Don’t Be That Type of Tourist: A Guide To Tourist Etiquette

When it comes to holidays, we tend to think about what they can do for us. The sites that we can see and the temperatures that we can bask in. We choose destinations depending on if we want exciting nightlife, historical days out or just a nice beach with white sand. We don’t ever really think about the impact that we’re going to have at our chosen destination.

This is why so many tourist traps suffer from a mixture of loving tourists and loathing them. Knowing they rely on them for economic benefit, they grit their teeth and welcome the holidaymakers. On the other side, tourists can be trouble. Barely a summer passes without a newspaper publishing a story about chaos abroad, with British revellers giving us all a bad name.

guide to tourist etiquette


It’s important to remember that wherever you are going, it’s someone’s home. You have to be conscientious while trying to make the most of it for yourself. Keep a few handy tips in mind the next time you travel, and give yourself a pat on the back for being one of the good tourists. There’s also a few ideas for making your stay better for you as well so that everyone gets the best deal.

Treat it like you would home

Do you wander through your home city, drunk and giggling at 4 am? Drop litter? Insult wait staff? If the answer is yes, then you’ve got bigger problems. But for most people, it’s going to be a no – and most of us wouldn’t dream of doing it. Yet when some people get on holiday, flushed with sun and alcohol, the worst excesses go on display. Travelling with a child can complicate matters even further, making it a stress for every age range. Try and remember to be on your best behaviour wherever you are in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying in Paros luxury villas or a backpacking hostel in Budapest; act the same way you would at home.

Make an effort with the language

Yes, most tourist destinations will be able to speak English – but at least show you’re willing. There is nothing more irritating to staff if you straight refuse to engage with the language. You’re in a different country, and you can’t expect everyone to be able to speak English, so grab a phrase book or app to at least show you’re willing. No one expects you to be fluent, but there’s something nice in recognising the fact that you’re a stranger here. You should bend to them, not expect it the other way around.

Don’t expect everything English

There are places in Spain which are almost mini England. They are full of English pubs, English football shirts, and you can buy a fry-up at every other cafe. While the weather is undoubtedly better, they don’t have much else different to offer than your average English city. If you truly want to be a traveller and find new experiences, then immerse yourself in the culture around you. Talk to locals and go on trips to treasured sites, rather than settling for a holiday that is just “England, but hotter”.

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