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10 Common Mistakes Americans Make While Traveling

 As an American, I tend to think of myself as being privileged and very blessed for being born where I was born. With that being said, I also acknowledge that having such an attitude can sometimes hinder the way I perceive other countries and cultures. That got me thinking - what are 10 common mistakes that Americans make while on their travels? Here they are: 
 
 1. Expecting everyone to speak English 
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It’s simply wrong to assume that everyone speaks English in your host country just because you can. Avoid offending people by asking them politely if they speak English prior to asking them a question outright.

2. Not considering religious and cultural sensitivities

If you’re entering a place of worship or historical significance, you need to take how you are dressed into consideration. In other words, if you’re supposed to cover yourself up to see a particular place, then make sure you do so, especially if there’s a dress code that's signposted outside.

3. Only finding out about one part of the country you’re visiting
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Before you head off on your big vacation, you really should do your homework about your host country to make sure that you can see all you can see and be safe while doing so. Remember that every experience is only as good as you make it.

4. Haggling too hard

Be respectful of market sellers and others selling their wares in your host country. It’s okay to haggle a little to get a good price for an item you like, but you can simply try asking the seller for a better deal, which they’ll usually give you anyway. Keep in mind that wares sold at markets and similar are often handmade and already priced quite low in the first place.

5. Being ignorant of a country’s culture
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Although research will always go a long way toward preparing you for your visit to a foreign country, you should know that you can’t know everything about it until you actually get there. As a result, you need to keep an open mind when visiting, because arriving there with preconceived notions of what it should or shouldn’t be like might leave you disappointed.

 

6. Being TOO friendly and outgoing

Americans, especially those who come from the southern states, are generally used to being friendly to people, and people being friendly back to them , but being overtly friendly is often frowned upon or viewed with suspicion in foreign countries. Try and tone it down a notch and keep this fact in mind.

7. Assuming that you’ll have access to the same luxuries as you do in the US
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The USA is the USA. Other countries are simply not. In other words, don’t expect to have all the amenities that you’re used to back home, because they’ll likely not be there. If you go to a new country with this in mind, it will save you from disappointment.

8. Passing negative comments about your experience to the locals

Refrain from making negative comments about your experience in your host country to the locals, because it can be considered rude. For instance, if you visited Cuba and bore first-hand witness to the abject poverty that is synonymous with some parts of it, it’s not a good idea to go and mention how you “couldn’t live like that” to a local…

9. Eating while on the move
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Although most Americans are accustomed to eating while on the go, doing this is a big no-no in various countries. In many parts of Europe, it is considered impolite not to sit down and take your time to enjoy lunch or dinner. In Japan, you should never eat in a subway, store or museum.

10. Getting your leftovers “to go”

In certain countries, such as France, it’s not common to take your leftovers with you after a meal, but this also depends on the kind of restaurant you visit. It’s unlikely that you’ll have leftovers in Europe, however, because portion sizes are much more manageable than US portions.

 

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