Respecting Other Cultures When Traveling


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If you're heading off to a foreign country, especially if it is for business, it is important that you do your homework before ever leaving home. Never travel to another country unprepared for social situations.

Learn some of the basic language so you can at least be able to have some communication with the locals. Introductions and pleasantries are always important to know but make sure you can communicate when it comes to money, passports and finding help in emergencies.

Always know the address and phone number of the closest embassy. Check with American Express to see if an office is close to where you are staying. They always speak English there and can help you with money concerns as well as current exchange rates.

Learn local customs and traditions of the country and city where you will be staying. We do not always realize that there are little things that we do that may have considered an insult in another country. For instance, a wink or wearing shoes indoors may be considered very low in some countries.

Go to great lengths to make sure dress appropriately. The things we wear and are comfortable with may not be acceptable dress in other countries. There are many countries that we may consider to be "behind the times" as far as fashion and dress but you still must respect their ideas of what is proper.

Introductions and greetings can be tricky. For example, during first meetings should you shake hands, kiss on cheeks and if so, which cheek or both? What about bowing? Who is invited to speak first, the hostess or the guest?

It's always good to know a little something about the local cuisine and utensils. You should be aware if the local cuisine consists primarily of a food that you may be allergic to or even like so you can plan ahead. Alcohol, no matter what country you're in, should be consumed in moderation at any social function.

Remember that grace and humility go a long way whenever visiting a foreign country. By preparing ahead of time, you might make your stay go a little a smoother and sometimes avoid some unpleasurable surprises.

traveling to united states

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