UK culture (c) Stewart Green 1998


update 1.1 24/11/98

Here are some tips from my travel experience , however we are all different so you might not agree with them
Why Travel ? : for  
  • Fun : if you stay at home nothing happens
  • Learning about other cultures : TV and books are fine ,but the only way you can understand other cultures is to experience them 
  • Learning about your cultures : You cannot understand your own culture until you have looked from the outside 
  • The challenge  : Sitting in front of the TV facing the challenges of travel makes you a stronger person 


Countries where the life is very different from your own are the most exciting, but you might want to begin in an easy country.

Japan - a country where the culture is completely different. It is expensive so no one tries to rip you off. The people are very kind and polite 

The UK - is one of the best places to visit : ancient castles to punk rock 

  • Countryside : it is an Island country there is a wide variation in a small space 
  • History : it is an old world country and there are so many preserved buildings 
  • Culture : people have always come from other countries so there is a wide diversity
India - Also a vastly different culturer. 4000 years of history, 900 million people, 200 + language, variation in terrain from the Himalayas to the desert. It's very cheap , but it can be very hard work and irratating 

Don't Believe Books Or TV :go see for yourself.

How - There are different ways to travel I use a mixture

DON'T Stay at the Hilton and fly everywhere : Wake up in the Hilton and you don't even know what country you are in. I like to find the Real Culture.

Independent Travel : You read the books and make your own plans. You do the work, but you have more flexibility and ultimately it's more rewarding 

Package Tour : Easy, everything is organised for you . A great way to meet other Brazilians, but not a good way to meet foreign people or experience the culture 

Organised Tour :  Like American Adventures or Top Deck. Like a mixture between Independent and package travel. . A good way to travel easily and quickly, meet and  share the experiences with other foreigners. BUT You don't get much opportunity to meet people from country you are visiting, you don't have much flexibity; you ofetn end up rushing : companies like Contiki can be very expensive and you can get stuck with a group of people you don't like. I wouldn't recommend it for more than 6 weeks. Africa is better on your own, most people that I have met hated it.
Servas  This a scheme where you swap houses for a couple of weeks with people in another country. It has a lot of Advantages.

Work : You can stay longer and see how the people reaaly live.

Work with other  volunteers on an enviromental holiday ..BTCV or WWOOFing  (UK

Village Chief Nana Fabin in Ghana


Before You Go

Plan  :Get a Good guidebook , the ones with a lot of pictures aren`t very good, the best ones are those with a lot of information are. You could get one just for the UK or for one covering the whole of Europe. Try Lonely Planet, Let`s Go or The Rough Guides. (all available from Make sure you read it and plan before you go. 

Info via Internet try the newsgroups uk.soc.culture, available via dejanews  

To find out about the culture you could read some books before you go. Culture Shock Britain by Terry Tan or try contempary fiction like Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby or travel experiences. The Island by The Sea by Paul Theroux or Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson. 

Some other good travel books :Vagabonding USA by  Ed Buryn  , Through The Backdoor Rich Steves, The Hitch hikers Guide To Europe

Don't plan : You don't know what it is like until you get there. Leave your options open so you can decide what to do on the spot. 

Packing : A backpack is easier than a suitcase. Most people pack to much and spend their time heaving around things they never use. I once had my bag stolen and had to travel with just a small bag, but it was very easy. You could come to a new town walk around see if you like it, look around different hotels instead of having to worry about first finding a hotel to leave your heavy bag. Rule of packing : pack the minimum things you think you need then put half of them back in the cupboard anyway. You can always buy new things. Put our things in plastic bags, so things stay dry and are easier to find. 

Money   It's very good to carry a credit card. Leave money in your account so you can use the cash  machines. Also carry a mixture travellers cheques, dollars and local cash. Change money before you need to so that you don't run out on a holiday. Always use a money belt that touches your skin so you can't be pick pocketed.

Don't use only one Travel Agent  Often when they say this is the cheapest price it isn't.

Air Tickets may be cheaper when bought from companies in the UK by telephone (most companies aren`t allowed to do this) but try  
Journey (Tel 44- 181 747 3108) or SEA (Tel 44- 171 976 5511). I paid US$765 for a six month ticket to Brazil. 

When You are There

The Grass is Always Greener   - You often expect the other country to be better than your own. Then when you get there you miss the things from home. Keep your mouth shut

Be SuspiciousPeople often think that you are an easy target. 

Do What The Locals Do : Travel on trains and buses with them eat local food at the same places. Then you can see what the real life is like.

Tourist Information Always check the local office for free maps and information and news of special events.

Language - AI think it is polite to learn a little of the language of what country you are in. It briongs you more friends.

Talk To Other Travellers You often meet other people who have jusst been to the places you are going to.

Travel Fast - maybe you will go to more places so maybe more things will happen 

Travel Slow - Stay in one place for a while, get to know it and maybe more things will happen. 

Don't Travel when everyone else is : i.e. in India on Sundays , in UK on Fridays or in China at New Year. It's much easier when you don't have to compete with the crowds.

Go to Strange places : when people only go to the capital cities they don't see the real culture ; so many things have been directly set up for tourists. When you go to other places people have more time for you. 

Hitch-hiking - I really like to hitch hike. If they are going somewhere they are going there for areason. I get to find out more about the life and spent hours talking to a local person. Often in buses and trains people don't speak.

Walk or Cycle In small countries like in Europe. Things are close together. You get to see things that other people miss when the drive by. Also , because you are going at a slower pace you will find it easier to meet people. There are many long distance footpaths in the UK and the Camino De Campiostmenta in Spain.

Don't get carried away taking photographs : some peole spend all their time looking at their camera not what is going on around them. Often it's better to buy the postcards

Cold  If you come from a hot country you don't always realise how cold it can be. Rememebr you  lose most of your heat through your head so a think wooly hat is a good buy. 


Saving Money 

Capital cites are more expensive.  Of course the number of tourists and the higher wages makes them expensive if you try to live like you would in your home country.  

When in Rome...  Try do do the same things that you do a home and it will be expensive live like the locals do and you will be better off
I like to spend less, but stay longer
Bargain for expensive things like tickets and hotel rooms