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Culturally Sensitive Traveler- What Does it Mean?

Posted on 24 August 2018 by (0)

You’ve probably heard people talk about being a culturally sensitive traveler. But, what does it mean? At the basic level, a culturally sensitive traveler is a traveler that is polite in relation to their destination country’s rules. Thus, they do not offend the local people and authorities. Additionally, cultural sensitivity is important when it comes to sustainable tourism.

When you go to a travel destination, you may want to stand out. Your behavior will make a difference in terms of whether you stand out in a bad way or in a good way. This will influence how the local people will perceive and treat you. Culturally sensitive travelers are seen as a positive influence by the local people. This implies that being a culturally sensitive traveler is essential for the sustainability of a travel destination.

Here are some of the ways you can become a culturally sensitive traveler:

Learning Polite Expressions

The ability to utter a few words in the local language of a country is a great way to show politeness. For instance, learn to say “please”, “hello”, “thank you” and “excuse me”. This will go a long way towards showing the locals that you respect and appreciate their language. It is a sensitive aspect that will influence the effect of your visit on their lives.

Learn Table Manners

You definitely want to taste the local food. However, you will have many questions about it.

For instance:

  • What utensils do the locals use and how?
  • Which hand should you use to eat?
  • Should you eat while seated on the floor, low stool, or chair?

Learn these things in advance and if you get confused, don’t be afraid to ask. Most locals will be happy to explain things to you.

Clean Up Your Mess

If you create a mess, don’t leave it behind. For instance, if you drink water from a bottle, dispose it of properly. “Leave no trace” is a very common expression for travelers.

It’s also important that you dress depending on the local norms. Also ask questions on things that you are not sure about such as taking photos in some places. Each country is different and there are rules that guide both locals and travelers. Being a culturally sensitive traveler means observing the local rules.