Touring a foreign country can be exciting, educational, and an overall excellent way to spend a few days or a couple of weeks. But your behavior, no matter how well-intentioned, can have quite an effect on your experience. When you're on a luxury tour, you expect good service and efficient arrangements. But you must remember that you're in a foreign country and are taking part in a business deal. Second-guessing your impulses -- whether it's something you want to say or something you want to do -- can go a long way toward making the tour a lot calmer and more fun.
Excitement vs. Restraint
It's natural to be excited when you get to your chosen country, and it really is fun to see all the sights and hear all the sounds. You should totally take the opportunity to enjoy being where you are and try new things. But you've signed up with a tour for a reason: You want some structure provided for you. Be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to prohibitions and laws (for example, if your guide asks you to stay on a certain trail at an archaeological monument, please stay on that trail -- don't go wandering off!), and try to control your voice's volume. Don't touch items unless you know you are allowed to; for example, when touring a local market, don't start manhandling all of the produce unless you know you're allowed to touch it and you're actually going to buy something.
Second-guessing your impulses will make you seem more mature and less of a wild card that people might have to keep an eye on. Tour guides have a difficult job, and they're watching over a lot of people. By exercising some of your own restraint, you can make the tour guide's day easier and get a bit of a reputation as a great tourist.
Think About Your Questions -- and Your Reactions
You should ask questions about the country and city you're touring. It shows interest, of course, and a willingness to learn. But if something takes you by surprise, such as new information that you don't quite understand, try to subdue any surprised reactions, and formulate responses as if you were the person being questioned. In other words, if someone were touring your country and asking you questions, how would you want them to behave when speaking to you?
Check Tour Policies
Please follow tour policies. Restrict picture-taking to areas and times when it's safe (and legal, as some places like museums prohibit photography), show up on time, and bring what the tour guide asks you to bring. It sounds so simple, and yet so many people can show up underdressed, overdressed, improperly dressed, without their cameras, and so on. It is good form to show that you have read the tour policies and are abiding by them.
Please Do Follow Tipping Guidelines
Tipping will show up in two situations: Everyday tipping (such as at restaurants) and tour tipping, for your guide, porters, drivers, and so on. Please do tip. Good tour companies make tipping policies known up front, before you sign up, so your being on the tour implies you agreed to follow these rules. Many tour employees count the tips as part of their income, so don't avoid the tips.
While it might sound like a lot to think about, being more restrained in your behavior, following the rules (instead of being the maverick you'd prefer to be), and thinking about how you act and react will actually make the tour a lot more fun. You'll see and hear things you never realized existed because the tour policies are in place to ensure you have the best, safest time possible. For more information, contact companies like Kuoda Personalized Travel.