There are countless travel articles about what to do when you travel; whether it’s how to get the cheapest airfare, which hotel is best, must-see sites to visit, there is no shortage of advice around. When it comes to what not to do, though, it’s a whole other ball game.
The other week while enjoying a drink with some international friends who were in town, we got onto the subject of the state of the roads in Melbourne, specifically, road rage. Currently living in Abu Dhabi, they proceeded to inform us no matter how badly someone may be driving, you never honk your horn. A little known fact, this is the exact behaviour that could land you in the proverbial hot water if you were unaware of this before you got there.
Here are another seven tips for what not to do in various countries to avoid embarrassment, or worse, being locked up.
Baring your sole in Singapore
While an acceptable way of sitting in Australia, resting your foot on your knee and thus showing the sole of your shoe is considered an insult in Singapore, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.
You can’t leave your hat on …
In Japan and many other countries in the East, it is customary to take your shoes and hat off inside. Most places in Japan provide slippers for this reason; however, you should always make sure you remove your shoes before stepping on a mat or inside a doorway.
No PDA in Dubai
Given the extreme penalties for this one, it is, thankfully, relatively well known. Public displays of affection, or ‘PDA’, such as kissing, are not allowed in Dubai, with sex outside marriage illegal in the entire UAE. One couple found this out the hard way when they tried this out on a Dubai beach and ended up facing six years imprisonment.
Smile at a stranger in Russia
A very easy mistake to make, in Russia a smile is seen as an intimate gesture that indicates a genuine kinship toward another person. Smiling at someone you don’t know could lead to them being offended or considering you to be insincere.
There is a right and wrong hand in India
In Indian culture, the left hand is considered unclean. You should always use your right hand to greet people, exchange money or pick up items when in India.
She won’t be right mate
While in Australia the thumbs up is our way of saying ‘she’ll be right mate’, ‘no worries’, or ‘okay’, this isn’t the case in many other cultures around the world. In Turkey, the thumbs-up sign is the same as calling someone a homosexual. In Iran, it roughly translates to ‘sit on this’ and is therefore incredible insulting; while in Brazil, it conveys to the other person that you are comparing them to a certain part of the human anatomy – we’ll let you work out which one!
Leave something behind in China
Most of us have been brought up to finish everything on our plate given that many people in the world are starving. However, this is considered to be the height of rudeness in China where it says to your host they didn’t provide enough food. If you’d really like to compliment the chef, a small burp after eating should do the trick.
Do you have any other rules that should not be broken when travelling to other countries? Share them in the comments below.