Many travellers are seeking more than clear skies and blue waters in their destinations of choice. The desire to discover the art, culture, and history, in addition to the scenic beaches of a country, has steadily grown in the years. Some of the most visited places today, including the Forbidden city of Beijing and the Sagrada Familia of Barcelona, are significant to the local communities in which they are located.
What is cultural tourism, anyway?
Cultural tourism is a great way to enrich your perspective on cultures around the world. It allows you to embrace people of different cultures and gain a better appreciation of the world’s amazing diversity. We understand that it can sometimes be difficult to navigate cultural tourism, so here are our top tips on how to travel immersively and respectfully.
Do your Homework
One of the best ways to improve your cultural awareness pre-travel is to do a little bit of research on your destination. You can learn ahead of time, what the norms of the area are, and what kind of clothes you might need to pack, especially if you anticipate visiting some religious sites. The wealth of information online means you’re unlikely to be caught in a bind. An extra helpful tip is to follow some social media personalities from those regions to get an idea of the quintessential lifestyle of the area.
Listen to local experts
Our next top tip is to listen! Tour guides and locals are your best bet to respectfully exploring a travel destination. Not only do they give you the real tea on the best spots to see, but they also provide great insight on the customs, taboos, and history of the country. Our secrets of Barcelona tour guide, Jordana, for example gives you all the intel you need to explore Barcelona in its full glory; the do’s, don’ts and the must sees.
Learn key phrases
Our final cultural tourism tip is to learn a few phrases of the local language if it’s different from the one you’re used to. “Please” and “Thank you” are ones you should not miss! It’s always great to be polite when traveling, and the locals will definitely take a liking to you for putting in the effort. You might even get some good bargains as a result!
With all this said, you might not get everything right the first time and that’s okay! As long as you’re genuine and respectful, people are unlikely to take real offense. Visiting a new place can be overwhelming sometimes, so remember to take it easy and enjoy the journey!