishaps. Now, if you're in my house, you better be taking your shoes off. Doesn't matter where you're from: Please take off your shoes. The outside world is gross.
After Redditor Skinnysaif asked the online community, "What should tourists NEVER do in your country?" people shared information that travelers should find quite useful.
"Just please stay safe..."
In South Africa when you go on a "safari" (we call it a game drive), you must never ever get out of your vehicle or get close to any big animals because that is why there are stories of people dying because animals here. Just please stay safe and obey the rules to save lives.
"Here in the U.S. ..."
Here in the U.S. in south Utah there are many amazing rock sculptures. Don't. Write. On. Them. They are rare structures formed by thousands of years of erosion, not something to carve your name into.
You don't have to tell me twice.
Do. Not. Touch. The. Snakes.
"It's okay to take pictures..."
Concentration camps are not a place for you get your stupid selfies for your "influencer" profile. Those tracks you're standing on transported many to their death.
It's okay to take pictures for pictures for memories that you came here. But those people who come here to take "sexy" selfies have no place being here.
"Yellowstone is not..."
Yellowstone is not a f***** amusement parks the wild animals are extremely dangerous and will kill you in an instant. Do not step into the hot springs they will melt your flesh completely off your bones and you will die an agonizing death.
"By all means..."
By all means, get off the beaten path and see the "good" and the "bad" if you want to. However, don't f****** go to a struggling neighbourhood to feel better about yourself or learn to appreciate what you have. Poverty is not entertainment.
"Photograph the memorial..."
As a New Yorker, please don't take selfies at the 9/11 memorial. Photograph the memorial, photograph the names, or in the event that one of the names means something to you I'm okay with you snapping a selfie. But the typical smiling-tourist selfies are crass.
"I don't know..."
Germany here, and this mostly goes out to Americans. You should never assume you can talk privately anywhere in public in Germany, just because you speak English.
I don't know if this is different in the US, but here, almost anyone can speak at least 2 languages, and very well. Pretty much anyone can speak english, even more so in the cities.
I usually try to join in to any conversation Americans have in the subway about how weird "those Germans" are!
"Don't speak to us..."
Don't speak to us in Spanish. You are not in Spain. Sincerely, Portugal.
"Attempts, such as these..."
Deigning to smile and greet us jovially in the street.
Attempts, such as these, to connect with us on an interpersonal level shall be met with a sharp look, the profuse muttering of the word "sorry" and possibly a flintlock pistol duel at dawn.
We thank you for your patience and understanding.
"Educate yourself a bit..."
Canada. Don't feed wildlife. Even a deer can kill a person and they do, Elk and Moose will end you, and bears are amoral cannibals that eat each other and tear faces off.
Educate yourself a bit before you go back country or anywhere with wildlife (which means outside of a city). I've seen Chinese tourists crowding around a goddamned bison to take pictures, I was waiting to see one get punted. Our animals aren't tame.
"Don't act like you've seen..."
Don't pretend that you suddenly don't understand how and when to leave a proper gratuity. It's in your guidebooks, ffs. The fast, friendly service isn't free.
Don't act like you've seen the US because you've been to New York. Our country is practically 50 countries; massively diverse from sea to shining sea.
Don't talk politics. We don't care about your opinion any more than you would ours about your home country.
Don't act like where you're from is better than where you're visiting.
"If you're a lone guy..."
I grew up in the south of Spain and witnessed a TON of disconcerting and embarrassing behaviour from tourists.
Guys and girls, please don't:
a) go to topless beaches and snap photos of the women there. We know EXACTLY why many of you do this, and you will incur the wrath of the women, their SOs, and their entire extended family in that same beach.
b) If you're a lone guy, do NOT approach girls and ask them to take a photograph for you. It's an older-than-dirt ploy by perv. Some places have learned to re-trust strangers, but even I was told to NEVER help strangers take pictures unless they had a wife/kids with them.
c) Please visit our north! The Galician and Basque regions are absolutely beautiful (and have very cool history, music, and art) and are sadly overlooked because they're not in the cheap and touristy hot-spots. Their food is also utterly amazing (and should you decide to drive up there, we have plenty of countryside restaurants that do rustic-as-hell food that will blow your mind (Like La Perdiz, which is situated in La Asturias. You know the kind of rural places where the farmers are crazy good at cheese and wine, and keep the best stuff for themselves? La Perdiz is exactly one of those places. Definitely try their manchego and their game dishes).
"They look cuddly..."
Do NOT try to pet a Koala. They look cuddly but they are actually vicious animals with very sharp claws that they'll try to slice you open with if you get too close. That and most of them have chlamydia which they can transmit to you by peeing on you.
"Go on poverty tours..."
Go on poverty tours through the townships. Lots of Americans and Europeans do it, and it makes us white folk in South Africa look even more removed and alien.
"The only exception..."
In Norway, never talk to strangers and don't sit next to them on public transport. The only exception is when you're lost, have no idea where to go and your phone's out of battery so you can't call anyone or check Google Maps. And don't pronounce norse words wrong.
"Don't go to a street food stall..."
Singapore. Don't go to a street food stall/hawker centre and question the seller if the eggs are free-range, if the chicken is organic, or the vegetables are pesticide-free. They don't know, don't really care, and probably don't even understand what you're asking about.
"Another shopper's superstition..."
A few things actually. There are all sorts of superstitions in Vietnam and all sorts of unwritten rules, that, if you do not obey, will get you in some hot water.
For one, I hear many stories about foreigners getting scammed in Vietnam, and then they go to their blogs and their Facebook accounts and rant about it. I am not defending any of my countrymen who have scammed tourists, but it has caused a lot of anxiety among tourists who do not want to be scammed. One thing you should not do in Vietnam is falsely accuse some shopkeepers of scamming you. If you are wrong, not only will it embarrass you, it will embarrass the shopkeeper. It's all about saving face.
Another shopper's superstition is that the first customer of the day in a shop must buy something or it will mean bad luck for the shopowners. This is why if you are shopping early in the morning, you will hear many cashiers say that you are the first customer and give you a good price. It's not just a marketing trick.
Hardly believe this needs to be said, but no skimpy clothes in pagodas and temples. Shorts and short shorts are not allowed. Most locals wear loose shirts and pants.
Hope this helped you and have fun in Vietnam (of course, once this pandemic is over)!
"Never use table syrup..."
Two things in Canada.
Wild animals are wild and dangerous. I've seen too many tourists try to get closer to a bear for a better photo. The bear usually has its hackles up and is not happy. If you get too close the bear will get an upset stomach after eating yours.
Never use table syrup if you have the option to use maple syrup. I don't even know why they sell table syrup here, probably for the American tourists.
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