Questions about customary practices

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100
votes
21answers
19k views

How can I deal with people asking to switch seats with me on a plane?

I'm sixteen years old, and I have mild claustrophobia so I always travel in the aisle seat. However, I'm constantly asked (not politely) by others to change seats with them. Since I usually travel ...
83
votes
18answers
12k views

Is it rude to ask if the food contains pork or alcohol?

Some years ago, I was invited to a friend's place. The home-cooked food contained alcohol, and I don't eat or drink anything that contains alcohol (religious reasons). I was shy enough to eat it to ...
75
votes
4answers
10k views

What is a polite way to tell a Scottish person that I am struggling to understand his/her accent?

I am flying to Glasgow tomorrow. English isn't my mother tongue. In spite of living in London for the last 10 years, I still struggle with understanding different accents. My main concern about the ...
74
votes
2answers
9k views

Do flight attendants prefer I press the button or walk to the back? (Long-haul flights)

I fly Abu Dhabi - Amsterdam - Portland, OR and back frequently. Each leg is about 8 to 10 hours. For most people, it is their one 'long flight,' and are sleeping, but for me, because I have two of ...
68
votes
8answers
20k views

Is it rude to give up your seat in Japan?

I heard that in Japan it may be considered rude to give up your seat for someone else while you are on a train or bus, because it would make the other person feel in debt with you. Is this true? (Of ...
52
votes
6answers
17k views

Japanese etiquette: Most common (and offensive) mistakes?

I am aware that Japan has many unwritten rules of etiquette. What are some of the most common (and offensive) breaches of etiquette made by visitors? On the flip side, what behaviors show respect ...
51
votes
8answers
11k views

What is wrong with eating while walking in Japan? It doesn't seem to be an issue in other Asian countries

I have seen on many etiquette questions about Japan that this is a no no, but I can't seem to find what the reason for this is. I know that in countries like Taiwan or China it doesn't seem to be an ...
30
votes
4answers
7k views

Is it rude to talk on a mobile phone for the whole journey, when travelling alone in a London black taxi?

I had an uncanny feeling that it was rude of me to talk on a mobile phone for the whole journey, while travelling alone in a London black taxi. Is it the etiquette to have a conversation with the ...
28
votes
7answers
19k views

How much cash am I supposed to prepay at gas station in the US?

In the US (and probably Canada as well), it is possible to pay at a gas station either with a credit card often with a fee (in the US) or cash. If I pay cash, gas stations often require to prepay for ...
26
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it OK to play the piano housed in the lobbies of hotels?

I travel a lot and often find grand pianos in lobbies of hotels. Is it appropriate to just sit down and play them for a while (FWIW, I am good and play slow classical music. My playing will not ruin ...
23
votes
4answers
5k views

Etiquette: Sex In Hotel Beds

What etiquette is involved for copulation in Hotel (not motel) beds? Doesn't seem to be a lot of info about this around.
22
votes
4answers
9k views

Is it rude to tell the ice cream man in Istanbul not to mess with me?

I have never been to Istanbul but I am planning to go there with the kids. A friend of mine showed me yesterday a video of him buying ice cream from a traditional ice cream shop in Istanbul. He ...
21
votes
4answers
6k views

What does a couchsurfing host expect from their guests?

Just that. I've never done couch-surfing and I'd like to start couch-surfing in my next trip, but I don't know what the host "expects". Do I have to take something in exchange for his/her offer? Or is ...
19
votes
2answers
9k views

Should I tip my Airbnb host?

I am about to embark on my first Airbnb experience for a little over a week. I was wondering if it is customary or expected to tip the host upon departure or perhaps along the way, as it seems like ...
19
votes
4answers
9k views

How long is a typical CouchSurfing stay?

When you are staying with a CouchSurfing host, what is a typical stay duration? Is CS intended for short (1- or 2-night) trips, or is it not unusual to stay for a whole week or longer? If I am ...
18
votes
1answer
11k views

What is proper etiquette on bringing one night stands to a hotel room?

somewhat related to "Can a hotel kick you out if you let an unregistered guest share a room with you?": In the, alas, completely hypothetical scenario where I'm out in a foreign town and just happen ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

How to recognise/thank great cabin crew?

Those of us who fly a lot will know that there is a bit of a variety in cabin crew. Some (sadly more common on certain airlines) do the very bare minimum to ensure a safe flight, but nothing more. ...
17
votes
7answers
6k views

How do I avoid conversation with strangers while traveling?

Personally I hate traveling not just because I hate going to a new city but because of seeing strangers who are watching and trying to start conversation with me. Well talking with someone is not a ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

Rideshare etiquette (Lyft, Uber, etc)

I used Lyft for the first time last week, and realized I don't know the proper etiquette, if there is any. With a taxi, it's common that the driver comes around, opens the trunk, takes your luggage, ...
15
votes
8answers
5k views

How to hide your bodily odors after a long flight?

Of course I could fly first class on an airline that provide on-board showers. Since I lack the funds, that is not an option for me. The scenario is as follows: Your plane leaves in the evening. ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

Tipping in Cuba as a Canadian

I will go to Cuba in the following days and I am not sure how to tip. On Tripadvisor It says: Do not tip with coins of your own currency, because foreign coins can not be exchanged in any country ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the proper etiquette at Japanese onsen?

Japan is a volcanically active country which means it has a plethora of onsen (hot springs) all around the country. Visiting these onsen is supposed to be a popular vacation destination for the ...
14
votes
1answer
456 views

Presents for Japanese couchsurfer hosts

I was evaluating doing couchsurfing during my next trip in Japan and this question: What does a couchsurfing host expect from their guests? makes me want to ask if there is a sort of "etiquette" I ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Chinese etiquette: Most common mistakes

My question is inspired by this one: Japanese etiquette: Most common (and offensive) mistakes? Which made me think about my upcoming trip to China. As a Dutch citizen, I have experienced a lot that ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

In Asian restaurants and airlines is it correct etiquette to use the hot towel on my face?

In many Asian restaurants both inside and outside Asia, and also on some Asian airlines such as Korean and JAL if I recall correctly, hot cloth towels are given out to all passengers before each meal. ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Should you use English or (possibly broken) Japanese in Japan?

So I'm going to Japan next month with friends, and I'm the only one speaking reasonably good Japanese. However, I am really nervous about how to approach people when, say, buying train tickets and ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it normal/expected to tip taxi drivers in the UK?

I've lived in the UK all my life, but since I have got relatively few shared taxis in my life, I don't have that much experience of what the social norms are for tipping. I almost always tip roughly ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

What should I expect when I stay in a hotel?

I plan to stay in a hotel in Los Angeles, CA by myself for a few weeks in the near future. Is there anything important I should know about staying at a hotel? Things that I have considered but I'm ...
11
votes
1answer
542 views

Tipping Etiquette for NYC Taxis

I'm going to New York City soon for business, and I will probably be using taxis frequently to get around. Is there a certain expected tipping percentage for NYC cab drivers?
11
votes
2answers
201 views

Is it rude to pay tips in Iran?

One of my friends, asked me if he could tip the waiter after we had a delicious Kebab :) for dinner, and I was just puzzled since I didn't know the answer. It's totally rare and not common at all to ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Etiquette of “spitting out” bones etc in China

In China you regularly see restaurant patrons spit out bones and other bits from their soup etc straight onto the table, and you can also read in various places online that this is OK. But is it ...
11
votes
1answer
365 views

Gift giving in Korea: Do I have to wrap snacks?

I just arrived on Seoul and brought some packets of dried mangoes for my hosts. I forgot to wrap them however. I've read that Koreans are particular about their gifts being wrapped but these gifts ...
11
votes
1answer
315 views

Gift-giving rules for Japanese dinner host

I'm invited by a Japanese family for a home cooked dinner at their house. I'm wondering, given the Japanese gift-giving culture, what is appropriate to bring with me in this case and if it's any ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Can my wife and I swap seats in different classes during a flight?

Consider the following situation. My wife and I are flying together. She is flying SFO-EWR-BOM and I am flying DEN-EWR-BOM. Both on United, with the same EWR-BOM flight, but with different ...
10
votes
1answer
404 views

Couchsurfing hosting etiquette, length?

My question is regarding hosting, and how to deal with people who want to stay 5 or more days. I've hosted a few times now, but pretty specifically only accepted people who want to stay for 1-2 ...
9
votes
6answers
12k views

How to prevent the passenger in front of you from reclining without notice?

I can totally understand someone reclining his seat on a long-distance flight. On a short hop, I don’t have any sympathy for anyone using his “right” to recline his seat. The seat pitch on short ...
9
votes
2answers
661 views

How can I respectfully greet in Thailand?

I am in Thailand now, and this morning I tried to shake hands with our guide, but although she shaked my hand, it seems like this is not the way it should be done here. What is the best way to greet ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

How do I avoid snoring when sharing a room in a hostel or lodge?

I snore and I know it. This causes quite some discomfort when I need to share a room with others. I usually try to stay awake until everybody else seems to be sleeping. The pokes or the sudden shaking ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the correct way to pay in a restaurant when you get the check in a book?

In German restaurants (at least the less fancy ones) the waiter usually brings you the check and immediately collects the money. In other European countries (e.g. France, Italy, Belgium), the waiter ...
9
votes
2answers
457 views

When should I bow in Taiwan?

Under what circumstances, if any, should I bow while I'm in Taiwan? I know that Taiwan is now a separate country from Japan, and has its own customs and etiquette, but I think I've seen staff bow to ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Taking photos in Japan

I plan on taking photos of everywhere I go in Japan and am wondering if there are certain places, e.g. airports or possibly temples, where photos are not to be taken. A link to online resources would ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Should I cover up my tattoo when visiting the Middle East?

I stumbled upon a question on blending in in Egypt, in which one user warns that Egyptians regard tattooed people as criminals or foreigners. How big of a problem will tattoos be for a regular ...
9
votes
1answer
96 views

Etiquette for visiting a Hong Kong family in mourning

My girlfriend whose family hails from Hong Kong has recently lost her grandfather, and her family is in a period of mourning. Being an "outsider" of the family, how should I act/behave when visiting ...
9
votes
1answer
296 views

Are there any countries where red clothing is frowned upon?

In yesterday's paper it's been reported that our city mayor will be travelling to a number of cities and coutries around the world in an effort to build links between us and the places he visits. He ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Is tipping expected in Indonesia?

I noticed that my taxi driver stood around expectantly for a few moments after dropping me off from the airport; giving him 20k Rupiah seemed to satisfy him, but I was pretty much shooting from the ...
8
votes
1answer
404 views

Is it considered “cheap” to not eat dinner at your ryokan?

I'm booking accommodation near Izu Inatori for the dontsuku matsuri (don't google it at work!) and I'm considering whether to book dinner at my ryokan. I suspect that I'd rather be able to eat out so ...
7
votes
1answer
218 views

Japanese ryokan with a baby of 20 month

I am travelling with a baby of 20 months. Is there a specific etiquette to respect when staying at a Japanese traditional ryokan?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How difficult is it to eat and drink during ramadan in Thailand and Malaysia?

Next month I'll visit Thailand and (maybe) Malaysia. From 19th july to 20th august muslim countries celebrate the ramadan. When we were in Egypt, we didn't perceive that we were in ramadan, but in ...
6
votes
1answer
593 views

Japanese train etiquette: Is it acceptable to take a baby in the Shinkansen Green Car?

The green carriage is of course first class. This would be our first preference with our 5 month old baby in lap, because of the presumably larger toilets for changing and whatnot. However, the baby ...
6
votes
1answer
81 views

How to tip in Israel?

What's the proper etiquette for tipping in taxis, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, etc.? See equivalent question for the US. I've heard many different opinions online and during my travels, so I'm a ...