Photographing people.

Photographing people.

Travel etiquette refers to the social rules and practices governing appropriate behavior when traveling locally and internationally. It includes everything from basic etiquette and cultural variations to proper behavior in public places like airports, hotels, and tourist attractions.

Importance of travel etiquette

Travel etiquette is important for several reasons. Firstly, it shows respect for the local culture and customs, essential for building positive relationships with the people of the places we visit. Secondly, it helps us avoid misunderstandings and conflicts with locals or other travelers, which can ruin our trip.

Thirdly, following travel etiquette can help us stay safe and secure, especially when traveling to unfamiliar places. Finally, it helps us maintain our values and integrity while we are away from home as our identity as a citizen of a country is also at stake. Overall, practicing good travel etiquette is essential for having a positive travel experience and building meaningful connections with people worldwide.

Following travel etiquette can help travelers avoid misunderstandings, show respect to locals, and make their trip more enjoyable for themselves and others around them.

Eating with right hand.
Eating with right hand.

Travel etiquette tips around the world

Observing the customs and conventions of the areas you visit is critical. This includes clothing rules, table manners, and religious traditions. Mealtime etiquette varies widely between countries, and it is vital to be aware of local norms to guarantee a good dining experience.

Respect for cultural norms and traditions

It’s important to respect the customs and norms of the places you visit. This includes dress codes, mealtime etiquette, and religious customs. Mealtime etiquette can vary greatly from country to country, and it’s important to be aware of local traditions to ensure a pleasant dining experience.

United States and Europe

It is expected to keep both hands above the table while eating and to use utensils to eat most foods.


In many Asian countries, it’s common to use chopsticks to eat and to slurp noodle soup to show appreciation for the meal.

Middle East

In Middle Eastern countries, eating with the right hand and sharing dishes communally is common.


Eating with one’s hands and sharing plates communally is standard in many African countries.

Latin America

Using utensils to eat and enjoying leisurely meals is typical in Latin American cultures.


Eating with the right hand and using roti or naan to scoop up food is customary in India.

Queueing and lines

Waiting in line is a typical occurrence in many locations, and it is critical to be patient and respectful when waiting your turn. In Japan, for example, queueing is regarded very seriously, and cutting in line is considered exceedingly impolite. It is critical to stand in the proper location and not try to sneak ahead of others.

Nevertheless, in some regions of India, such as Delhi, queues may be chaotic, with people often pushing and shoving their way to the front. Yet, you must still respect others around you and avoid causing a nuisance.

Public transportation

It’s crucial to obey local conventions when taking public transit, such as giving up your seat to elderly or disabled people, not eating or drinking on the train or bus, and not talking on your phone.

The subway system in New York is one of the oldest in the world, and it’s critical to understand the unwritten laws of metro etiquette. This includes not holding doors, moving to the center of the train to give way for others, and refraining from generating excessive noise or talking on the phone.


Tipping customs differ greatly from country to country. Thus, it’s critical to local research customs to prevent offending anyone. Tipping is common in the United States, and correct etiquette is required to express gratitude for good service. It is usual in restaurants to tip 15-20% of the total cost for excellent service. Tipping is also generally requested for haircuts, massages, and taxi trips.

It is vital to remember that many service industry workers in the United States rely on tips for their income. While tipping is legally optional, failing to leave a tip or a little tip might be considered impolite or disrespectful.

Photographing strangers

It is critical to be respectful while photographing individuals and to always obtain permission before photographing them. For example, when shooting individuals in Morocco, especially ladies, it is crucial to be respectful. While many Moroccans are eager to have their pictures taken, you must get permission first and be mindful of cultural sensitivities. Taking images of people praying or participating in religious events, for example, is deemed rude.

It’s also necessary to be careful of your surroundings when taking images in Morocco. While some sites, such as the bustling souks, may appear to be excellent photo possibilities, respecting people’s privacy and not photographing them without their consent is critical.

Dress code

Dress regulations differ greatly from place to location, so it’s critical to research local customs and dresses correctly. The dress code is very significant in the UAE, especially for women. While Western-style attire is allowed in many settings, wearing it modestly in public venues such as malls, markets, and religious sites is vital. This includes protecting your shoulders and knees and avoiding attire that is too tight or too exposing.

Also, it is critical to be mindful of local dress conventions. During the holy month of Ramadan, for example, it is important to dress modestly and refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours.

Noise level

It is necessary to be aware of the noise level in public places and to refrain from producing excessive noise that may bother others. Japan significantly emphasizes peace and consideration for others, which stretches to public noise levels. Noise should be minimal, especially on public transit and in peaceful neighborhoods.

For example, talking on a cell phone or listening to music without headphones in a public place can be regarded as disrespectful or disturbing. Furthermore, noise levels in hotels, other shared housing, and outdoor places such as parks and gardens must be considered.

Personal space

Personal space is an important part of travel etiquette that should always be followed. Nonetheless, some cities known for crowded spaces and significant visitor traffic, such as New York City, Tokyo, or Venice, may necessitate additional personal space concerns. It’s critical to be aware of your surroundings and avoid crowding or invading people’s personal space in these places.

By being mindful of these and other travel etiquette topics, you can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience for yourself and those around you.

Photographing people.
Photographing people.

How you can practice for your upcoming travel

To practice good travel etiquette for your upcoming trip, it’s important to do your research ahead of time. This includes learning about the customs and traditions of your destination, including dress codes, tipping expectations, and other etiquette-related considerations.

In addition, be respectful of the people and places you encounter on your trip, and be mindful of your behavior in public spaces, such as public transportation and shared accommodations. Finally, be open-minded and willing to learn about the local culture, as this can help you better understand and appreciate your travel experience.

Preparing for your trip

Do your homework and learn about your destination’s customs and traditions. Understanding dress requirements, greeting customs, and polite behavior in public places are all part of this. Also, attempt to learn a few basic phrases in the local language to show respect and connect with the locals.

Likewise, be mindful of your environmental and community impact by being responsible for waste, supporting local companies, and reducing your carbon footprint. You may respect the local culture and improve your travel experience by adopting proper manners before and throughout your journey.

At the airport and on the plane

It is critical to be considerate of other passengers and self-aware. This includes being on time to the airport, being prepared for security checks, and being patient and pleasant while engaging with airline personnel.

Be mindful of other passengers on the plane by keeping noise levels down, wearing headphones when watching movies or listening to music, and refraining from reclining your seat during meal times. Being kind and respectful of others might contribute to a more enjoyable travel experience.

Staying in hotels

Respecting the staff and the property is essential to practice proper etiquette when staying in hotels. This includes following the hotel’s rules and regulations, being mindful of noise levels, and treating the team courteously and respectfully.

In addition, it’s essential to be responsible with using resources, such as water and electricity, and to keep the room clean and tidy. Being a respectful and accountable guest can help create a more pleasant experience for yourself and those around you.

Exploring your destination

Respecting the local culture and customs is crucial to exercise proper etiquette when touring your destination. Dress correctly, learn simple phrases in the local language, and be aware of your behavior in public places.

In addition, be respectful of local sites and attractions by following any rules or restrictions, and be responsible with your waste by properly disposing of trash and litter.

Interacting with locals

It goes without saying that when interacting with locals, you should be respectful and courteous. This includes greeting people correctly, using suitable language and tone, and keeping cultural conventions and customs in mind.

Be open-minded and eager to learn about the local culture, and ask questions with respect and curiosity. You may assist in creating a more positive and happy travel experience for everyone involved by respecting and admiring the local culture and people.

Handling difficult situations

Maintaining calm, respect, and open-mindedness when dealing with unpleasant situations while traveling is critical. This entails paying close attention to the other person’s concerns, being open to compromise, and seeking mutually beneficial solutions.

Suppose your flight is delayed, for example. In that case, you might demonstrate etiquette by remaining patient and understanding with airline personnel, seeking alternative travel arrangements respectfully, and offering assistance to others who may be in need. Similarly, suppose you meet a cultural misunderstanding.

In that case, you can exercise etiquette by remaining open-minded and respectful of the other party’s beliefs and practices, striving to understand the problem from their point of view, and communicating calmly and respectfully.

Main takeaway

Travel etiquette is essential not only for respecting the local culture and customs of the countries you visit but also for enriching your travel experience and helping you connect more deeply with the local people.