8 things a traveler should never say

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A few things you shouldn’t say out loud when you’re traveling abroad.

With so many different country-specific customs around the world, it’s important to be aware and mind your manners in another place. Thankfully, there are some universal rules of the road. Read on to discover a few things you shouldn’t say out loud when you’re traveling abroad.

Don’t you speak English?

Sure, many destinations around the world are filled with locals who speak a bit of English, but the expectation that everyone in another country would speak English gives travelers a bad rap. Respect that you’re in another place with another culture – that means the people who live there may have their own native tongue, too. Learn to say a few basics (such as “Do you speak English?”) in the local language before expecting the locals to cater to you.

Well, back in [insert home country here], we do it like this.

Use caution when comparing your culture to another (Image: Mike Burns used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)
Use caution when comparing your culture to another (Image: Mike Burns used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Unless it’s an earnest comparison of cultural differences and similarities, don’t go here. No one likes a superiority complex, and just because you do it one way back home doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a better way than how the locals do it somewhere else.

That food looks disgusting.

Don’t act disgusted by local cuisine (Image: theilr used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)
Don’t act disgusted by local cuisine (Image: theilr used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Octopus tentacles, intestines and fertilized duck eggs may not be on your hometown diner’s menu, but that doesn’t mean you need to insult the cuisine of your host city. What’s weird to you is a delicacy to others, so show some class and keep the gagging noises to yourself.

Jokes about how a place’s name sounds.

Just leave the bad jokes at home. Please and thank you.

This place stinks. There are too many tourists.

Don’t complain about too many tourists (Image: Stacey Huggins)
Don’t complain about too many tourists (Image: Stacey Huggins)

The truth can be hard to swallow, but the fact remains that you are one of these tourists, too. If you choose to visit some of the most famous attractions in a destination, don’t be surprised when you find there are crowds of other tourists there.

References to your money or valuables

This is just about being a smart traveler. Don’t comment on how much money you’re carrying or what electronics you have stashed in your dorm bunk. And if you do, don’t be surprised when you find those items have been taken by day’s end.

This place was so much better 10 years ago.

While this may or may not be true, it doesn’t make you sound well traveled – it makes you sound pretentious. Focus on what you can enjoy today and not how much greener you think the grass was 10 years ago.

Are we there yet?

First of all, if you have to ask, the chances are pretty good that you are not, in fact, there yet. Second, this phrase means you aren’t sitting back and enjoying the journey, an important part of the travel experience. So sit back, enjoy the ride and know that getting to your destination can be just as fun as the destination itself.

(Main image: Tim Sheerman-Chase used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

8 things a traveler should never say was last modified: April 10th, 2019 by Marissa Willman
Author: Marissa Willman (786 posts)

Marissa Willman earned a bachelor's degree in journalism before downsizing her life into two suitcases for a teaching gig in South Korea. Seoul was her home base for two years of wanderlusting throughout six countries in Asia. In 2011, Marissa swapped teaching for travel writing and now calls Southern California home.