by John Webber
Want to look like a local when travelling abroad? Try to avoid these potentially embarrassing, sometimes insulting cultural faux pas that tourists and non-locals usually end up doing.
DON’T LEAVE A TIP WHEN TRAVELLING IN JAPAN
Few customs vary from country to country quite like tipping. In one nation, you might be expected to leave a 20% tip to recognize outstanding service at a fancy restaurant, but cross the border, and you may find that tipping is something you should never do. Service at restaurants and hotels will likely be exceptional in Japan, but tipping isn’t done; and it could be seen as degrading.
DON’T SMILE AT STRANGERS IN RUSSIA
Remember those old song lyrics, ‘Smile, and the world smiles with you’? That’s not necessarily the case when travelling in Russia. Russians see smiling as an intimate gesture, indicating a genuine affinity toward another person. If you smile at a stranger, they might consider you insincere.
DON’T TALK WITH YOUR HANDS IN YOUR POCKETS IN GERMANY
Planning a trip to Germany? Do not talk with your hands in your pockets while you are there, as it is considered rude. It’s also customary to keep your hands on the table while eating, rather than resting them in your lap.
DON’T EAT EVERYTHING ON YOUR PLATE IN CHINA
In China, polite guests do not eat every last morsel of food on their plates. Doing so signals the host that he or she did not provide enough food for a filling meal. Along with leaving a little on the plate, it is fine to burp after eating, as a compliment to the chef.
DON’T USE YOUR LEFT HAND IN INDIA
Here’s something you should never do in India: Use your left hand. The left hand is thought of as unclean in Indian culture (it is used to clean oneself after going number 2), so always use your right hand to greet someone, exchange money or pick up merchandise.
DON’T HONK YOUR HORN WHILE DRIVING IN NORWAY
Something you should never do in Norway? Honk your car horn. In Norway, the horn is only used in an emergency, so your unnecessary beeping could cause drivers to panic.
DON’T FORGET TO SAY HELLO IN FRANCE
Don’t forget to say hello in France. ‘Bonjour madame, monsieur’ should be the first words out of your mouth, otherwise you are subtly showing you feel the person is beneath you.
“Do not go where the path leads, travel instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” @wbbrjp