Photo of the streets of India


It’s time to hack your life with travel hacks from Cover-More Travel Insurance. We’ve been around the globe and back again to bring you the smartest travel tips on overcoming culture shock.

Be prepared for a slight culture shock, no matter where you visit, and plan ahead. By reading this article you are already on your way to reducing culture shock, but here are a few more tips for reducing culture shock in a new country.

Travel hacks for overcoming culture shock

  • Plan, plan, and plan some more. Many of the most jarring culture shock experiences can happen at the airport. If you are visiting a new country, make sure you understand your flight details and visa information before leaving home. Know what you can and cannot take through airport security and print out the information for your return flight. And if you do get stuck at customs, stay calm. Airport employees are simply doing their jobs, so communicate as clearly as possible and do not begin to yell.
  • Follow travel advisories and read travel blogs to understand the culture. Overcoming culture shock is as easy as opening yourself up to new experiences and immersing yourself in a new culture. If a country advises modest dress, for example, follow suit. If a country frowns up eating certain foods, steer clear. You don’t have to change who you are, but simply adapt to experience the culture around you. For specific guides to culture shock, take a look at our country guides:
  • Learn how to speak the language, or at least have a few phrases to get by. Going to a new country where you do not understand a word can be an overwhelming undertaking. While translating apps can make navigating a bit easier, understanding enough to have a short conversation will immediately make you feel like a part of the culture.
  • Eat locally by shopping at local businesses or cooking. Save the fast food and chain restaurants for when you are home. Trying local cusine will save you money and give you a flavour, literally, of the local culture. If foreign cuisine is new to you, start small – maybe by ordering one familiar item off the menu and one locally-recommended item. Always ask waiters and waitresses which items they prefer, and which items they suggest for newcomers.
  • Bring something small from home to make your trip more comfortable. Whether it’s your favourite perfume or your fuzzy slippers, if there is one item that makes you feel at home, be sure to bring it abroad. Sometimes the smallest luxuries can be just what you need to get over a bout of homesickness.

Travel hacks for overcoming the culture shock of coming home

Coming home can be a culture shock in and of itself. Deal with the culture shock of coming home by preparing and staying active. Adjusting from an on-the-move travel lifestyle to a more sedentary at-home or at-work lifestyle can be difficult, so remember to incorporate travel into your regular routine. Whether you are becoming a tourist in your own city or planning day trips on the weekends, keep exploring and the culture shock of coming home won’t feel quite so, well, shocking.

Image courtesy of Flickr user John Haslam; cropped from original