It’s become a worldwide obsession. Social media is full of selfies. It seems like any time, any place, anywhere is an opportunity to take a photo of yourself. The thing about selfies for travel is that no longer do you have to rely on someone else snapping you in front of a great view or major attraction – enter the selfie stick! But despite their popularity and entrance to the mainstream, there is a matter of etiquette and that includes some places you should never take a selfie.
1. Holocaust Memorials/Concentration Camps
One of the key places you should never take a selfie is anything to do with the Holocaust. It is important to visit a concentration camp or a memorial to pay your respects and mourn for those who were so tragically killed and imprisoned, but taking a casual selfie outside gates or next to a memorial plaque is in seriously bad taste. Let your powerful memories be enough.
2. 9/11 Memorial
Similarly, to take a smiling selfie outside of the 9/11 memorial in the New York City doesn’t feel like the right way to pay your respects at all. Taking pictures of the area alone is one thing, it can preserve a memory of a poignant trip, but there really is no need for your smiling face to be in them too. A little tact can go a long way. The same principle applies to war memorials in any country. It’s ok to take pictures of the places but keep yourself out of them.
3. Wild Animals
It can be very tempting to whip your phone out and grab a quick selfie if you happen to come across a wild animal, either out in the actual wild or whilst visiting a safari reserve. However, getting close and then turning your back and attention away from the potentially dangerous animal is possibly the worst thing that you could do!
4. On the Move
You might really want to capture yourself in motion whilst on a casual jog or a more important charity run, but when there are a lot of people around you also moving. Taking your eyes off the path and staring into a camera runs the risk of hurting yourself and hurting others who you might bump in to! Not so much etiquette as common sense.
5. Cliff Edges
Sure, we have all seen those breathtaking photos of people hanging on the very edge of a cliff (or skywalks etc.), casually smiling for their cameras. It might look cool, but it is oh so dangerous and you just know that if you were ever to try something like that, it would be the one occasion where you lost balance!
There are many cemeteries around the world that are popular with tourists and travelers that want to visit the graves of prominent figures from history. Though you may want to commemorate this moment, remember that you are actually stood in the resting place of hundreds, if not thousands of people: don’t turn their graves in to selfie opportunities.
7. Nude Beach
Of course, you have the right to take any picture of your own naked body that you want to, but when you are at a nude beach, there are a lot of other nude bodies around you, bodies that may not be so happy to be caught in the background of a photo taken by a stranger!
8. Holy Sites
Though they can be seen as tourist locations just like all the others, there is something about historical Holy sites that make it feel wrong to take a selfie alone or with friends. Respect the spiritual quality of the place and be satisfied with the non-selfie photographic memories that you will take away.
Some museums have no problem with visitors taking photos as they go round, but before you whip out your phone or camera, make sure that you know the rules of the particular museum you are in. Some have banned selfie sticks. With all of the amazing art right in front of you, you should be looking at it with your eyes instead of through a screen!
Want to know a secret? I have NEVER ever taken a selfie!