Socio-Cultural Considerations

  • Research your destination. Learn about its history, political situation, current events, cultural groups and intercultural dynamics, religion, geography, cuisine, transportation, etc.
  • If you don't already have proficiency, learn at least a few basic phrases in your host community's language. Learn how people greet each other and practice that greeting. Body language is also important. Be astute and adapt your body language appropriately.
  • Find out about local taboos and customs by asking people who have traveled before you and by consulting guidebooks, and then respect them.
  • Dress appropriately. Respecting the dress code where you are is very important, especially around religious sites.
  • Be snapshot savvy. Don't experience your entire trip through the lens of a camera. Ask locals before taking photographs of them or activities they are involved in.
  • Learn about something you're interested in while you travel. Do you have a passion or hobby? Find out how people in another culture approach or deal with the same theme.
  • Get off the beaten path. Seek out events that are not mentioned in guidebooks and places that are not overcrowded with like-minded tourists. Go where the locals go; however, use your discretion and don't infringe on people's private activities and spaces.
  • Bring small, thoughtful gifts from home if you know that you are going to be spending time with a local family or in a community.

Adapted from Yale’s Tips for Sustainable Travel Abroad