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Being A Great Tourist

As travellers, we sometimes forget that there's many people who live day-to-day in regions and cities that serve as our getaways. Everything from littering, improper greetings or ignoring religious observances all have the possibility to land you in hot water depending on where you are! One such example is Paris, where a few bridges are adorned with hundreds of thousands of padlocks, typically bearing the names or initials of happy couples partaking in the "Love Lock" tradition in the city of love. For native Parisians however, these locks are an eyesore and sheer weight of these locks have cause structural damage to the bridges over the years. As much of the locks were removed earlier this year, it begs the question: how can we be great tourists while still having fun?

love-locks

Research beforehand

Do some online research about customary do's and don'ts of the country and city you'll be going to; there's tons of them. Your unfamiliarity with all of the rules are to be expected, but it always helps to make an effort, particularly for a longer stay. Girl with map at Brandenburger Tor

Ask someone local

If you're still unsure of an appropriate custom, your best bet is to ask someone who lives there. They can let you know if something is a bit more nuanced, if there's circumstantial rules and ultimately help you immerse yourself in a new culture in a deeper way; as they will likely explain to you the reasoning behind many of these customs in a way a simple list of dos and don'ts may not.

When in doubt, skip it.

If you're unable to find a clear answer about the appropriate practice, it may be a good idea to just avoid it altogether if you can. Opinions from others who have travelled to the country before may differ from your research and those of someone native to the region. In some cases, simply leaning towards conservativeness works too. Remember, it's important to enjoy any new destination and staying open to learning new customs is just another way to enrich your cultural experiences. Happy Travels!