How Not To Embarass Yourself In A Foreign Country


Around a week back I wrote about a Yahoo slideshow featuring 10 Hand Gestures To Never Use Abroad. The slideshow showed how easy it could be to offend people while visiting a new place and doing something as simple as a hand gesture innocently.

Soon after writing about the “Hand Gestures” slideshow, I came across another article related to this potential offense (while traveling abroad).

Budget Travel has an article with some interesting tips on How Not To Embarrass Yourself In A Foreign Country.

Check out the tips:

  • The wrong hand gestures can get you in trouble– Find out all about this in the link above.
  • Do you wanna touch– Some countries are definitely touchier (so to speak) than others.
  • Mind your table manners– My favorite food etiquette rule is not eating with your left hand in various countries.
  • Raise a glass? Not so fast! It can be impolite to turn down a drink in some countries or to take a sip before the toast. Be prepared!
  • The tipping point– This is always a fun topic- to tip or not to tip. We try to read up on this prior to arriving in a new country.
  • Never underestimate the power of body language– Besides taking off your shoes before entering a home or temple in parts of Asia, I never heard of any of these other examples like not crossing your legs at the ankles in Peru.
  • Dress for success– This one is a bit ridiculous. BT suggests covering up when leaving the US and avoiding shirts with slogans or graphics that could offend others.
  • Don’t mention the war–  This one I couldn’t agree with more. It’s best to avoid topics like war, religions and other sensitive issues when traveling.
  • Learn the magic words–  It’s always good to brush up and learn a few key words like hello, goodbye, please and thank you when visiting a country which speaks another language. I find that it breaks the ice and the locals appreciate the gesture. It might even get a few laughs too!

So what do you think of Budget Travel’s tips? Do you have any of your own to share?

Find out more by checking out the full Budget Travel article HERE.

2 thoughts on “How Not To Embarass Yourself In A Foreign Country

    1. It is always interesting to see how the country you are visiting views things differently than how we might. My best example is the American War Museum in Vietnam.

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