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Etiquette Tips When Travelling Solo

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 29 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Etiquette Solo Travelling Photographs

Being able to afford the luxury of travelling alone is the envy of many travellers who holiday with partners and/or family members each year. Whilst travelling solo may feel like an adventure there are certain rules of etiquette that should be followed, in order to ensure your solo break is an enjoyable experience.

Cultural Etiquette

Whatever you do and wherever you plan to go, the first thing you should consider is how the cultural etiquette rules of the country you are visiting will affect you as a solo traveller. Women, in particular, will have more rules to adhere to so it is essential that you do your research before travelling.

Most good quality guide books will list acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour, so it is worth taking a copy on your travels. Familiarising yourself with the cultural or regional differences is definitely worth spending time over. Knowing what is and isn’t acceptable in certain countries will also alert you to the consequences of breaking the socially accepted rules of etiquette.

When in Doubt

Some socially accepted customs differ from region to region so it is always worth asking if you are in any doubts about what is and isn’t acceptable. Look around at the people close by to gauge behaviour and responses, and check body language and dress code too. Also check your own body language isn’t giving off the wrong messages.

Blending in with the local people, by wearing clothes that are similar in style – covered arms and legs, if this is appropriate – will also ensure you do not cause offence. Being open, aware and well-informed, wherever you go, will also keep you safe and out of trouble.

Photography Etiquette

Whilst we all want to go home with photographic memories of our travels, it is worth remembering that many cultures do not openly welcome you taking photographs. If you want to take photographs of strangers asking permission, before you snap away, is considered a common courtesy. In some countries, a small financial contribution is also expected. Taking photographs anywhere near a military base is also not to be encouraged, as you may be instantly arrested on security grounds.

Backpacking Etiquette

The type of holiday you have booked will also determine etiquette. For instance, playing loud music when camping is not acceptable if you are in the vicinity of other campers. Making sure you dispose of all your rubbish correctly is also an important consideration, even if this means that you have to take it with you when you leave the campsite facilities. In other words, aim to leave the area where you camped cleaner than when you arrived.

Common Sense

When you are in an unfamiliar place using common sense, in any situation you encounter, will help you deal with whatever problems arise in a logical and practical manner. Striking a balance between being adventurous and being sensible and safe will help the solo traveller feel more relaxed about travelling independently.

Ensuring you have a manageable amount of cash on you, in case of emergencies, is a smart idea but make sure this money is stored securely in a money belt or something similar. Keeping a list of personal contact telephone numbers, as well as the details of your credit card company, in a safe place is also recommended.

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