Understanding Cultural Differences Through Research
Deciding that you want to travel and purchasing an airline ticket is not all there is to planning your international travel arrangements. When you think about traveling internationally there is probably an excitement that fills you because you want to see new things, have different experiences, and create memorable experiences. With international travel comes a great responsibility to learn about your destination, what the cultural standards are, and how to blend in as well as possible without disrespecting those who live where you will be vacationing or staying for business. International travel should be exciting, but that excitement should be tempered with respect for the locals and their customs.
Knowing about the area that you are traveling to isn’t as easy as knowing where its geographically located, you need to do real research. Thorough research will allow learning about the history of the land, its people, and cultural customs. You’ll also be able to learn some of the do’s and don’ts of the area you’ll be traveling to which might just keep you out pf trouble! With extensive research you might be able to read the experiences of others who have traveled to this specific area and learn from their knowledge and tips so that you can enjoy yourself even more!
· Libraries are great resources for history. If you’d like to read in-depth books about the area you’ll be reading, libraries are a great resource. When you are reading information about government, currency, and the economic stability of your international destination, you might want to check the date that the book was published as this is the sort of information that will affect your visit, but it’s also the type of information that changes most often. Many people often forget libraries, but generally speaking, they are great resources.
· Bookstores are another outstanding resource, and they typically have newer literature available. While you may be very excited about your international travels, you might want to think twice about buying a ton of books on the location, as you may never use them. A travel guide for the area, that is recently published, will probably be the main thing you can take away from a bookstore. Try to find a travel guide that will easily fit into a bag or even your carry on baggage so you can refer to it during your travels.
· The Internet is probably one of the best resources. Because of the information available on the Internet Encyclopedias and such media have become obsolete. On the Internet you can find just about any information that you could want. Also on the Internet, you’ll find personal accounts of visits to the area, which you may find highly beneficial. Learning from the mistakes of other people, even if they are complete strangers, can really help your trip go smoothly, especially if you are visiting an area with climate or culture far different from your own. If in doubt, seek information via the Internet; just be aware of who and where the information may be coming from.
· Travel agents. If you are planning an international vacation or trip of any type, there is a high likelihood that you have had the help of a travel agent. Your travel agent may be able to give you information about the area such as where to stay, what to expect from the locals, and what foods you should and should not eat. Travel agencies have also become scare and almost obsolete, but the ones that are still around usually know their stuff and if they can’t give you information, they can point you in the right direction.
Through these resources you can learn just about everything you can about the area that you’ll be traveling to. Try to soak up as much information as you can, so that you can have a better understanding of the land and the people. When you know what to expect, you can plan better for your trip from a cultural standpoint, sight seeing, and even your personal safety. This type of understanding can help you see international travel in a new way, and it’ll definitely be a more enriching experience for you.
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