This Is What You Should Never Do While Traveling Abroad

Read up before you go on what you are likely to find when you get to wherever it is you are going, so you don't arrive unprepared. Once at your destination, blend in as best you can. Stand in the middle of the street in Mogadishu wearing a Hawaiian shirt and brandishing $100 bills and you are asking for trouble.

Don’t overlook the dress code

The appropriate dress code varies with every country. For example, don't show much skin if you're going in a country in the Middle East. This applies to men as well – no shorts or sleeveless tops. If you're going to Europe wearing a casual suit or jeans is a good choice but not so much in many places in Asia. Dressing conservatively is OK in general if you want to be on the safe side.

Don’t disrespect the local culture

Do some basic research or ask the locals but familiarize yourself with what's considered inappropriate behavior. Every country has its own rituals and unwritten rules. For example, don't leave tips and don't walk inside someone's home with your shoes on if you're in Japan; and don't make fun or rugby or Lord of the Rings if you're in New Zealand.

Don’t show off with money

Unless you're trying to make yourself a target, keep your money out of sight in your pockets. No one likes it when other people boast about how wealthy they, supposedly, are. In certain places, like in Norway, for example, even talking about money is considered rude. The French, too, consider money talk to be basically taboo.

Don’t avoid the local food

Here is a simple example that summarizes it all: Don't order fries if you're in Italy. Every country has its own delicacies and treats that you won't find anywhere else. Make the most of this opportunity and try as many of them as you can. Don't be the boring person who only eats cheeseburger and fries. It's not fun.

Don’t assume everyone is there to help you

Sometimes tourists, especially those from rich countries, have a tendency to assume that everyone owes them their undivided attention. This is, needless to say, absurd and rude. Practice common sense and always be courteous and well-mannered. Don't expect special treatment.

Don’t go without knowing basic phrases

This is a very effective icebreaker. Wouldn't you love it if a stranger bothered to learn a few basic phrases such as greetings, asking for directions and saying "please" and "thank you"? This simple gesture shows you are sincere and that you make an effort.

Don’t count only on your credit card

Many places still accept only cash. The plastic is not so widely accepted in many countries, even in Europe. Bring a card or two, just in case, but always carry some cash with you. If you have problems and run out or get robbed, go to the American embassy. People there will help you contact family who can wire transfer you money.

Don’t hug everyone at hello

This is not always the case but play it safe because in some parts of the world, such as Japan and India (especially with the opposite sex) hugging when you're just meeting someone for the first time is frowned upon. A simple "hello" will do, especially if you're talking to older people.

Don’t exchange money at the airport

You're going to get the worst deal. Unless you absolutely must, have to, have no other options at all, never exchange cash. Go to a bank, if possible. Some don't even charge extra fees for the service anymore. In general, you're better of using your ATM card.

Don’t drive an obvious rental car

The more nondescript the better. Keep maps and travel brochures out of sight in the glove compartment. Don't park anywhere but a well-lit place, don't leave valuables in sight (lock them in the trunk), and don't pick-up hitchhikers.

Don’t dress like a tourist

Don't look like a tourist by dressing like one, appearing lost or consulting a map in public. Many tourists keep a camera hanging from their necks; nothing screams "I'm not from here" more than that. Don't make yourself a target to thieves. Snap a photo or two and put the camera away.

Don’t carry large sums of cash

Don't carry and flash large sums of cash, nor exchange money at dubious-looking places or with individuals on the street. This should be common sense, but never carry all of your money or valuables with you when you're out touring. Also, don't store cash, jewelry, medicine or other valuables in your luggage.

Don’t wear flamboyant jewelry

Flashy jewelry, expensive watches, diamond rings and earring...If you show people you have them, chances are someone will see them and try to steal them for their own "collection." Who do you really have to impress so much? Is the risk of being robbed worth it? Leave the valuables at home when you're traveling abroad.

Don’t wear sneakers all the time

While sneakers are considered a comfortable and good-for-everything shoe in the U.S., in Europe, especially in Spain and Italy, for example, they are considered appropriate just for sporting events. If you plan on walking all day around the city exploring, wear comfortable leather shoes, for example.

Don’t wear a large backpack while touring

Don't carry a backpack that looks like luggage. While large backpacks may be a convenient choice as a carry-on luggage, do bring a smaller bag that you can wear across your chest when you go out touring during the day. Big backpacks are like a general label for tourists. Also, they are easy to grab.

Don’t eat near tourist attractions

Unless you have extra money to spend...You can be certain that any place near a touristy site will have spiked its prices but the food won't be as good as at a small, local place of which few people have heard. The logic is simple: Restaurants in tourist areas know their clients are not coming back so they don't worry about high quality.

Don’t take cabs

Taxis are always more expensive than public transportation, but some cost more than others. Drivers can ready people and will know if you're out of town. You may want to consider taking a car service if you're traveling with at least one more person, preferable a local, so you split the fare.