Photo © Moyan Brenn – flickr.com
Communication is an important part of traveling, especially if you’re visiting a new place or a country where you’re not very familiar with the language or the culture. But communication can also get you into trouble if you’re not careful. We’ve all heard of the phrase “putting your foot in your mouth”. If you’re traveling and you don’t consider what you say, you’ll more likely to get into that sticky situation.
There are five things you shouldn’t be saying when you are travel to avoid getting the dreaded foot-in-mouth syndrome. Here they are:
Do You Speak English?
Some of you may be surprised about the inclusion of this sentence in the list. But imagine this, you encounter a guy who speaks another language and he asks you – in his native tongue – if you speak his language. Wouldn’t you be offended at the slightest since he already assumes that you should know his language or at least understand his question? As travelers we should learn to speak the most rudimentary phrases in the native language of the country we are visiting like “yes”, “no”, “please”, and “thank you”. “Do you speak English?” should be included in the list of phrases you should know.
Basically, what this means is “Do you speak English?” is okay to be spoken if it’s in the native language of the country you’re visiting. Doing it in English makes you look arrogant.
Do you have change?
While this phrase may sound innocuous, it is something you should not say to your cab driver, the bellman, the tour guide, the airport shuttle driver, or any cashier for that matter. You know that you’re a traveler and when you travel tipping is also a part of the whole experience. As a responsible traveler you should collect small bills and change in the local currency, which you will use for tipping. Don’t put the person you want to tip into an extremely awkward position where he has to look for change just to be tipped.
Hi, I need help. I’m a tourist and I’m staying at____.
Remove this phrase from your mind if you want to be safe. Announcing to strangers in another country that you’re not a local and, worse, where you stay is a security hazard. Criminals love to target tourists, and it doesn’t matter if you’re visiting a cosmopolitan city or some little known town. Safety should always be something you should be aware of and telling strangers where you stay is a serious security breach.
I don’t want to go there
Discovering new things is one of the perks of traveling. In fact, for many people that’s the whole reason for traveling to another place. But if you are going to travel with preconceived ideas of where you intend to go or you’ll only go to places where you’ve read reviews online then you’re not doing yourself any favors. You’re limiting your ability to enjoy your trip and find out new things for yourself. Remember it’s your trip to enjoy; you’re not there to retrace another person’s experience.
Derek Gallimore is the owner of Boutique London Lets, a site where you can book luxury apartments in London.