15 Tactless Things We Shouldn’t Do in Different Countries
Traveling, for some people, is about taking a break from stress at work, for others, it is to experience and see new things. However, it is important to know that when visiting a new place, a new culture, different people, and a whole different life, there are things that we shouldn’t do. If we want to be good guests, we have to familiarize ourselves with the proper etiquette of the country we are visiting.
Bright Side wants to help new and already seasoned travelers with 15 things you shouldn’t do, in hopes they help you to not get into trouble, so you can enjoy your well-deserved vacation!
1. Don’t give an even number of flowers in Russia.
In Russia, as well as in quite a few Eastern European countries, giving an even number of flowers is considered very offensive and inappropriate. An even number is given only at funerals, so if you don’t want to offend someone, give them an odd number of flowers!
2. Avoid eye contact in China.
In China, eye contact is considered a sign of disrespect toward another person. Chinese people do it when they are angry at somebody, so if you want to stay on their good side — avoid doing it.
3. Do not disrespect the royals of Thailand in any way.
Even making jokes about them could get you into trouble. Above all, putting your foot on their money will turn you into a criminal and you will be treated as such.
4. Don’t talk about going to church in Norway.
Avoid asking people if they go to church. Only a very small percentage of the population in Norway goes to church, so bringing it up may seem rude and you’re better off not talking about it.
5. Don’t wear shoes inside of Indian temples or homes.
When you are entering a temple or somebody’s home you are supposed to take off your shoes.
6. Do not wish an early happy birthday to someone in Germany.
Germans are superstitious about this, because they believe things will fail if you say they won’t. So, wishing a German an early happy birthday could make them fear bad luck.
7. No kissing in the UAE
Public displays of affection are not only frowned upon in the United Arab Emirates, but they can get you in trouble. So we suggest that you avoid doing it. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are among the other countries that also don’t want you to exhibit PDA.
8. No pets are allowed in Singapore.
This one is important! Some “dangerous” dog breeds, like pit bulls, akitas, tosas, and a few others, are not allowed in Singapore. Other dog breeds are — but there are very, very strict and time-sensitive rules about them. So if you want to travel the world with your dog, Singapore may not be the best place to go.
9. No jaywalking in America
Jaywalking in the United States is illegal, even if the road is completely empty. Be careful not to get yourself in trouble and use the cross-walks.
10. Don’t eat only one course in a French restaurant.
Just like their language, French people are proud of their cuisine. So to them, to order only one course in a restaurant is considered “bad form.” Furthermore, leaving food on your plate can be very insulting to the chef, instead of doing that, you should just send it back.
11. Don’t give sharp objects as gifts in Switzerland.
Giving sharp objects as gifts in Switzerland (alongside other countries like Germany, Brazil, and Egypt) is considered bad gift etiquette and the end of the relationship or friendship. The way around this is if you tape a coin on the knife, so then the receiver of the gift can give you back the coin as a payment.
12. Don’t mistake New Zealanders with Australians.
People from New Zealand will get very irritated and angry at you if you call them Australian, so be very careful!
13. Never eat with your hands in Chile.
It is considered very rude to eat with your hands in public in Chile, and yes, that includes fries! Another very important thing to know about Chilean dining etiquette is that we must always keep our hands above the table with our wrists resting on the edges.
14. Do not stand on the wrong side of an escalator in Japan.
Escalator etiquette is tricky in Japan. If you don’t want to annoy the locals, it’s best for you to learn that in Osaka you are supposed to stay on the right side of an escalator, while in Tokyo — you should be on the left side.
15. Do not make the okay hand gesture in Brazil.
In America the OK hand gesture is harmless, but in Brazil it is the equivalent of the middle finger and it goes without saying that you should not do this in front of locals.
What are other things we shouldn’t do in different countries? If you have knowledge and experience, please share it with the rest of us!