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Travel & International Etiquette

Things you should know before you start or continue traveling

We are living in a time where people are broadening their perspectives and outlooks on life. They are going for higher education and achieving master’s degrees. They are having that family life they have always dreamed of and want to experience memorable moments. They are creating businesses and making those life changing deals with corporations all around the world. All of that is wonderful and it calls for a new level of consideration. Now that the world is broadening their outlook on life, traveling is at the top of that bucket list.

How nice would it be to vacation on the world’s most beautiful islands or make business deals at the dining table of the world’s most prestigious restaurants with the most reputable professionals. My question is, are you confident in your knowledge in international etiquette, to take that trip?

We do not really understand the significance of etiquette training until we get into these environments and realize how uncomfortable it can be. We think that because we can afford the tickets, that we should jump on a plane and go anywhere we want. You are not entirely wrong. It is just wise to learn the standard of decorum in these places before traveling there.

Did you know that Latin countries they find it offensive to wear their flag/flag colors, as a foreigner or to call them “Hispanic,” even though they speak Spanish. It is rude. Did you know that countries will arrest you for spitting on the street or if you are out past curfew. Do you know what topics you should not bring up about their history or that in places they do not allow you to eat on the streets (public transportation).

I never realized how different other places are in comparison to America until I began studying International and Multicultural Etiquette.

What I admire about many places that I have studied is that in many countries they do not have as much violence and crime. We (Americans) do not understand that type of order and to think that we should jump on a plane and go wherever we want without considering these things is unwise, inconsiderate, and dangerous.

Americans do not have the best reputation around the world. Here, we are all divided by race, class, status, etc. To other countries, Americans are all the same. The stigma is that Americans are self-centered, spoiled, inconsiderate, entitled, talkative, rude, rich, and unaware. To sum it all up, the best word I have is “Privileged.”

Black Americans experience in America is one for the books, literally. To the rest of the world, we wear the shame of our oppressor. Unfair but real. So, when we travel to these places, we have a responsibility to represent ourselves, as individuals or community, to allow people to see that we are all NOT the same. First impressions are lasting impressions and without training, you can ruin connections, business deals, and your credibility. Taking the time to invest in etiquette training is vital.

The best ways to leave an impression on potential clients, extended family (in-laws), colleagues, family of friends, and people who have to service you.

1.      Learn International and Multicultural Etiquette. Learn the dos and don’ts before getting on a plane and traveling to unfamiliar places. Give yourself time to contain the information, so schedule ahead. As early in advance as possible. Trying to cram information in a week before your trip is not sufficient.


2.      Learn their language. Basic sentences. At least try to speak to them in their tongue. That will show your effort and willingness to peacefully coexist.



3.      Learn to be quiet and observant. Even if there are things you do not understand, sit back, be quiet, and watch how others conduct themselves. Americans already have the stigma of being self-centered and talkative so do not try to dominate the conversation. You do not have to speak because of awkward silences. Do not make it weird.


4.      Your appearance. The way you dress says everything they need to know about you. Wearing professional attire is always a plus. Avoid the skimpy dresses, skirts, shorts, crop tops, and flashy jewelry. They know a tourist when they see one. Try not to look like one. That can make you a target.

This is not to discourage you or make you feel like your sole responsibility is to get people to like you. NO, this is about your safety. This is about being considerate when you enter another mean “house.” Their land is their home. Just as you would want people to respect the rule of taking off their shoes before walking across your carpet or calling before they show up at your front door. The same level of consideration you expect, it what you give. It is so easy to offend. Offenses can trigger defenses and potential dangers. Being so far from home and something going wrong should be your biggest concern because everyone that you left behind is expecting you to return.

Even if you will not be traveling outside of the country, we live in a pretty diverse place. We do not have to be so friendly to invite everyone to our homes for dinner or expect an invite to the cookout. Just show foundational rules of kindness and consideration. Greet people if you lock eyes, be helpful if someone is struggling with their bags, sweep off shared patios and not just your own, help the customer who is short at the register before you. Small acts of kindness could change people’s experience in this life. It is hard as it is. The members of our own household, extended family, coworkers, business partners, and community. Before we get on a plane to go anywhere. We should always practice good etiquette and improve our interactions with the people we encounter every day because home training starts at home.

See how things went terribly wrong for these women when they traveled to Dubai. Visit link.




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