Don’t wear sleeveless tops into churches in Greece. Don’t tip in Japan. Don’t eat with your left hand in the Middle East. Don’t point with your feet in Asia. These are just a few of the local customs it’s important to know before landing in a foreign country. Otherwise you risk sticking out as the ugly American, offending locals, or simply making life harder for yourself than it needs to be. More etiquette tips that your fellow TripAdvisor travelers have shared—on Twitter—1`include:
“Japan. Very rude to blow your nose in public. Lots of frowning on the Tokyo subway.”
“Oops! I learned the hard way that strapless tops are not allowed at The Vatican. Bought a wrap to cover up.”
“In the UK: Learned that you must order food from the bar in a pub. Waited a long time for a waitress.”
“You only order cappuccino in the morning in Italy. Tourists’ order them ALL day long.”
“Don’t stick your chopsticks in a bowl of rice in Japan. Considered disrespectful.”
“Don’t wear sunglasses inside of a bank in Mexico. I was surrounded by armed security.”
The list goes on and on. The 25 most fascinating rules of etiquette from around the world include never shaking hands through a doorway in Russia, always going around temples clockwise in Buddhist countries, and greeting your friends in East Africa by spitting on them.
How to learn the dos and don’ts for the country you’re headed to before making any faux pas? Use these TripAdvisor tools:
Explore the country’s Travel Forum.
If you go to TripAdvisor.com, click on “More” in the green menu bar, and choose “Travel Forum,” you’ll find a list of regions worldwide. Click to the country you’re headed to. Say it’s Thailand. If you go to the Thailand forum and punch “etiquette” into the search bar, you’ll uncover a ton of etiquette tips, covering everything from dress to photography to dining to cultural taboos.
Pull up the “Tipping & Etiquette” page.
Again, say you’re headed to Thailand. Punch “TripAdvisor Thailand tipping etiquette” into your search engine and you’ll reach this page covering dos and don’ts. TripAdvisor has “Tipping & Etiquette” pages for dozens of countries.
Zero in on the right “Traveler Articles.”
Punch “TripAdvisor Thailand Traveler Articles” into your search engine, and you can click to a list of articles “written for travelers by travelers,” on topics from “Thailand: A Guide to Appropriate Behaviour” to “Thailand: Annoyances – Scams – Cons and Tricks.” Such “Traveler Articles” pages exist for countries worldwide.
Ask your question on TripAdvisor.
If you still can’t find the intel you’re looking for, return to the Travel Forum and post a question.
You’ll find more travel advice from Wendy Perrin at WendyPerrin.com