How to Make a Good First Impression When You Arrive in a New Country
A blog about the best ways to make a first impression while traveling.
The first time I traveled abroad, I was 14 years old. A little too young to realize what a tremendous gift my parents had given me and how fortunate I was to have the chance to travel. We were a family of five, Mom, Dad and three kids under the age of eight. My sister was five and my brother was only two years old.
We packed up our suitcases, hopped on an airplane and landed in Paris, France! My mom had always wanted to go there because she had taken French in school. My dad was along for the ride because he knew how much it would mean to her. He’s been very supportive like that throughout their marriage!
My dad is also not really one for planning ahead so he didn’t make any plans for how we were going to get from the airport in Paris into the city center where we were staying. This was before cell phones were really a thing so I think he figured he’d be able to ask someone along the way. The problem is that no one spoke English at all! Nowadays people are more likely to speak some English but back then
When you arrive in a new country, you have the advantage of being an unknown. People make no assumptions about you; they don’t know where you are from or what your background is. You can establish a reputation from scratch.
We all make decisions about people within milliseconds of meeting them, and these first impressions tend to stick. It’s hard to reverse them once we’ve made them. Impression management is about making sure that the first impression we create is the right one.
So how do we do this? How can we make sure that the first impression we make on our host family, coworkers, or landlords is positive? Below are some guidelines.
Traveling to a new country can be stressful, especially if it’s your first time. On top of figuring out the culture and finding your way around, you also have to worry about making a good first impression. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to find good information about your destination country ahead of time; online research is the way to go.
Make sure you have all the paperwork you need.
Get a little knowledge of the local language!
Learn about local customs and etiquette.
Research the weather and pack accordingly.
Bring cash – it helps with tipping and for emergencies.
From your first sight of the airport to the moment you arrive at your destination, you have the opportunity to make a good first impression when you travel abroad. But what if you don’t? What if you do something embarrassing and make a bad first impression?
There’s no way to make up for a bad first impression, but there are ways to make sure that you don’t make one in the first place. Here are some tips on what to do (and what not to do) when traveling overseas:
Don’t wear black. Wearing black is okay if you’re staying in your home country. But if you’re visiting another country, wearing black can be considered rude and even insulting. If it’s sunny outside and you wear black, people will think that you’re trying to insult them by making them feel cold. Even worse, wearing black can also be seen as being disrespectful of the dead in some cultures. So always wear bright colors when traveling abroad!
Don’t take photos of people without asking permission. If someone says “no”, stop taking their picture immediately! If they say yes, use a small camera or smartphone instead of one that requires flash photography.
Don’t carry a large suitcase or backpack around with you at all times during your trip because it
Imagine you are from a village in Ghana and you have won a visit to the United States. You arrive at the airport and are greeted by two people: one is dressed in a suit, clean cut, smiling, and very polite; the other has on a t-shirt and jeans, looks like he just woke up, and simply points you to where you need to go.
Who would you be more comfortable with? Who would you think is more fun? Who do you think would be the best person to show you around? Even though they are both Americans, it’s easy to see that their styles differ greatly. The first person seems serious and reserved; the second seems laid back and friendly.
Dress code can make or break your first impression, as it tells people not only what type of person you are but also what kind of work ethic or lifestyle you live by. For example, if someone shows up at an interview wearing sweatpants and flip-flops, they seem extremely casual and relaxed. Even if they didn’t get dressed up for the interview because they were running late or aren’t familiar with American culture yet (which is completely understandable), their appearance could negatively impact their chance of getting hired because it makes them appear unprofessional.
Some people may
Thank you for booking a flight with us. Your below travel details is confirmed:
Flight: MH 122
Departure Date: May 15, 8.00pm
From: London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)
Ticket number: GXZ43B
Meal preference: No Preference
Check-in baggage allowance: 30kg + 7kg hand luggadge allowance.
Seats reserved: 02A & 02B
You have just taken your seat on the plane, when a flight attendant approaches you. She hands you a little card with a question printed on it:
Please rate our pre-flight service from 1 to 5.
She also hands you a similar card with another question on it:
Please rate our in-flight service from 1 to 5.
What do you do? You probably answer the second question because that’s when the service is most top of mind. But actually, the first question is more important. In fact, in this scenario, it’s not even close.
The reason is that if we want to know how good our service is, we should ask customers who are about to leave us, not those who have just arrived.