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Questionnaire: Are You a Culturally Sensitive Traveller?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 29 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Travel Traveller Travelling Travels

In the rush to see new places and meet new people it can be easy to be swept away with enthusiasm during your travels and to overstep the boundaries of culturally sensitive behaviour.

But the travellers who do remain mindful of local culture are the travellers who will be welcomed wherever they roam.

To help you determine if your travel style is respectful of and sensitive to local people and places we have put together the questionnaire below. Simply answer "yes" or "no" to each question and then total your answers to discover if you are a culturally sensitive traveller.


1. Do you research your destinations prior to travel in order to learn about local history and culture?
2. If you have questions about local customs do you ask an expert rather than risk an embarrassing or offensive incident?
3. When you travel do you respect cultural guidelines regarding dress rather than impose your own style on a community?
4. Do you enjoy people's pride in their communities instead of argue that yours is better?
5. Do you search for an explanation to things rather than argue that you have a better way of doing them?
6. When you visit places of worship, do you respect the rules even if you are not a follower of that religion?
7. Do your photographs attempt to capture the context of the subject rather than make a show of the subject?
8. Are you mindful of your body language and eye contact when you travel?
9. Do you attempt to speak the local language when you travel rather than start out in your mother tongue?
10. Do you seek to bolster, rather than deplete, resources in the areas to which you travel?
11. Do you conform to all laws in the countries to which you travel, even if you do not agree with them?
12. When you arrive home from a trip do you attempt to implement what you've learned into your daily life?

Are You a Culturally Sensitive Traveller?

If you answered "yes" to between one and four questions then you are most likely not a culturally sensitive traveller. While it is only human to travel to new places with some preconceived ideas try to research the areas to which you will travel before you take off for them. Don't believe urban myths or stereotypes and use your travels to shape your own informed opinions. If you like to travel with others who won't allow you the freedom to explore new cultures and discover new customs then consider a solo trip in the near future.

If you answered "yes" to between five and eight questions then you might be a culturally sensitive traveller. The next time you travel remain aware of what you expect from new cultures and how you interact with them. Make an effort to speak the local language, eat local foods and observe local customs. If you feel you need direction in how to become a more culturally sensitive traveller then consider joining a tour group that places great emphasis on this type of travel.

If you answered "yes" to nine or more questions then you most likely are a culturally sensitive traveller. You put great importance on showing respect to the people and places you visit and have no doubt benefited from these efforts. If you haven't already, consider helping family and friends with their pre-travel plans or travel with them so that others may benefit from your sensitive style of travel.

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