So I’ve finished binge watching Emily in Paris and I must say I enjoy the conversation about the cross cultural differences between Parisians and Chi town’s marketing executive Emily Coopers. It’s cute, sometimes stressful but most times sarcastically funny. And it’s all about a foreigner trying to fit in sexy intelligent Paris.
The series is full of nuances, puns and subtle insults but strangely, it’s also educational.
I know that traveling is still not fully accessible at this time but since one or two foreign doors are opening slowly, you might as well prep yourself for the near future.
Here we go.
1. Don’t dress like a Tourist
The idea is to blend with the local trends. Well, if your skin color and accent gives it away for not being a local, then just do your best to get with the vibe of the town. Don’t wear a waist pouch or a neck lanyard thingy that holds your cards and such. Get that all hidden under your shirt. Even an “I love New York” t-shirt is not recommended at all. Wear that at home as pajamas, ok. You don’t want to wear something that screams Tourist.
2. Don’t walk around with a map
Be as discreet as possible when walking around openly holding a map of the town. Unless the place you’re visiting is a Mary Poppins friendly town, you don’t want to attract unnecessary attention. Keep the local thieves and syndicates away from your waist pouch. Use your mobile phone instead. Get your bearings ready in your hotel room first before moving out on that adventure.
But if it’s a very Gilmore Girls kinda place, by all means be touristy and have fun.
3. Don’t be ignorant when communicating
We always assume that the whole world is English speaking and I guess it’s rude of us to think so. Basic courtesy can be offered to the people of our host country and it’s something that they will greatly appreciate. Making effort puts you in their good books. It’s just decent for the guest to learn a few basic words of the land like below.
• thank you
• you’re welcome
• may I please have ?
• could you help me with ?
• I need change
• you’re very kind / nice of you
• how do I get to?
• no thank you
• left, right, straight, around, stop
4. Don’t venture into unknown territory
Unless you’re a well traveled journalist who has a convoy of guides and guards at his disposal, or you have an expert of the local area to bring you around, rest assured that that dark lane or mysterious track that you’re planning to investigate is not a good idea to explore. If you’re familiar with the place or have enough experience to know whether it’s a good idea or not, then go ahead. All else, keep to the known paths.
Bonus : Try to make connections before you arrive
Ok this is not a Don’t but more of a good to practice. Depending on where you’re going, having a friend in different parts of the World really helps when traveling some place new.
The World Wide Web is the magic tool to connect you with locals. Join groups. Add friends. Ask your own friends for connections as well. Find ways and plan ahead to get to know someone from where you’re heading to. The best is someone trusted and credible. At least you’ll feel safer knowing that you can count on someone there if ever you need true and good information or maybe even help when you get into a little trouble.
There you have it. 5 basics of traveling and a long way to go to be able to use it. We will get through this you guys. 2020 will just be a distant memory soon enough.
Stay safe and stay sane !
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