I am a full-time traveling registered nurse, fitness enthusiast, and nutrition expert. Every morning I wake up intending to bring awareness of the importance of health and spiritual wellness, especially to the traveling community. At Messy Bun Traveler, we promote travel that allows the traveler to either kick-start, maintain, or enhance a healthy lifestyle. So whether you're someone who travels for business, travels for pleasure, or new to travel and looking for health advice while on the road, this blog is for you!
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There’s something about picking a new travel destination that just feels exciting. You get to explore a new place, meet new people, and experience different cultures. But sometimes it can be tough deciding where to go – there are so many places to choose from! And while you’re deciding where to go, the last thing you want is to encounter rude or unwelcoming people.
Friendly interactions with the locals can turn a vacation from an average trip to an unforgettable one!
When it comes to traveling, not all countries are created equal. Some are friendlier and more welcoming than others, and some make it a lot easier for tourists to get around and enjoy their stay.
When creating this list, it must be understood that I pulled these countries together based on my own experiences while visiting that country and interactions with the locals. When I refer to “friendly to the traveler,” I specifically mean how welcoming and helpful a country is to its visitors, and not necessarily about the population in general.
Nonetheless, this is a question I get asked quite often. So, here’s my list of the world’s 10 friendliest countries!
While visiting Ireland, you can expect to have a quality pint of beer in one of the country’s hundreds of pubs. You’ll find equal quality and friendly locals to enjoy it with. The country is easy to navigate, and helpful locals will go out of their way to help travelers.
While I was in Ireland, I had left my debit card in one of the rest stops on the way to visit Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
I was on a tour, so the bus could not turn back so I could retrieve it. The locals were so lovely that one of the store managers drove with my card to the next rest stop and handed it back to me. I was so grateful!
If you visit Ireland, you’ll find the genuine hospitality of the Irish is second to none, and their laughter and friendly banter are genuinely contagious. Whatever activities you decide to do while in the country, take the time to get to know the locals.
I visited the country of Laos back in 2017, and the one thing I remember most about the country is the fantastic friendliness and hospitality of its people.
The locals are so helpful and polite to their visitors; they even hold the reputation of being genuine, “wholehearted people.” When I first touched down in Laos after traveling through Thailand, I was greeted with the biggest smiles and warmest hellos. Here, being friendly is just the way of life.
Thailand is one of the world’s most visited countries, known as the “land of smiles.” It’s not called this for no reason; the entire country is home to extraordinarily friendly people and good vibes! This country is not only incredibly welcoming but nonjudgmental and values freedom of choice.
This beautiful island nation hosts just a melting pot of cultures. There is so much to see and experience across its 7,000 islands. The people there are so amicable and welcoming.
When my husband and I spent a week on the island of Cebu, we met a local gentleman that helped us plan our day trips and even offered to show us around the island. Everywhere we went, the people we encountered were welcoming, friendly, and warm, and we were always greeted with a smile.
This country doesn’t come as that big of a surprise to many people, as Canada is known for being particularly welcoming to outsiders. The people in this country are known for being open-minded, tolerant, and benevolent.
Canada’s people are so friendly and polite, in fact, that if you accidentally bump into them, they’ll apologize to you! The kindness is contagious from store clerks to restaurant staff, hotel reception, and strangers. “Friendly and nice” is the very definition of this beautiful country.
A trip to Vietnam can be a turn-off for many Americas who recall the history of the Vietnam War. But, contrary to many Americans’ biases, Vietnam has largely recovered from that period and is actually very welcoming to American tourists.
My husband and I visited in 2019 and were very impressed by the country’s friendly vibes and helpful locals. We felt incredibly safe there as well. The crime rate is low, and many locals will go out of their way to help you out.
One of the most memorable moments of my trip to Amsterdam was socializing with the friendly Dutch locals.
I remember one gentleman went out of his way to accommodate my friends and me by opening his coffee and wine bar late at night just for us. We sat together with warm, friendly conversation, laughed, and drank wine.
The German people are known for being friendly and welcoming. The country is also extremely safe to travel to as the crime rate is low, and people respect and follow the law.
My friends and I visited Germany during the popular celebration Oktoberfest. We were all so pleasantly surprised at how warm and welcoming the German people are.
While visiting Peru, I learned that Peruvians are genuinely happy people with friendly dispositions. This translates to how they receive tourists who visit their vastly beautiful country.
You’ll find that locals willingly offer help and assistance if you ever look lost or confused. The people there are also kind and respectful in how they interact with their visitors.
A lovely memory while visiting Peru was when our tour guide took us to his childhood home where his dad lived. His dad cooked our group a delicious, home-cooked Peruvian meal. I loved how warm and welcoming his family was and how he graciously opened his home to us foreigners.
And finally, Turkey is one of the friendliest counties to visit. My girlfriend and I felt so welcomed there while visiting; everyone was warm and welcoming.
Even when we arrived in Bodrum, Turkey a day early with no accommodation booked that night, the generous hotel staff fed us breakfast and allowed us to lounge by their pool. She made some phone calls until she found a hotel that could accommodate us for one night.
When she found one down the street, a lovely man arrived with a car and loaded our bags, and took us to that hotel at no cost.
The following day, the hotel owner came and picked us up in his car and took us back over to the first hotel to check in for our stay. I’ve never found that kind of hospitality anywhere else in the world! Turkish people are so incredibly friendly I will gladly go back in a heartbeat!
One country I would say I did not feel as welcomed was Nicaragua. While most people were somewhat friendly, many were outright rude and unhelpful, and if you said “no,” some lashed out.
One moment I remember was with a taxi driver. My husband and I were trying to cross the Nicaraguan/Costa Rican border. Our flight was canceled, and we needed to get there in the evening for a tour.
We flagged down a taxi and asked how much to the border. The gentleman said “200 dólares,” so we got into the car. The next thing we know, he drives us to a remote, secluded location and demands more money for gas and an oil change. We were so flabbergasted.
With nowhere to go and in desperation, we paid the man. This encounter left a bad taste in my mouth and will make me hesitate to visit Nicaragua in the future.
Now I can’t speak for the rest of France, but I can speak for a few experiences while visiting Paris.
People bumping into you all the time with no “pardon” or “excuse me.” Store clerks or restaurant workers were not very helpful or friendly, and in fact, I felt like I was a bother for shopping in their store or trying out their restaurant.
I had heard before visiting that French people become mildly insulted if you don’t learn basic French, so I memorized some words and phrases to help. Unfortunately, if I didn’t get the inflection or pronunciation right, I was met with laughter or rolled eyes, and scoffs.
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