10 Things You Should Never Do Abroad!
Travelling abroad can be incredibly exciting, but sometimes we let our palpable emotions get the better of us and fail to get acquainted with the culture properly.
So next time you're away, whether you're backpacking, vacationing or simply on a business trip, make sure you have a rough understanding of the country and for the love of god, avoid doing these 10 things at all costs!
1. Taking photos of buildings heavily guarded by security
Are you a spy? No, you're probably not, because if you were, you wouldn't be whipping out your fancy Nikon and snapping away at a building heavily flanked by security.
Clearly, there's a reason why these buildings warn tourists not to take photos, but if you're silly enough to ignore these warnings, then you may find yourself at the hands of a less than merciful police force.
2. Buying fake products
The temptation when away in countries that don't exactly have a reputation for high-end shopping is to buy tons of knock-off products that look incredibly legit. That said, tourist boards and government officials hate dealing with secondary markets and see it as a burden to their economy, especially in areas of the world where tourism is one of their primary sources of revenue.
Worst, you could even be arrested or questioned at security when going home if you've purchased more than just a couple of fake goods.
Unless you happen to be visiting an English speaking nation where tipping is almost compulsory, many other countries don't tip at all, and some even take offense to it!
In Japan, for instance, those working in the service sector get paid more than enough to live on, and it can be seen as patronizing to give them more money, and in most cases, they will likely chase after you and give you back the change.
4. Making fun of a Queen's Guard
Whatever your views are on the British Monarchy, it's incredibly rude to mock a Queen's guard solely because they are not allowed to interact with members of the public. Worst of all, it makes you appear like a rebellious teen recently released from a juvenile detention center.
And though their distinctive debonair may not seem intimidating, if you go too far with your mocking, as one annoying Chinese tourist recently discovered, you may just have a gun pointed to your head.
5. Buying illegal drugs
This almost goes without saying, such are the excessively harsh penalties in many countries that come from the possession of illegal narcotics. Famous backpacking enclaves, such as Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines are notable countries that take significant umbrage to any tourist caught with drugs, with the death penalty an all-too-real possibility in some cases.
And if you don't believe us, you only have to watch an episode of Banged up Abroad to realize that being caught with illegal drugs abroad is no laughing matter.
6. Overstaying your welcome
It can be easy to get caught up in the wanderlust and adventure of a new place and for many of us keen to continue the fun, going home isn't a something we want to entertain readily. But by doing that, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.
In fact, in some cases, overstaying your visa can result in a substantial penalty fine and even imprisonment, so it's best to make sure you regularly remind yourself of your visa's expiry date.
7. Joining a protest
Even if an issue vehemently impassions you, it's worth bearing in mind that unlike the Land of the Free, protests in many other parts of the world are outlawed.
Violence, arrests and even deaths aren't uncommon in non-democratic protests, so it's best to stay out of the way and take interest from afar as opposed to directly impacting on it.
8. Trusting people who are "giving you a great deal"
First-time travelers, in particular, can be enticed by offers that sound too good to be true. Sure, you might hitch a free ride around Bangkok, but you'll soon regret it once you realize part of the bargain is to visit countless gem shops and tailors that will almost physically force you to buy their products (experience it for yourself if you don't believe us).
Instead, prepare to pay for quality experiences as opposed to stressful and shoddy ones.
9. Drinking too much
It seems Western tourists love their drink when partying abroad, but while having fun should never be a crime, there comes a point where excessive drinking can quickly give locals a bad impression of not just you, but the country you are representing.
So learn to handle your liquor!
10. Not having a basic understanding of the language
Last but not least, it doesn't hurt to learn a few simple words and phrases if the country doesn't use English as their mother tongue. We know English is the world's business language, and that many in non-English speaking countries might even have a comprehensive understanding of it, but that still doesn't make you look any less ignorant, and dare we say it, rude!
Even learning the words for 'hello' or 'thank you' and using said words with waiters, and guides and their ilk will do you a world of good while the people helping you will appreciate the effort, even if you do get the pronunciations terribly wrong!