top of page

Broughtupsy – Major Key To Travel Success

I love my fellow Bahamians and our unique and colorful vocabulary. I didn’t realize how flowery our speech was until I went off to school and was told that I “chat bad” by some of my fellow Caribbean students. I had a firm desire to maintain my Bahamian-ness and never tried to stifle my dialect or deep Grand Bahamian accent. After 4 years of living in the US, and two more living abroad elsewhere, my accent is still firmly intact, though I know when to speak the Queen’s English and when to let my Bahamian words run free.

One of those colorful words that I love so much is “broughtupsy”. This one I have come to find is not unique to Bahamians, and many other Caribbean countries also use it to describe someone as having manners or “home training” as some would say. This concept of “broughtupsy” isn’t some outdated or stuffy form of etiquette, but rather treating people with respect and just acting mannerly based on your surroundings.

By some miracle, luck, and countless blessings, I have been able to travel to a number of beautiful and captivating places, around the world. As an English speaker, I may not always understand everyone on my adventures, but I try my best to be kind, open, and, most importantly, respectful of their social customs, traditions and culture. And, for the most part, this approach has resulted in people being open and welcoming.

Here are some situations where having a little broughtupsy can go a long way.

Do A Little Research

Prior to travelling to Tokyo, I did a lot of research. I was so worried about accidentally offending someone and I dreaded doing something wrong. However, when I landed in the Narita airport, I felt at ease. When I smiled, people smiled back. And when I tried to communicate, people were open to helping me along. I still dreaded some local customs, like having to take my shoes off when entering certain locations, (I didn’t have to do this even once during my travels in the city) but I felt comfortable with the bit of research that I had. This also let me know things like tipping not being customary, and how to get the attention of restaurant staff etc.


Sometimes a smile can go a long way, and it can let people know that you come in peace…..Ok, that was corny. But, when travelling a smile can be seen as a welcoming gesture.

Learn Some Basic Phrases

My most challenging travel destination, thus far, has been Martinique. The language barrier was great, and resulted in some misunderstandings, but knowing a few basic words and phrases helped a lot. I know this can seem like a mammoth task, but learning phrases like please, thank you, greetings, your favorite food or similar simple phrases can come in extremely handy.

Don’t Shout or Speak Condescendingly

This one should go without saying, but I see many people do this when speaking to persons who speak a different language. If you are visiting another country, you are the different one. There shouldn’t be an expectation that an entire country will bend over backwards to assist you, or speak the language that you speak. Try alternative ways to communicate instead of saying that same thing over and over, while expecting different results.

I hope these tips come in handy for your next adventure.

Follow Us
  • Twitter Basic Black
  • Facebook Basic Black
  • Google+ Basic Black
Recent Posts
bottom of page