There are certain patterns quintessential to most Indian travelers, whether you realize it or not. Like the typical Indian accent, the Indian head wobble, the love for Indian food, and the list goes on. While these are mostly harmless, like it or not, there are quite a bit of cringe-worthy things as well as far as Indian travelers are concerned.
In this post, let’s have an open discussion on things NOT to do as an Indian traveler.
Before things get ugly, let me make it clear. I’m not saying that no other nationalities are guilty of these things. And that all Indians are like this. But undeniably, there’s enough of incidents to warrant a conversation about it! As long as we have an open mind, and realize our gaffes, I still think there’s hope. And hence, this post.
Now let’s get down to business.
There have been many embarrassing cases of Indians being cheapskates.
Stealing from the lodge in a foreign country, or making a mess of someone else’s place, or lacking decorum, naturally puts these incidents on a national level. After all, as an Indian traveling abroad, we are ambassadors of our country. Whatever we do, can be seen as a representation of the entire country, whether it’s the truth or not.
Cases in point:
Video of an Indian family stealing accessories from a hotel in Bali caught by staff went viral on social media. They received a lot of backlash from the public, but we know that it’s not a one-off case.
We wouldn’t entertain someone stealing from our house, or showing disrespect to our culture, right? So, why should it be any different when we are on the other side? Most of it comes down to showing respect to someone else’s space and time. Treat someone else the way you would want to be treated without expecting anything in return.
Indians are known to be boisterous and loud especially when around a group of Indians.
I have lost count of the number of times I cringe when I hear a group of Indians in public talking so loud that everyone else takes notice. No one wants to be disturbed on their vacation. And certainly not this way.
It’s essential to be mindful of where we are and behave in a way not to disrupt others. It’s just basic manners if you ask me!
Acting like an entitled prick
Many times, with or without noticing, we expect the same kind of comfort while traveling as we have at home. But why should we? If comfort is what we are looking for, why not stay at home?!
Travel, by definition, takes us out of our comfort zone. It opens up to new experiences, new people, and maybe pose a few challenges along the way. Why not take it in stride, and make the best out of the situation?
Just because we are paying for something doesn’t mean we are entitled to be rude. There’s a difference between asking something nicely, and being an entitled prick. Whatever we choose, can have a big impact on our experience in a foreign country.
Complaining about food
Wait, I get it. Indians have possibly the best culinary options out there. Which goes without saying that Indian food is hard to equate to. And most Indians, by nature, are food lovers.
But while traveling, I don’t get it when people complain about the food. Comparing it with the food that you get in your own city, is just plain offensive if you ask me. While food can change for every 200kms in India itself, why do we expect it to be the same when in a foreign country?
Instead, when in Rome , be a Roman. Food is an important part of the culture, so sample local food whenever possible. In case of dietary restrictions, or want to avoid eating outside, then pack food items from India.
If you don’t like something, change it.
Actions always speak louder than words.
Trust me, no one likes a whiner. There, I said it!
Saw same-sex couples kissing? Or lovers making out in public? Or unmarried couples living together?
Let them. Who are you to judge?
Understand that while others may have a completely different way of life, that doesn’t make it wrong. Just different.
If travel hasn’t taught you to be open-minded at the least, have you really traveled?
Expecting everyone else to follow your opinion
Just because you had a bad experience in another country, doesn’t mean everyone else should feel the same. Or the other way around. Know that your opinion is just yours. Someone else might have a completely opposite opinion than you. And it’s alright. Agree to disagree. And, move on.
Litter, spit, or pee in public places
While this issue isn’t exactly when traveling abroad, I still think it’s relevant here. I’ve seen a lot of people follow the rules strictly in a foreign country — no litter, spit, or pee in public. It could because of steep fines, or maybe it’s following the herd. But for some reason, the same people are comfortable creating filth in their own country.
Why the double standards though?
When we can abide by the rules of cleanliness in other countries, why is it acceptable to dirty our own country? It’s time to call out our hypocrisy and rise above it.
Know that, you may not get a second chance to make the first expression. And you definitely don’t want to be the one creating a bad impression of Indians among foreigners.
After all, as an Indian traveling in a foreign country, it’s up to us to present our best foot forward.
What do you think of this post? Anything else you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments below!