Many people say that traveling broadens your horizons, or that there’s no better way to discover new cultures. While this is completely true, many tourists don’t know how to use this opportunity to explore a foreign country in depth. Therefore, they end up visiting only those touristy places recommended on the Internet.
Exploring a new place is a great way to enrich your cultural knowledge and meet new people. Moreover, properly doing your research will help you avoid a cultural shock and choose meaningful travel gifts for your loved ones. So, how can we actually learn about a foreign country’s culture when traveling?
Before Your Trip
Your adventure starts before landing at the destination. Actually, it starts even before you head to the airport. While you’re planning your trip, you must learn some details about the cultural practices and norms of the country you’re about to visit. This will help you blend among locals and make a good impression when you arrive there.
Skipping this step might lead to a cultural shock. What’s completely normal in one country might be forbidden, or even offensive in other parts of the world. These social norms highly influence people’s way of talking, eating, greeting each other, or even walking on the street.
For example, Europeans see public displays of attention as casual behavior. Holding hands on the street is considered normal even between friends and people usually greet each other with a hug or a kiss on the cheek. However, in Saudi Arabia these acts are considered offensive in public and disobeying these rules might attract some judgemental looks.
Another aspect you should take into consideration is the time of the year when you choose to go abroad. If you travel to Saudi Arabia, you need to be aware that certain times of the year might be more restrictive than others. For example, during Ramadan, muslims fast during daylight hours and it’s completely forbidden to carry water or food with you on the street, even as a tourist.
Now that you know how to avoid a cultural shock, you are ready for your trip! Read on to find out how to properly learn about a foreign country’s culture when traveling.
Count on a Professional Travel Guide
You might think that everything you need to know about a foreign country is available on the Internet, and for the most part, this is true. But this thorough research also requires a lot of time and energy. That’s why travel guides can solve the problem. They are usually well-informed and can offer you additional resources that can enrich your knowledge.
The best part is that you can learn while you are visiting. Usually, you can sign up for a private or a group tour planned by a travel guide, where you can see the top landmarks while you learn their history. Thanks to visual memory, you’ll retain information much more easily, while also having fun and while exploring new places.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Thanks to technology, a vast majority of travel enthusiasts are sharing information online, through Social Media or personal websites and blogs. Although this practice has been pretty popular for a while now, it is only recently that it has become extremely captivating.
Gone are the days when text was enough to attract an online audience. Nowadays, travel influencers offer recommendations and tips and tricks through different media, such as YouTube videos or reels. Thanks to them, many tourists start with a base of knowledge they can use to further plan their trip.
Their information is just one click away, which makes their content extremely attractive. Furthermore, studies have shown that users consider travel influencers trustworthy and Social Media has become an important source of information for tourists when they are planning their trip.
No one can show you the depth of a foreign country like locals, not even the Internet. When you’re spending time with locals you can actually see how they behave and how their days look like. Their everyday habits are representative of the local culture.
You can ask them to show you specific hobbies they have. You can go to restaurants together and let them recommend you traditional food. Furthermore, you can wander around a souvenir store and look for travel gifts together. Locals with rich cultural knowledge can easily spot a fake souvenir shop and can guide you to choose the authentic travel gifts for your loved ones.
Keep Track of Details
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is keep an open mind. Maybe your trip is so brief that you don’t have the time to befriend locals and to sign up for a tour with a travel guide. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have the opportunity to learn about a country’s culture.
Think about all the research you’ve done before your trip and all the information you gathered from the Internet and check if it applies in real life. People watching can be a great experience and an efficient way to observe how locals choose to behave in different places. If you travel to Saudi Arabia, look for specific rituals in contrasting circumstances, like in a restaurant, opposed to a church.
Even the way they greet each other, or how they walk on the street is a great way to discover more about the local culture. However, try to be low-key when you’re doing this. No one wants to feel stalked.
This is also a great opportunity to stay curious and to look for details you haven’t found online.
Don’t Visit Only Touristy Places
Due to lack of research and time, many travelers end up visiting only the most popular landmarks. Although the top attractions are a must-see, this doesn’t mean your adventure ends there. Popular places are usually packed with tourists, so you can’t actually observe locals and their activities.
Moreover, touristy places can easily be used as scams because of their high potential of attracting visitors. Restaurants are usually more expensive in these areas and souvenir stores rarely have authentic travel gifts options. Those off-the-beaten-path places offer that extra touch of culture, so that you can make the most of your trip.
A Touch of Culture To Bring Back Home
Collecting new experiences when traveling is a beautiful thing. However, your fresh cultural knowledge isn’t the only memory you can bring back home. Authentic travel gifts can bring a touch of culture when you return home.
Our souvenirs are designed to make you feel like you travel to Saudi Arabia. They carefully preserve patterns and styles related to the local culture, like Arabic art and geometric patterns, while also being an online souvenir store.
Check our collection and let’s explore new cultures together!