Planning a trip abroad? Memorize these rules to avoid offending the locals.
Don’t tip in Japan
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
They’ll see it as an intimate gesture, indicating a genuine affinity toward another person. If you don’t know them, they might consider you insincere.
Don’t use your left hand in India
The left hand is thought of as unclean in Indian culture, so always use your right hand to greet someone, exchange money, or pick up merchandise.
Don’t eat everything on your plate in China
That shows your host didn’t provide enough food or a filling meal. Along with leaving a little, it’s fine to burp after eating, as a compliment to the chef.
Don’t honk in Norway
It’s only used in an emergency—so your unnecessary beeping could cause drivers to panic.
Don’t forget to say hello in France
“Bonjour madame, monsieur” should be the first words out of your mouth, otherwise you’re subtly showing you feel the person is beneath you.
Don’t talk with your hands in your pockets in Germany
It’s considered rude. It’s also customary to keep your hands on the table while eating, rather than resting them in your lap.
Don’t sit in the back seat of a cab in Ireland
There are actually a few countries—Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Scotland—where this goes against the rules of egalitarianism. Ride shotgun instead. It’s the polite thing to do.
Don’t call the United States “America” in South America
To call the United States “America” in South America implies that only the United States are worthy of the title “America.” South America is an America too.
Don’t open a gift immediately in India
There’s a bit of unchartered territory around this one in the United States too. If your boss gives you a random gift from a business trip, should you open it then and there, or wait? It’s not always clear. But if you’re in India, you’ll want to refrain; opening a present on the spot is considered greedy.
Don’t ask, “What do you do?” in the Netherlands
Doing so can appear classist in this country, especially since it has a broad social-welfare system. Try a different ice-breaker instead.
Don’t blow your nose in public in France
It’s considered repulsive. Instead, excuse yourself as if you’re going to the restroom. Countries such as China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey will also thank you for this one.
It is illegal for unmarried couples to stay together in a hotel.
Cohabitation can result in a fine, imprisonment and deportation.
Don’t Order a Cappuccino in Italy After 11am
Italians, you see, are obsessed with digestion. Consuming milk after a meal, Italians believe, will totally screw up your digestion. And since that’s not something they are wont to do, they avoid milk when eating. So if do this, waiters may give you a weird look or try to tell you why it’s a bad idea.
Don’t Eat or Drink in Public Transport
Consuming food or drink on a bus or train inSingapore can get you a fine.