Global traveller with local knowledge

(4 min read)Not many people know, but taking pictures of the iconic Eiffel Tower at night for any other reason than personal use is illegal, and punishable by a massive fine. A daytime photo is fine. The copyright on the structure itself has expired. The night time photos remain problematic because the light show is more recent than the tower traveller with local knowledgeThis is when you need to be a global traveller with local knowledge. France isn't the only country where such freedom is limited. Belgium, Denmark and Italy have similar restrictions on their iconic landmarks. It is because the architectural firms own the copyrights. The EU directive howver frees up such strict laws. Only of course if those countries signed up to that. Guess which countries didn't?So you may inadvertently break the law because you are not a global traveller with local knowledge. So we did a little investigation of our own. We couldn't really find any one point of reference. We have managed to collate a list of online resources that may help if you are planning to travel extensively or regularly, especially to places that may get you into hot water.Certain countries have byelaws and expectations of how you would dress and behave. Whether you agree with these or not, if you travel to such countries then you must be aware as some cultural miscommunications could land you in jail.

  • If you are using a tour operator find out if they have deep first-hand knowledge of the area and local suppliers.
  • Global Greeter Network is a group of affiliated volunteer organisations. They quote "come as a guest leave as a friend."  It's a growing greeter network operating in over 30 cities presently from Accra to Tokyo.  If you book a few weeks ahead someone will take you on a very personalised (and free) walk around their home ground.
  • AirBnb is a great way to get local knowledge. Most hosts are renting out their spare room for a bit of extra income. Since the platform works on a review system, the chances are your host is going to ensure he or she is as helpful as possible. Other sites include Couchsurfing and Planely.
  • Use Twitter. Yes Twitter is more of a resource than just ranting like Mr Trump seems to enjoy. Point your browser at scroll down and fill in the criteria you are looking for. You’ll quickly spot the friendly ones. Follow a few. Active users are often happy to share tips or answer questions about their home terrain.
  • Use your Facebook friends to find out information. Facebook actually has a tool called Graph Search. This is a relatively new tool from Facebook. You can just type “current countries of my friends” into the search bar on your page. International flags will appear along with the names of friends who live there. Graph Search allows you to find friends and friends of friends with the same interests. For instance, you can search for “friends of friends who like travelling” and essentially create your very own personal travel network. 

Actually, most of us have the resources at our fingertips. We just need to better use our social media to help us become a global traveller with local knowledge. As no-one has better knowledge of the local area than the locals of course.Happy and safe travels.

travelShabana Carlton