Friday 22 December 2023

Tech Etiquette 101 for Travellers

This is a collaborative post

Have you ever been seated on a plane next to a child who’s watching videos on their iPad without headphones on? If you’re trying to sleep, it’s probably more than a bit of a challenge. Next, raise your hand if you’ve been annoyed by a know-it-all who keeps Googling travel facts while your tour group tries to listen to the official tour guide. These are just some of the unpleasant scenarios that may happen when you travel abroad or to local destinations. If you don’t want to be that annoying traveller that people avoid, it pays to learn a thing or two about tech etiquette.

Tech etiquette refers to the set of guidelines and socially acceptable behaviours governing the use of technology in various contexts. It emphasises consideration, respect, and responsible engagement with devices in both public and private settings. While traditional etiquette focuses on polite and respectful conduct in face-to-face interactions, tech etiquette extends these same principles into the digital realm. 

In a country like Singapore, etiquette is highly regarded and is perceived as a sign of respect and intelligence. So, on top of doing an exhaustive SIM only plan comparison and finding a data plan that works for your trip, take the time to review a few etiquette tips when it comes to technology.

Here’s a list of basic tech etiquette guidelines you can practise if you want to be looked at by others as a considerate traveller and visitor: 

1) Wear Headphones When Using Your Gadgets

In any public space you visit, whether it’s a bustling market or a serene garden, you’ll want to respect other people’s experiences of it and not be responsible for any loud and disruptive noises. The rhythmic beats of your favourite tunes might be a source of joy for you, but those around you may want to enjoy their tranquil environment.

To that end, always wear headphones when listening to music, watching videos, or making calls in public areas. This simple act of courtesy will be appreciated by your fellow travellers and locals alike.

Person wearing headphones walking down busy city street
Photo credit Ross Sneddon via Unsplash

2) Turn Off Scheduled Alarms

The echoes of a loud alarm piercing through the air can be quite disruptive, especially in confined spaces like public transportation or crowded attractions. Before immersing yourself in the cultural richness of a country like Singapore, take a moment to check and adjust the settings on your devices. Turn off scheduled alarms that may inadvertently disturb others. The goal is to create a harmonious atmosphere where everyone can enjoy the sights and sounds of a public space or tourist attraction without unnecessary interruptions.

3) Be Mindful of Other People When Taking Photos and Videos

You may be able to discover a country not only through its stunning architecture and lush landscapes, but also through the rich tapestry of its people. But when capturing any of these on camera, you’ll want to be mindful of the privacy of those around you. 

Seek permission before taking photos of any local or fellow tourist, especially in close-up or intimate settings. This will guarantee positive interactions with the people around you and ensure that your happy travel memories don’t come at the expense of someone else's privacy.

4) Avoid Tagging People in Posts without Prior Approval

In an era dominated by social media sharing, it's essential to respect the privacy and cultural norms of the destination you're exploring. Before tagging any individuals in your posts, especially locals or fellow travellers, seek their approval. 

Identity theft and credit card scams are also prevalent in this age, so it’s understandable if some people would rather remain private and not have their photos tagged, along with any location they’ve been in. Respect their wishes and only tag when you have their tacit permission. 

5) Turn Down Your Screen's Brightness

When travelling on a plane or staying at a hostel, it’s considered good manners to turn down the brightness of your screens. In aeroplanes, dimming your screen reduces the potential disturbance to other passengers, especially during night flights where the ambient lights are lower. 

In hostels, where shared spaces and close quarters are common, lowering your screen brightness helps maintain a peaceful environment. This allows fellow travellers to rest without being affected by the glow of a bright screen. 

6) Don't Be Tempted to Fact-Check Your Tour Guide

Travelling may be such an exciting experience that, sometimes, you may initially forget to mind your manners. One such occasion where you could slip in the etiquette department is during guided tours. 

While it's natural to want accurate details, resist the temptation to fact-check your tour guide in real time using your device. This can disrupt the flow of the tour and diminish the experience for both you and your fellow travellers. Instead, trust in the expertise of your guide and, if needed, conduct additional research post-tour.

A considerate traveller will be mindful of others’ capacities to get to know and enjoy the country they’re in. Follow these tech etiquette guidelines to contribute to a positive and respectful travel environment for everyone around you.  

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