Each destination for a traveler presents two worlds, which are necessary to reconcile, the world you come from and the one entering. Every place has its own way of doing things, but here are some of the highlights, the most universal travel rules we have found to make our interactions and experiences the most enjoyable around the world.
Learn a few phrases
There’s nothing as flattering as a tourist genuinely trying to offer a hello, nice to meet you or thank you in the host country. Even when you won’t impress or wow anyone with your basic phrases, learn them well and use them genuinely. On the flip side don’t pretend to know more than you do, it will create confusion and possibly insult.
Have a sense of place
This is hard to define exactly, but it means when you are in a large social space such as a restaurant, riverboat, temple, church, hall etc. Try and imitate the dress, tone and general behavior of those you see around you. You might not know how to place your chopsticks for example, but you can certainly keep your voice at a certain level and imitate the serving gestures of those around you.
Next time you wish to lash out or get frustrated with others in a transit vehicle, from a golf cart to a Airbus A380, be aware that most likely they are feeling as confined and oppressed as you. Take measures to not disturb others by having your accessories within easy reach, let them know if you have an pre-existing conditions (e.g. frequent bathroom use, snoring, drooling). Above all assume others wish to be disturbed as little as possible.
Speak with other travelers first
Sometimes we encounter noisy hotel neighbors, an overindulgent group in the lounge, someone texting in the spa or locker room. You might not feel comfortable going up to these groups of people and asking for some courtesy, but 9 times out of 10 We have found people to be apologetic and understanding. For those that brush off your request you always have a manager or stewardess you can turn to and this is better as a second option.
Know your rights…patiently
A well informed passenger knows what they are entitled to, they know what kind of room, ticket or service they have paid for and the right to expect it. That having been said, patience goes a long way when the checkout desk is swamped or the ticket counter is under siege. If you encounter outright laziness, rudeness or strange behavior, speak with the direct supervisor of the individual or tweet the company about your experience.