Ministry of Hajj
Ministry of Hajj
Ministry of Hajj
Hajj Notices
Hajj Questionnaire

Travel Manners: 5 things about traveling etiquette you should know

Traveling, be it for business or pleasure, can be both stressful and enjoyable. However, if you are not aware of proper traveling etiquette, you might find your voyage more stressful than enjoyable. The problem is that not a lot of people are ready to forgo their personal comfort, something we will talk about more below, because of traveling etiquette. That’s why you always see people who tend to shout at other people while commuting on a train or a bus, even if the situation does not merit shouting.

However, being aware of traveling etiquette can help you reduce a lot of stress in future trips, especially if you’re traveling to foreign countries where you are not familiar with the local culture. So, below you will find five things you should always be aware of, which will help you have a relaxing journey.

1.    Personal space on public transport

This is a big one. This is why people are rude on public transport with minimum provocation. Often, you are pushed close to other people, especially on airplanes where the narrow isles mean walking past someone involves coming really close to them and invade their personal space. Moreover, if the seats are not roomy enough, you will find yourself sitting very close to your neighbors, which is not pleasant for anybody. But, here are a few things you can remember:

-    The middle seat gets the armrests

-    Don’t blast loud music on your headphones: take them off, if you can hear the music, so can everyone in the vicinity, and some people might be trying to sleep

-    Tread lightly and don’t push anyone, or try to leave the plane as soon as possible. Everyone will board the plane before take-off, and everyone will get to leave the plane when it lands. There is no need to push anyone or to try to be at the front.


2.    Dress like the locals

saudi locals

If you’re traveling to Europe, the USA, other Westernized countries, it is easy to assume that you can go anywhere dressed as you wish. This is not the case. There are some countries in Asia and Africa and elsewhere where you might offend the locals, unintentionally, by dressing in a comfortable way. For example, even non-Muslim women have to be covered from head to toe when they travel to some Muslim countries, like Saudi Arabia.

The best you can do is do some research before visiting the country, and see how you can dress without offending the locals. Then, when you arrive, check again and ask the locals if what you are wearing is appropriate and acceptable.

3.    Keep your area clean

Well, if you think that just because you will get to go home and not live around your litter, you should let go and not deal with your garbage, you’re wrong. Besides, there is nothing more embarrassing than leaving your area looking as if it should double as a compost heap.

Beyond not being hygienic, you will be offending every one of the locals you will interact with, including hotel staff and other people you will meet. For example, when visiting the city of Dubai, make sure you keep clean around you. If you want to make it into a fun game, try locating the best garbage disposal first. An added benefit is that you will get to fully enjoy the facilities you will be living in whilst on your trip.

4.    Think before you speak

Another big one is the local language. It’s a really positive thing to try and learn the local language. Also, if you are already fluent, you will probably be already communicating with the locals in their native tongue.

However, trouble ensues when you talk before you think. You might offend the locals by using phrases that are insulting to them, but you also might be the source of ridicule if you don’t speak the language well enough to not utter phrases that, instead of “I want water,” mean “I smell like donkey.” And that’s just a tame example. But, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from either offending anyone or looking like a gullible tourist.

First, avoid being taught words by young locals who roam the bars. Often, you might be taught swear words that can get you into trouble if you utter those phrases around people who deem respect. Second, avoid walking around with a dictionary of phrases – if you are perusing it, do so in private. Third, if someone does teach you phrases and words, check them in said dictionary, because you can never be sure enough. Fourth, always make sure that the things you will say will not be offensive to the locals. You don’t want to get into trouble.

5.    Respect the local culture

Beyond dressing and speaking, every nation has cultural rules and guidelines. People follow them without being aware of it, and the locals might not even think to educate you in those manners. However, you can learn how to react and speak if you ask.

You need to be aware of this because often tourists offend the locals without realizing it. Meanwhile, the locals will not point your mistake out, but let you be and act rudely towards you. Also, you might even get into trouble if you are not familiar with the local cultural rules of behavior. For example, there are temples in China and India where you either cannot enter or cannot enter with your shoes on. Then, in Saudi Arabia, you should never try to order alcohol anywhere unless you want to get into serious trouble. Moreover, in some countries, you should not talk to women who are not accompanied by men and are not permitted to speak to you – you might get both of you in trouble.

Best you can do is find someone who can teach you everything they know about the local cultural rules. Moreover, many travel agencies have agents that are well versed in these types of things, and they will warn you beforehand what you can and cannot and should not do.