25 Local Rules That Tourists Need To Be More Aware Of When Travelling

Published 6 months ago

Some tourists visit other countries and don’t always understand the place’s culture. Or they lack the knowledge on how to behave and end up insulting the natives or pulling a particularly offensive gaffe because they have failed to understand the customs of the country they are visiting. 

Recently, a Reddit list garnered quite a bit of traction for the valid insights folks shared on things they wished travellers were more aware of when visiting their homeland. Scroll below to check out these unwritten rules, that may help future tourists avoid any offensive behaviours that may be frowned upon by the citizens ensuring a happy travelling experience for all involved. 

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#1 Stop asking how to catch a leprechaun. It’s trafficking, and they are a protected species under EU law.

Image source: WalkwiththeWolf, Joe/flickr

#2 No tipping – we don’t want to start the tipping culture here!

Image source: molinana, cottonbro studio/pexels


• Don’t try and do a Scottish accent. Barely any of us talk or sound like Shrek and it just pisses us off.

• Don’t claim to be Scottish just because your great great great great great grandfather was Scottish – newsflash, you’re not Scottish.

• Don’t talk about religion – it’s a touchy subject with a lot of sectarianism between Protestants and Catholics.

• Don’t mistake us for England, or ask us to speak more English.

Image source: Maleficent-Eagle9659

#4 Yosemite is in fact NOT Disneyland. You do need to wear more than flip flops when hiking up a cliff and the bears are not, I repeat, NOT animatronic.

Image source: seadondo, Leonardo Pallotta/flickr


Please, for the love of god, don’t walk up the steps to the pyramids in Mexico. Aside from it being against the rules, it is taboo and incredibly disrespectful to the indigenous communities. Take pictures and admire from a distance but don’t climb them. And especially don’t get an attitude when a local yells at you to get off.

Image source: mexheavymetal

#6 Be quiet at memorials. Stay off the monuments.

Image source: The-potatoman, Karen Mardahl/flickr

#7 If the locals don’t understand English, raising your voice and saying it slowly will not help you be understood.

Image source: CountMcBurney, SHVETS production/pexels

#8 If there are red flags on the beach it means “NO SWIMMING”

Image source: algunadiana, Andreas Schnabl/pexels

#9 More specific to my region: stand on the right, walk on the left. Stop blocking the escalators like a human iron curtain. The poor government workers have already lost enough of their souls, don’t make them mutter “on your left,” as you dawdle around in bewilderment.

Image source: WassupSassySquatch, oatsy40/flickr

# 10 Don’t swim in brackish rivers in the Nortern Territory. Oh wait, that’s a written rule tourist’s always seem to break.

Image source: DeusSpaghetti, Lindy Buckley/flickr

#11 NZ – No littering. A lot of us here will straight up scream at you to pick your s**t up if you litter in our beautiful country. Tourist or not.

Image source: GoldenUther29062019, Mike Mozart/flickr


Image source: fappyday, Arlington National Cemet/flickr

This one is highly specific, but here in the USA we have a monument called The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The changing of the guard always draws a crowd and you are supposed to remain silent. I’ve seen a few videos of people talking, laughing, etc. They tend to get yelled at. These are real guards. They carry weapons. They guard the Tomb 24/7/365 in any weather. Do not disrespect them or the Tomb. Stand silently, film, take pics, and that is all. Most of the videos I’ve seen of people being disrespectful were clearly Americans. Gods forbid these a******s go to another country and s**t all over other people’s traditions.

#13 Don’t pet the fluffy cows and stay on the boardwalks in Yellowstone. It’s actually a written rule, but apparently it’s too difficult to comprehend.

Image source: Trick_Few, Yellowstone National Park/flickr

#14 Do not sit in seats reserved for the elderly, infirm, or pregnant women on subways and buses. South Korea.

Image source: Epiphanes21, Ann-Sophie Qvarnström/flickr

#15 “Hi, how are you”.

In Estonian culture it’s rude to ask it if you’re actually not prepared to listen to my whole life story. To us this is a very intimate question.

To top it off, a surprising amount of times I’ve been berated by a foreigner for not welcoming them in this exact way. Like I’m supposed to be a psychic and know what culture their from. Or their way is the only universal way to welcome someone. I’ve been extremely offended by this. Someone came to my country as a guest and didn’t even bother to Google how to say hello. ?

Image source: kenakuhi

#16 Do not approach the wildlife in North America. People joke about Australia having all the dangerous animals, then will walk right up to our elk during rutting season and get gored. Same with bears, bison, moose. These animals are NOT tame.

Image source: ThisLion329, Pixabay/pexels

#17 Do not pick up the cute blue ringed octopus, do not pick up the cute blue ringed octopus, do not pick up the cute blue ringed octopus, do not pick up the cute blue ringed octopus. Do not f*****g do this.

Image source: DrakeAU, Etienne Gosse/flickr

#18 Use headphones or turn your volume off on your phone.

Image source: NomadicallySedentary

#19 Stand to the side and let people off the train before trying to board the train. So many times in NYC I’ve encountered groups of Chinese tourists trying to bumrush the train as soon as the doors open.

Image source: im_on_the_case, Keira Burton/pexels

#20 Do not go to Ireland and order a “Car Bomb” unless you want to be punched in the mouth.

Image source: arrows_of_ithilien

#21 In England please respect the queue.

Image source: Ilostmypassword43, George Redgrave/flickr

Jumping the queue will bring forth a seething rage and putrid hatred that spews forth tutting and a passive aggressive muttering rant that’s loud enough for others, but not you, to hear

“Oh no you go ahead mate, I’ll just stand back here with everyone else, good job I didn’t have anything on at all….”

The queue is so deeply entrenched in the psyche of the nation that during the 2011 England riots that lasted a week, during which the social fabric broke down, looters could be seen to queue outside the shops they were robbing.

Please respect the queue!

#22 In Medellin, Colombia, do not glorify Pablo Escobar. We don’t want to hear about the museum, the tour or you greeting his brother. It was awful for those who lived through it and there are so many other things to do.

Image source: FewTax2, YenaMagana/reddit

#23 Use of sun protection, I know its technically the same sun, but it works a bit different here in Australia.

Image source: delayedconfusion, Armin Rimoldi/pexels

#24 Trying to pet the local moose.

Look, I know it’s a majestic creature right in the middle of the city but it’s a really, really bad idea to start thinking it’s Bullwinkle and try to get a selfie with it.

On second thought…you do you. Go give him a big old skritch on the snoot. Us locals will be watching…from way over there.

Image source: Suspicious_Hornet_77

#25 Don’t pose for pictures with the big waves and pretty rocks behind you. Too many people get knocked down by a sneaker wave and are swept out and they drown. (Pacific Coast of California.) Stay away from the edges!

Image source: SnooLentils3066, Anastasiia/pexels

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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local customs, locals, rules, tradition, travel, travel rules