Often times we are inspired to travel the world to experience new cultures. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t times where we feel culture shock. Culture shock is a disorientation, either physical or psychological, that occurs when we are encountering a new place. This is because the environment, including landscape and culture, are inherently different from what we are used to. But there are a few things that you can do in order to combat those negative feelings in order to enjoy all the time you have while traveling!
One of the best things to do before visiting any place is to do your research. This will help you plan your time well, and it’ll give you great insight into what you might be able to expect when you arrive at your destination. Whether you’re traveling across the country or across the world, there are bound to be differences in lifestyles. Online you can find lists of tips and tricks in order to get to know an area. For instance, whether or not a certain country finds it customary to leave a tip. Gaining some inside knowledge can ease nerves since you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.
Be Prepared for Differences
When you travel, there is an innate notion that things will be different from your home environment. Sometimes we don’t imagine these differences to be as severe as they are. Even after doing research, there is a possibility that upon arrival, there will still be some differences you were unaware of. By going into travel with an open mind you might be able to thwart off strict expectations, which could cause stress if not met. Going with the flow by lowering expectations may also help you to absorb and appreciate each moment more fully.
Being aware of yourself in the words you say and the actions you display is always a good habit to have. But when you live in a place where certain behaviors are common, it can be easy to forget that this might not be the case all around the world. Certain words, as well as behaviors are perceived differently in other cultures. By understanding that certain habits maybe need to be altered while you are away, you can avoid possibly awkward or negative situations in your travels. This self-knowledge can help to ease the stress of culture shock.
Don’t Withdraw from the Experience
One of our tougher tips is to push through the uneasy feelings that you may be having. After all, traveling is partially about stepping out of your comfort zone to learn more, not only about yourself, but also about people in the world around you. This won’t always be an easy breezy task, but it is important to take every moment in. You don’t want to feel as if you missed out or wished you had done more when you get home. With each and every trip, your courage to overcome differences and difficulties will become stronger and stronger!
Bring a Couple Things from Home
Culture shock not only has to do with understanding new cultures, it also has to do with missing your own culture. Bring a few items that remind you of home, or that make you feel more at ease. These items can include scents that you have at home (lotions and perfumes), pillowcases to make you feel more comfortable while sleeping (maybe even a pillow if you have the room), or small memorabilia to carry with you throughout your day. No matter how far you travel, or the length of time you’re away from home, never forget where you come from and don’t be afraid to bring a piece of it with you.
Traveling can be daunting, even if we think we know what to expect. We hope that our tips help to lessen the stress that comes with entering a foreign cultural environment. You can help lessen your stress of travel even further by talking to your travel advisor today or visiting travelinsured.com to obtain travel protection before you go.