With health and safety restrictions in place, most people spent the last year limiting their domestic travel and international travel. One destination in the United States that has recently opened up its borders to more tourists is the Hawaiian islands. While visiting a new destination is about having fun and enjoying a new experience, it's also important to acknowledge and appreciate local culture in a way that's respectful. If you're traveling to the state of Hawaii, for example, you can enjoy its exceptional beaches and beautiful local culture without being offensive. On this page, you'll find a few tips to avoid fetishizing or appropriating an entire community of people.

When you visit Hawaii, don't wait to finalize your trip details at the last minute. Book that trip to Maui or Honolulu and upload your proof of vaccination or negative test results. Then, check American Hotels for the best deals on a luxury hotel in the famed neighborhood of Waikiki or find an oceanfront suite in Oahu. Through AmericanOtels.com, you can narrow down your options for accommodations and stay close to the island's best sights.

Here are some tips for travelers to avoid appropriating while visiting new destinations.

Identify context by researching your destination's history.

Identify context

Cultural appropriation involves narrow insight into a specific culture that reinforces toxic stereotypes. These stereotypes can then be harmful to that community. While a luau-themed party with plastic leis and Hawaiian shirts may seem harmless, it's a cheap take on a long-standing cultural tradition. And depending on who is taking part, it can serve as a reminder of the exploitation of Native Hawaiians.

Before you travel to any destination, it's important to learn about its history. The cultural practices that you've heard about may not be accurate despite how popular they may seem. Even just reading quick facts about your destination can help you become a more mindful traveler.

Seek first to understand, then be understood.

When it comes to cultural appropriation, the best approach is always to listen first and educate yourself. Malliha Wilson often reinforces the importance of education when it comes to activism. Wilson is a Tamil-Canadian lawyer with an impressive career fighting for international human rights. Her success as a young lawyer can be attributed to her perseverance.

As someone who fights for underrepresented populations, she upholds the rights of minorities whose voices often go unheard. And like Wilson, you should first and foremost prioritize listening and understanding. If not, you may unintentionally perpetuate harmful narratives.

Try to examine privileges within your own culture.

examine privileges

Why is it important to think about privilege? For starters, it makes you feel comfortable with critiquing and accepting facets of your lifestyle and culture that put you in a better position than others. Having privilege doesn't mean that you've never experienced hardship. It just means you've likely grown up with certain societal advantages that other identities might not have.

That's why it's important to learn about historical context and why society upholds certain privileges that put others at a disadvantage. Examining your privilege is never about discrediting anyone's hard work. It's mostly about knowing how society views a cultural identity and how that might make your lived experiences different from others.

Share ideas with cultural awareness.

While sharing ideas, it's always best to lead with cultural awareness and take part in open conversations. Talk to locals and learn how they view international travelers. Be empathetic toward other people's experiences and understand that privilege is relative. More importantly, remember that people's identities are intersectional.

When it comes to traveling, it's important to acknowledge cultural appropriation that often occurs in places like Hawaii. To avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes and practices when you travel, learn about your destination's history. Think about what its people have experienced and participate in a cultural exchange that's mindful and respectful. Safe travels!