Globetrotting: Travel Etiquette 101

September 9, 2015

travel etiquette

Behaving Badly Abroad? Hope Not…

Charge it to my charm school training or West Indian mother who is big on decorum. Elbows off the table. Say excuse me. Yes, thank you. No, thank you. Take your hands away from your face. Watch your mouth. Not so loud. Sit up straight. Acknowledge her. Back then, I thought mommy was the most annoying person on the planet every time she’d publicly remind me that manners matter. And they do. The woman was intense and very diligent about enforcing etiquette, but I get it. We’re going to assume that you had a person(s) in your life that drilled good form into you too, meaning you already know how to be a thoughtful traveler, one who respects regional rules, and moves accordingly in public—we have faith in you. But if you know somebody, who knows somebody that takes inappropriate travel behavior to unchartered territory, keep reading…


avoid food poisoning abroad

Having an adventurous palette is cool and all, but when you’re globetrotting, snoop before tasting. If locals aren’t eating from that corner food stall, chances are, you probably shouldn’t be either. Lines are a good sign. If lines are long and people are buying, food isn’t sitting out spoiling. Don’t forget to case prep stations for cleanliness. And remember, cold foods should be stored on ice and raw meat shouldn’t be hanging out with cooked meat. Capish? As for agua, bottled with the seal intact. Oh, and stay far away from ice cubes. Now, this doesn’t mean that if some or all of the above falls short you have grounds to loudly express your opposition. Remember, this post is promoting etiquette not bad behavior. Take precaution and have your doc write a prescription for Zithromax before you fly out, which helps with severe food poisoning. Just in case… 



travel photo etiquette

Just ask. And if you don’t speak the native tongue, hold up your camera and wait for a reaction before snapping. You can smile, that typically works for me, share a laugh, compliment the subject and express why you’re compelled to take a picture of them, but what you won’t do is sneak snap or push too hard if the person rather not be photographed. That can get ugly. 



bad travel behavior

You would think this would go without mention, but after a Russian tourist was fined $24,000 in November for carving his name into the Colosseum and two American travelers recently being arrested for tagging the historic Roman amphitheater, it’s obvious globetrotter’s need a reminder: refrain from defacing historic landmarks nationally and abroad. Pretty please. It’s so effin’ disrespectful.



bad travel behavior

First, we advice you consult Conde Cast Traveler’s very useful piece, Six Tips for First Time Airbnb Renters. Better yet, read it twice. Second, keep in mind, the apartment-sharing concept is very different from the hotel rental concept that many travelers are accustomed to. Third, and most importantly, think, would I want a raunchy weekend sexcapade happening in my well-kempt Midtown digs that I’m renting on Airbnb?  Hell naw! 


bad travel behavior

You know smuggling yayo, grass and any other drugs is a crime but things may be a little murky when it comes to trafficking wildlife. In 2011 a man was caught at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport with two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear and two monkeys in his checked luggage. We’re not kidding. Dude really thought he was heading out of Thailand with an entire zoo. Of course he was intercepted, fined and later arrested. Globetrotters, never let this be you.  



bad travel behavior

Did you hear about the two sisters from Arizona who were arrested for snapping nude selfies at Angkor Wat in Cambodia? The naughty pair were inside the Preah Khan temple when they lowered their pants and flashed their asses for cameras. Not only were Lindsey and Leslie Adams arrested, they were also fined $250 apiece, deported and banned from returning to Cambodia for four years. Rookie move.  

Did We Miss Anything? If So, Talk To Us In The Comments Below 




Photos by Metanoya Z. Webb exclusively for Globetrotting Stiletto Inc.

Leave a Comment