Tunisia is definitely one of the best Mediterranean travel destinations. We have decided to gather a few weird tips just to make your trip way more interesting. These tips will help you to find your way.
Be aware of the siesta in mid-afternoon, especially in summer. Tunisians often close their businesses for 1–2 hours in the afternoon so they can enjoy their lunch. They will likely stay open later because of this break, but don’t expect to be able to shop or eat mid-afternoon in every city as shops and restaurants may be closed.
Police Check Points
Road rules are treated more as general suggestions. If you have a fast car, the police may pull you over if you’re not breaking the speed limit.
Related Read: Driving in Tunisia: 10 Tunisian Road Habits to Watch Out For
Police check points are everywhere in the country. They’re just making sure everything is Ok, but hey, you may even find them in the high way, under a tree, and in other places you might not find in your home country.
Learn How to Haggle
Haggling is a natural way of shopping in Tunisia. However, this may feel a bit weird and intimidating at first if you are from a culture where haggling is not the norm. The important thing to remember is that it is not a battle – it is a friendly negotiation.
Suggested Read: 20 Mistakes Foreigners Make when they Arrive in Tunisia
Especially in touristic places, the vendor is likely to quote a price that is quite high and he is expecting you to give a counter-offer that is lower. Then, you can go back and forth and reach a price that works for both of you.
Personal space isn’t the same as what you are used to. Pretty much like any other Mediterranean country, in Tunisia, personal space is not guaranteed. When you are using public transit or walking down the streets, you might find yourself squished and crowded much more than you are used to in your home country.
Don’t Expect Things to Happen On Time
Remember that things happen on “Tunisian Time.” Trains won’t necessarily leave when they are scheduled, Tunisian friends might not arrive when they said they would and things can take a lot longer than expected.
Related Read: 10 Very Tunisian Proverbs to Live By
Influenced by the French bureaucracy and the cozy Mediterranean culture in general, it’s important to keep this in mind and to allow extra time for delays so that you don’t get stressed out.
People Will Stare At You
Don’t get annoyed when people stare at you. This is actually your chance to feel how it is to be a celebrity. In some places; people, usually kids, will ask to take a picture with you. It’s fun, believe me!
Suggested Read: Tunisian Shall Stop Doing These 5 Things
The Sweetness of Doing Nothing
The culture is much more relaxed than in some other parts of the world. Tunisians enjoy life, family and highly appreciate the ”sweetness of doing nothing.” You can embrace that attitude and enjoy it rather than expecting things to operate the same way they do back home — wherever home may be.
Learn How to Survive Bureaucracy
If you’re ever willing to deal with a Tunisian administration — then good luck. It might be a very difficult, time-consuming, and complicated, to get just any sort of documents. You might need quite a long time to have some basic papers stamped, finger prints taken, etc. The levels of bureaucracy in Tunisia is crazy!
Suggested Read: Ten Things I learned from Living Alone in Tunis
Spending some time in the country, may then lead you to learn the fine art of dealing with bureaucracy.. “argent de poche” under the table. 🙂
How much Tunisians cut lines.
In the grocery store, in the streets, at the airport, super market, etc. If there’s a line, without a ticket number, a Tunisian will try to cut it. You can see it in their eyes when they arrive at the end of the line.
- 10 Things I Wish I Know how to Explain to Tunisians
- Life in Tunisia: What It’s Really Like — The Pros and Cons
And even with a ticket number, they’ll still try by asking permission to cut simply to ask a question. Once in though, they’re there.
If you would like to comment on this article or anything else you have seen on Carthage Magazine, leave a comment below or head over to our Facebook page. You may also message us via this page.
And if you liked this article, sign up for the monthly features newsletter. A handpicked selection of stories from Carthage Magazine, delivered to your inbox.
I am surprised you didn’t mention driving in Tunisia.. sometimes at the roud-abouts you either steal priorities or you will get honked like no tomorrow from the cars behind you, hence if you can drive in Tunisia you can drive anywhere