Have you ever picked up a taxi on arrival to a new destination only to find that you do not have the complete address to your exact destination or you do not have enough cash on you to complete the fare? Do you remember ever getting shunned by a local while visiting a location for asking certain questions they possible saw as “inappropriate”?
At some point in our visits to new lands and destinations, we have found ourselves caught in one of those dismaying social circumstances that occur unexpectedly, and it is almost impossible to pull through the awkwardness that ensues. These “faux pas” most times happen even without us knowing it and when we least expect it, leaving us blushing with embarrassment for days.
Jumia Travel, Africa’s No. 1 hotel booking portal sheds light on some of these embarrassing situations with the hope that travellers can work towards avoiding them in future.
Faking a horrible local accent
Most travellers try to blend in by faking the predominant accent in the area they are visiting. It could be a Nigerian trying to fake a British accent in the UK or as close to home as an Ibo man trying to fake an Hausa accent while visiting Kano or Nassarawa. While most tourists tend to have that they can pull it off, they most usually do not! And this could lead to very embarrassing situations as some local can even find it offensive seeing as a bashed up accent comes off as mockery. To avoid this, stick to your normal accent, and at best, learn a few local phrases and do not overdo it.
Using the wrong hand gestures
Most tourists who find themselves in locations where they are not fluent in the local dialect of the people or even the accepted official language usually resort to hand gestures when interacting with people they meet around. The thing though is that hand gestures tend to vary as you move around. Innocent hand gestures at home do not always mean the same abroad. For instance, while pointing when asking for directions could be permissible in some location, it could be seen as offensive in some areas as Benin City. It is important to refrain from using certain hand gestures unless you are certain it is accepted.
Get drunk on local brews
While visiting new locales, it is always exciting to try new foods and taste local brews. Some tourists go further to ignore the local warning and satiate their lust for adventure or prove themselves to the locals by imbibing strong local mixtures. Often times, however, these daring tourists find themselves running through the streets naked or doing other things that are bound to embarrass them exceedingly when they eventually come to. While traveling, it is important to seek advice from locals when it comes to trying local brews and also keep in mind that these local concoctions tend to be a lot stronger than the regular branded drinks.
Get arrested for flaunting local laws
Different rules apply in different parts of the world and while visiting a new place, it is important to research and learn those rules as well as specific local laws to avoid embarrassing and even sometimes dire situations. One of these embarrassing situations is getting arrested for something you consider ultimately right. For instance, throwing out the trash on the street could be pardoned in some locations while it could lead to an arrest in other locations.
Nkem Ndem is a PR Associate at Jumia Travel.