8 Travel Etiquette Every Traveler Should Know

As a tourist, there are some obvious rules of etiquette, such as respecting the locals and being polite. But other rules are less obvious but crucial to being a good tourist and a good person. There are some travel etiquette that every tourist should follow no matter where they go. Whether you're visiting a low-key beach town or a historic religious institution, as a visitor you should behave in ways that not only show respect, but also reflect your character and where you come from.

Travel expert Janice Lintz spoke with Bustle about the rules that all travelers should follow, and she says you should always remember that it's a privilege to visit another country. When you arrive in a new country, you should imagine yourself in a stranger's home, even if you are in a local cafe. The same manners and considerations you do when you're in someone's personal space should be the standard for your behavior when it's not obvious how you behave. Being a polite tourist is more than just remembering your "please" and "thank you." This is about making sure that the country hosting you knows how grateful you are that you're there, and how much respect you have for their way of life - even, especially if it's very different from your own. Based on Linz's advice, here's an etiquette guide to the less obvious things visitors should be aware of when visiting another country.

know where you are going


Before you travel anywhere, you should do some preliminary research. Learn what the area is like, what important historical events happened there, and what makes up the culture. Was there a recent war there? Are the locals conservative? Do you travel there during holy times? To ensure you don't inadvertently show disrespect and to be a good travel student, do some homework, which will only enrich your time there and help you get along with people better.

Do not take photos without asking


"People don't want to feel like they're a human zoo," Linz told Bustel, going on to say that you should never take a photo of someone up close without permission. If the person is far away, a quick photo can be taken, however, if you are visiting a memorial site or cemetery, it will be important to remember that under no circumstances should you take a photo of someone grieving. If you want to take a picture of someone, walk up to them and ask if they allow it. If they don't allow it, show understanding and back off immediately.

Be careful at memorials and religious sites


If you do want to take photos of a memorial or religious site, do your best to ensure that no one is in the photo, as those who come to mourn should be treated with privacy and respect. Linz told Bust that places like concentration camps and cemeteries should not become photo zones if possible. While you're there, make sure you respect the tone as well. That said, these are not places to talk on the phone, laugh with friends, or talk loudly.

Be prepared to wear conservative clothing if the culture requires it


If you're going to a conservative country, respect the culture. Dress as closely as possible to the locals, both to show them that you respect their dress code and for your own safety. If everyone else is covering their shoulders, you should cover yours too. If you're not sure how to dress, Linz recommends contacting a travel agent or tour guide for some solid advice.

Try to translate if possible


No one expects you to learn a new language before visiting a new country, but having a little knowledge of the language can only help. At the very least, do some research to find out the best way to greet people so you don't offend anyone with outdated phrases. When in doubt, Linz recommends using Google Translate.

do what others do


Before opening your laptop in a cafe or talking on the phone at a museum, look around to see if anyone is using a cell phone or computer. If you’re dying to take a photo but no one is taking it, maybe there’s a reason for that. Before you get too comfortable, be sure to scan the room for clues.

always be polite


For example: If you don't like the local food, you don't have to eat it. But you have to be polite and at least take a small bite and pretend to like it. In many cases, to insult a food is to insult a culture. Just like you wouldn't spit out something special that your grandmother cooked for you, you shouldn't frown or turn your nose up at another culture's food, drink, clothing, music, or lifestyle.

be patient


Even if you are in a hurry, make sure you are careful and polite. If you're used to metropolitan life or travel a lot, it's easy to forget that you're a tourist. But when you visit a new country or culture, it's important to hold doors for people, walk at a respectful distance and pace, and not show signs of frustration while waiting for food or other services. Even if you are jet lagged, even if you are late to an important event, even if everyone around you is slow or distracted, be patient because you are a guest and this is not your place to ask for quick service or right of way. Linz tells Bustle to remind himself that he's privileged to be able to put things in perspective.