What is normal at home may be unusual or strange in another country, and vice versa. What's different and how to avoid problems.

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1answer
960 views

Square donuts in Dubai

I've been in Dubai some time ago and in a Starbucks I've found square donuts. Can you explain why? Is there a religious rule?
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2answers
3k views

Are there cultures in which walking in the nude in public is not frowned upon?

Although some cultures are less prudent then others I have the impression that walking in the nude in public is frowned upon world wide. Is this a correct assumption? I know that for example going to ...
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2answers
3k views

Are there any cultures in which the “thumbs up” hand gesture is offensive?

In the USA it's common to give a thumbs up to say "Yes, this is good" or "Thanks" or convey another appropriate positive meaning. Are there cultures in which the "thumbs up" gesture a) would not be ...
7
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3answers
174 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 ...
9
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1answer
404 views

Swimwear customs on Côte d'Azur?

I will travel to Porquerolles on Côte d'Azur in France. I struggle about swimwear: I use to wear speedo-style swimwear and I don't really like shorts. However, I haven't been to a beach for ages, so I ...
6
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1answer
86 views

Dominican Republic accepted currency and tipping

We are flying from Toronto, Canada to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. My question is regarding the currency that is accepted in DR. Resorts mainly, gift shops, on-resort grocery store, and tipping, ...
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2answers
60 views

Entering the EU with a packaged netbook, duty and taxes

How much do the customs charge for entering the EU with a packaged and sealed netbook? (maybe it will be a smartphone). Am I better off limiting the price to a certain threshold? (when it gets ...
7
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2answers
872 views

Does the traditional Arabic greeting have religous meaning?

There is a greeting I have often heard among Muslims. (Thanks to Geeo in the comments for helping me find the "correct" spelling of the phrase): As-salamu alaykum To which there is a ...
5
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1answer
57 views

What options are available for hunting feral boar on Hawaii?

I am visiting Kauai shortly and am interested in boar hunting while there. So far I have applied for my Hunter's Education Exemption and have mapped several locations that allow for bow hunting. ...
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9answers
13k views

Do Russians smile at each other?

I'm planning to go to Russia. For my culture smiling is really common even to strangers. And I heard that Russians don't smile or laugh unless it's something funny or something that make them happy. ...
2
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1answer
79 views

How to learn about funeral customs while traveling in Australia

Is there a way one could learn about the local funeral customs (irrespective of the religion of the deceased) while traveling through a country ? In NT, Australia how could one go about learning the ...
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0answers
109 views

Are there countries where I shouldn't offer to shake hands with people of the opposite sex? [closed]

I've known for a while that some people avoid shaking hands with people of the opposite sex. I don't know whether it's purely based on religion, nationality, or whether personal preference also plays ...
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3answers
759 views

When to hug, kiss, shake hands, or even “fist bump” in Europe?

I have to ask this because I'm Asian and we don't do any of these things there. I have been living in the UK and Germany for a while and I still can't understand how to do all of that in Europe. If I ...
13
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1answer
372 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. ...
8
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1answer
137 views

“Cheek kissing” between men in Mongolia

This afternoon in Ulaanbaatar I was sitting in a coffee shop in a shopping mall trying to make the best of the flaky Wi-Fi there. A local guy who was obviously slightly drunk arrived and joined my ...
9
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2answers
212 views

What is a good gift for hospitality in Nepal

I am planning an extended Motorbike tour through Nepal and India and was wondering what a good token of appreciation would be .. besides money .. to give to people inviting me for a meal or giving me ...
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4answers
354 views

Meeting other people while traveling

I tried searching on here, but didn't find any questions on this. How does one meet people while traveling alone? I would understand meeting people in a hostel (assuming they spoke the same language) ...
2
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1answer
80 views

Indian independence day greetings [closed]

What's the proper greeting for the Indian independance day? This question is motivated by the fact that we have "happy new years", "merry christmas", and "meaningful thanksgivings".
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4answers
1k views

Will wearing a bright colored jacket signal that I am a tourist?

Rick Steve's recommends wearing neutral colors. As such, I've opted to bring a lot of blacks and greys on my trip this winter. However, my rain jacket is a BRIGHT green -- it's brighter than the ...
6
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3answers
810 views

Is it rude to ask for toilet paper in Bangladesh?

I have read this post : Stuck without toilet paper while travelling - what is the best approach? Does not quite answer my question. Are toilet papers common in hotels in Dhaka ? It seems too off to ...
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2answers
299 views

Is there animosity between people from northern and southern Italy? [closed]

In an episode of "The Sopranos", the protagonists and his entourage (Italian Americans from Napoli and Sicily) react strongly to examples of Italian achievement which happen to originate from northern ...
6
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1answer
175 views

How to stay comfortable in beds found in American hotels?

I am currently in California for a long business trip. It is surprising how often I wake up here with my feet going past the end of the bed. The double European beds are about the same size as Queen ...
6
votes
4answers
697 views

Is cheek kissing common in the US?

I am French and I was told American people usually just say hi, shake hands or sometimes hug if they know well each others. I have been living in California for the last few months and I noticed that ...
11
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5answers
993 views

Can I swim in Iran with my girlfriend in bikini in the Caspian Sea?

Is it possible if she is not Iranian to swim in her swimsuit or bikini in the sea? She is not from Iran, she is European as me. Is there some "police" that watches how people dress on the beach?
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5answers
1k views

OK we are all adults here, so really, how on earth should I live without bidet?

This is the part four in the interesting series: "OK we are all X here, so really". You can find the past episodes here: OK we're all adults here, so really, how on earth should I use a squat ...
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8answers
2k views

Are there any man-only places in the world?

I know it is forbidden to enter to Muslim's mosques/shrines without proper Islamic cover or having your shoes during walking through temples/tombs/shrines in India and some other Hindu countries or ...
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2answers
468 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 ...
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6answers
5k 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 ...
11
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2answers
134 views

How do I find out which holidays will disrupt my travel and by how much?

I'm sure it has happened to many of us: You travel to a country with a different culture, and suddenly, you find yourself in front of closed restaurant/shop/museum/etc doors (or, alternatively, you ...
4
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2answers
481 views

How to experience Carnival (Karneval) in Germany?

I'll be in Germany during the Carnival/Karneval time. Where would be the best place to go to experience Karneval in Germany, and what can I expect?
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3answers
2k views

Saving leftovers from restaurants in Paris

Doggy bags for saving leftovers in restaurants are extremely common in the USA, especially as portions sizes are usually too large to consume in one meal. But I have read in various forums that it ...
14
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5answers
1k views

Tipping in Poland: saying “thank you” when the waiter collects your money

I read that while tipping in Poland is standard, you should not say "thank you" to the waiter when he takes the cash if you are expecting change. Otherwise, he will assume that the amount overpaid is ...
13
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3answers
736 views

What should you do if you're really broke in a country where tipping is customary?

Say you're travelling on a shoestring budget, say at the end of a long trip where you've spent almost all your money but still have time before your flight home. Sometimes people you meet travelling ...
6
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1answer
157 views

Are patrons expected to tip at restaurants in Paraguay?

So I finish my meal at a restaurant in Asunción, and I'm getting ready to pay when I notice at the top of my receipt it says, "propina no incluida" ("tip not included"). I thought tipping was not ...
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3answers
599 views

How much to haggle for a hotel room in India?

I need to book a hotel in Delhi, India for mid-November. Someone suggested to me that I should haggle over the price for the room. Is it considered acceptable to haggle over hotel room prices in ...
16
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4answers
465 views

Does one tip in the US/Canada for bad service?

In Aus/NZ you don't tip, it's not generally part of the culture. In the US/Canada you seem to tip for almost everything, but it's meant to be for a good job. However I've also found some workers ...
12
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2answers
734 views

How to find a sauna/bathhouse in Korea that allows customers with tattoos?

Apparently here in Korea there is a similar common rule to in Japan forbidding people with tattoos from using public bath houses. I was telling a couple of traveller friends in my hostel here about ...
4
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1answer
382 views

Male nerd here, how on earth can I listen to an “otohime” / “sound princess”?

The other day, I read about "otohime", also known as "sound princess": Many Japanese women are embarrassed at the thought of being heard by others during urination (see paruresis). To cover the ...
8
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1answer
553 views

What are the polite ways to draw attention of a waiter around the world?

I would usually call the waiter by trying to catch his eye or raising my hand eventually. But I suppose there are other customs depending on the region of the world. What are those? Is snapping ones ...
5
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1answer
393 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 ...
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5answers
2k views

How to avoid suspicious looks when you are in the Western side of the world

Being an Arab with Arabian looks, after September 11 things have changed dramatically when Arabs or people with similar looks (Indians, Pakistanis, Turkish, Kurdish, Iranians...etc) go to the west ...
8
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2answers
2k views

How to use Turkish toilet tap?

I was in Turkey a while ago, and encountered sit toilets with taps (edit: taps controlling a nozzle a wee way below a normal western sit-toilet rim, making a little fountain from the back to the front ...
10
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1answer
458 views

Exchanging business cards in Japan

In Hong Kong (and I believe other parts of China as well), one offers his business card by holding it with both hands with the text unobscured and oriented so that the other person can read it. After ...
19
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2answers
706 views

If you go to the pool and find all the sunbeds have towels on and you have nowhere to sit, what do you do?

When I've been staying in a hotels in Spain I often go down to the pool in the morning and find that there are no sunbeds to sit on because people have reserved them with towels. I'm never 100% if a ...
3
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1answer
542 views

Why do the Japanese wear masks like Surgeons in Tokyo? [closed]

In Japan, Tokyo it is common to see Japanese people walking around with masks like the kind Surgeons wear during surgeries. Why do the Japanese wear masks like Surgeons in Tokyo?
16
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3answers
685 views

In which cultural regions is taking pictures of people considered offensive?

I have the impression that in Muslim countries taking pictures of people is often not welcome. On the other hand there are other countries where people really enjoy it (and also sometimes expect some ...
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3answers
2k views

OK we're all nerds here, so really, how on earth should I use a Japanese toilet?

OK so for anyone who's traveled to Japan you know what I'm talking about. They're devices that are a textbook example of excessive featuritis. But I want to use something other than the flush knob ...
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2answers
7k views

Can solo travelers go to a mixed gender onsen?

I'm planning on going to a mixed gender onsen (konyoku), and one place suggested to me in Nyuto onsen village, Tohoku, has a male only section, a female only section, and a mixed section. If I'm by ...
5
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3answers
289 views

Visiting villages in Kerala

How do I visit and spend a couple of nights in non-touristy villages in Kerala between Kochi, Alappuzha and Kollam? Do I just hire a boat and ask them to take me to such a village? Could you ...
10
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1answer
200 views

In Costa Rica - Invite Strangers to Dinner?

We are traveling in rural, southwest Costa Rica. We were walking down the road and began talking to two local guys in their 20s. They offered to give us surfing lessons, and eventually said "you can ...