Cultural Faux Pas You Must Avoid While Traveling
Traveling around the world opens your eyes to the very different ways that people live and conduct themselves, and view how other people like you, conduct themselves!! You may find yourself surprised that somebody in a country where you are a foreigner thinks you’re being disrespectful for doing something that you do in everyday life back home. Although you may think nothing of your simple actions, there are places in the world that have different traditions and rules than where you’re from. The following are some examples of cultural faux pas in various countries around the world.
Things You Mustn’t Do While Traveling Abroad.
- In Southeast Asia it’s frowned upon to point with your feet at people.
- Never touch people on the head when in parts of Asia.
- Don’t pull your hand away during an intense handshake in Fiji. They usually last a while!
- In Nepal try to avoid stepping over someone if they are lying in your path. Always walk around someone who may be in the way.
- Russians won’t shake your hand across a threshold, so don’t even offer to shake hands until you are well in a room or open space!
- In India you need to know when someone is complimenting you. For example, if you’re being waved at by someone who has their tongue between their teeth they are saying that they think you’re beautiful. Who would have thought this?
- Some people hold the ‘Peace Sign’ – first two fingers up in a V sign palm facing away from you – the other way around. When it is the other way round it is an insult and a big insult at that! Citizens of Western countries or countries that have experienced Western influences will recognize this cultural faux pas.
- In Morocco always say hello and then chat for a while. It’s considered impolite to say a quick hello and proceed to walk away immediately.
- In Bulgaria, shaking your head up and down means ‘no’ and left to right means ‘yes’. Confusing, right?
- In Iran it’s important not to give the thumbs up as this is seen as the worst gesture imaginable.
- In the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent it’s bad to hand over gifts with your left hand. The left hand is considered unclean.
- In Saudi Arabia and Dubai it’s against the law to show a public display of affection including hugging, holding hands, and kissing, as this goes against what is acceptable in Islamic law and customs.
- In Greece you should avoid pointing your palm at somebody. It is known as a very offensive gesture.
- In Asia, never place your chopsticks right in your bowl of rice. This is a tradition seen in funerals and will show disrespect.
- In Thailand, don’t insult or say anything negative about their King. This is illegal.