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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11
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6answers
7k views

Is it a sign of being gay if a male wears a white trousers in the UK?

Long story short, we were a group of people on a short visit to London, one of us (a male) wore white jeans, then an European woman from the group told him that it is a sign of being gay to wear white ...
9
votes
2answers
130 views

Is there a cultural belief in Brazil or Spain that frowns upon brushing one's teeth / spitting in the kitchen sink?

I was recently told by my Brazilian roommate not to brush my teeth in the sink (I wasn't, I just spit in it) because of cultural reasons. Is there a cultural norm in Brazil / Portugal where this ...
35
votes
5answers
12k views

What is the purpose of this cloth in hotel?

What is the purpose of the cloth across the bed? I see it at many hotels and it does not seem to serve any purpose other than make it look nice. Any idea what it can be used for? Ps. The purplish ...
55
votes
10answers
11k views

Why are Chinese mountains scaled by steps? (instead of winding paths)

Question: Why are Chinese mountains mostly scaled by steps/stairs instead of winded paths? Is there something traditional / practical / religious / spiritual about it that I fail to see? When hiking ...
16
votes
1answer
148 views

Where in Sweden can I celebrate midsommar with the locals?

I live in Copenhagen and I would like to attend a midsommar celebration in Sweden on the 24th. Do you have any suggestion on where to go? Ideally, it should be in a small place, reachable using public ...
10
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0answers
47 views

Is it ok for men to offer to shake hands with women in Mongolia?

"Culture Smart: Mongolia" (page 86) says that shaking hands has "become usual between men, and with some women". However, no other guides to Mongolian etiquette I could find mention any gender issues ...
16
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7answers
3k views

How do I safely navigate a two-lane roundabout?

In a two-lane roundabout, drivers may be expected to use the outer lane for a ΒΌ circle (right turn in right traffic) and the inner lane in all other circumstances. Using the inner lane requires: ...
6
votes
2answers
153 views

Trying local Turkish Cuisine in Istanbul

I'll be going to Istanbul in a few days. This is a travel I do because of my job (and no - I'm not involved in any of the jobs listed here). As in this case, I often get ready at the last minute and ...
5
votes
1answer
21 views

What should I expect when traveling in China during their Mid-August holiday?

I am trying to organize a short trip in China, probably a few days in Beijing. I found cheap tickets but the dates include the Chinese Mid-August national holiday (lunar calendar August, so from 09/...
6
votes
1answer
190 views

Why do Japanese ATMs dispense money stacked differently to those in the west? [closed]

I recently went to Japan (specifically Osaka and a few other places around Kansai) for the first time in my life, and had an amazing time. One of the many cultural differences I noticed was that ...
38
votes
1answer
3k views

What's the proper etiquette for visiting the German Biergartens?

I passed through Munich last year and stopped at one of the biergartens. Well I tried. It was absolutely packed, it took forever to find a seat. At least one I could sit at. Seems like there's lots of ...
18
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4answers
2k views

What was the meaning of this Indian gesture/greeting?

While on a business trip to India last week I saw two different gestures of greeting. Most people greeted me with the traditional Namaste greeting, with the hands held together, as below. However, ...
20
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10answers
8k views

As we are all adults here, how do I politely indicate that I need the toilet?

I am from an area where people just say they need the loo to pee or poo. In formal situations, when meeting just strangers, we are a bit less open and call it 'need the toilet' but I know that in ...
10
votes
1answer
145 views

What to wear in Russia

What are appropriate clothing for a tourist in Russia? Specifically I mean Moscow and St Petersburg in summer. Of course locals might wear something different than tourists. Would T-shirt and shorts (...
19
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4answers
6k views

Why has this dress been met with surprise at the Oktoberfest in Munich?

We are Brazilians and we have been in Oktoberfest, so my wife made a dress here in Brazil trying to do something close to the Dirndl dress, but during the entire party the people looked a lot to her ...
8
votes
0answers
107 views

Does Siesta time in Panama affect business travelers?

I haven't been to Panama for quite some time and now there's a chance I may need to spend a few days there to service a software client. I remember that a large portion of the afternoon is dedicated ...
12
votes
1answer
123 views

Finding Undisclosed Restaurants on the Adriatic Coast

Along the Adriatic coast there are some bizarre looking fishing piers called 'Trabocchi'. Some of these are apparently several hundred years old. San Vito Chietino, for example is mentioned in the ...
32
votes
3answers
3k views

Stuck without toilet paper while travelling - what is the best approach?

Well, this has happened to everyone at some point - you find out there is no toilet paper just after you need it the most. Usually it's not a big deal, even in public toilet room you can wait until ...
41
votes
9answers
26k views

How to adapt to Western Toilets from Indian-style toilets?

I am an Indian and have been using Indian style toilets for all my life, Now that I have a knee injury, I am forced to go to Western Style toilets. I find it really hard to empty my bowels in western ...
26
votes
5answers
12k views

Why are prices published without tax in the US?

On a recent trip to San Francisco it was always a surprise to see what to pay in stores. It was never as simple as just adding all the published prizes. There was always a surplus of taxes. Sometimes ...
6
votes
1answer
197 views

Parts of China that aren't dominated by Han Chinese that are easy for foreigners to access

I've heard that the Tibetan area is harder for foreigners to visit due to government restrictions, and get the impression that it is increasingly controlled by Han Chinese. Are there any parts of ...
106
votes
9answers
19k views

When and why do people clap/applause after a plane lands?

On a recent flight to Romania, the whole flight erupted with applause once we'd landed. This wasn't a "difficult" flight - no turbulence, delays, or hijackings. Just a bog standard flight. On the ...
17
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2answers
2k views

Travelling to Latin America to take hallucinogenic drugs: how does one do it safely?

Prompted by this... Thousands of international backpackers are flocking to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest to drink ayahuasca tea, a plant mixture made by shamans and taken as part of a ...
1
vote
0answers
151 views

Are there any countries with a specific dress code for underwear? [closed]

I am aware that different places got different dress codes. This is all known and can be easily found. However, when travelling in the past and packing my clothes, I kept wondering if there's ...
43
votes
5answers
3k views

How can non-Caucasians avoid suspicious looks when traveling in the West?

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 ...
21
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6answers
1k views

Attire in Iran for male travelers

Are there any attire requirements for male travelers in Iran? There are many reports and advises that women should dress conservatively and we have a related question about headwear for women. But ...
125
votes
9answers
24k views

OK, we are all adults here, so what is a bidet for and how do I use it?

Confession time: I am from one of these barbaric countries where the use of the bidet is not widespread. So I have no idea... Question 1: What is the bidet good for? Question 2: How do I use it? ...
30
votes
3answers
2k views

Breast feeding in Iran

We are considering a trip to Iran with a 5-month old. What is the local attitude to breast-feeding in public places? Is it legal? Are there any severe consequences? Do you need to use some special ...
14
votes
8answers
4k views

How do you use a traditional hot-air hand dryer so your hands are actually dry afterwards? [closed]

In many locations around the world, you can see dryers like this1: These dryers are being phased out in favor of air-jet dryers that involve inserting your hand in an opening. However, many ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Photography and Running in the Christiania Neighbourhood of Copenhagen

Christiania is a autonomous enclave situated in a former military base in Copenhagen. At its entrance there is a sign which is presumably intended for tourists... Source: personal collection The ...
14
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5answers
3k 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?
8
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4answers
698 views

Tipping in Vietnam

I will be going to Vietnam next year for tourism. I would like to not offend locals so I was wondering if someone could tell me what the policy for tipping is over there ?
11
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2answers
271 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
172 views

In which city in Europe would a first-time cross-dresser face the lowest risk of harassment?

What would be the safest, most friendly city to go out as cross-dresser? Specifically, in Europe? It is not easy to come out, and I have been considering it for a while. I want to try it somewhere, ...
12
votes
1answer
474 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 ...
128
votes
9answers
10k views

Tactics to avoid getting harassed by corrupt police?

In Uzbekistan I was stopped, searched and questioned six times in one day. At the border with Tajikistan, one official tried hiding my paperwork to elicit something from me. In Kyrgyzstan, I was ...
0
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0answers
57 views

No last name in Indian passport [duplicate]

As I don't have a last name , what should I fill in the last name column while applying for Dubai visa ?
5
votes
3answers
199 views

What should someone from the US know when driving in Italy?

For instance, I know one should not turn on red lights, which is different from US/Mass. rules. What are other things which can confuse a driver from US while driving in Italy? More generally, are ...
3
votes
1answer
185 views

Visiting Japan, what foreign proofs of ID are acceptable (for non-official purposes)?

Possibly related to this question about carrying passports everywhere. In preparation for my first trip to Japan, I have my UK passport, which is of course kept on hand at all times when I'm ...
9
votes
2answers
181 views

How to avoid getting hassled in Indonesia?

Hassling is happening in quite often in Indonesia. Although not as tough as in other countries (i.e. Morocco), it can get on your nerves after a while. Does anybody have tips on avoiding getting ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Knife and fork handed back for next course; customary in France?

Recently, whilst dining in France I have noticed a custom that seems strange to me. Typically in the UK I will expect a clean knife and fork for my main course after finishing my starter. However, ...
33
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...
53
votes
1answer
6k views

Male using change tables in female restrooms in Japan

Next month I'll be traveling to Japan with my wife and two children. Our youngest (1yo) is still in diapers. I read a few guides about traveling in Japan, and saw mention that change tables are ...
5
votes
1answer
274 views

Men in thongs on mediterranean beaches?

So I am travelling in a few weeks to Barcelona, Cote D'azur, and to Genoa Italia and was wondering if men wear thongs on these beaches. I want to try it personally but am unsure how taboo it would be. ...
10
votes
1answer
535 views

How to verify paid restrooms in EU

I saw Long road trips in Iceland - where to relieve ourselves? and it reminded me of my first trip overseas. I'm American, the 'paying for restroom' principle is foreign to me. When I was in Rome I ...
4
votes
1answer
40 views

Thailand customs and round-trip to Hong Kong

I'm going to travel to Thailand for about a month. Inbound and outbound flights are through BKK. What I want to do is a round-trip to Hong Kong for a shopping before leave Thailand. In particular I'...
6
votes
2answers
166 views

How much to tip in Mumbai or India general?

How much money should I give as a tip to a hotel boy in Mumbai / India, for carrying my luggage or to reception girl or restaurant waiter, for being generally nice and helpful? What amount is best to ...
0
votes
2answers
104 views

L/100 km or km/L? which one is used? I am planning travel in Mexico & Colombia by car [closed]

In America we say the fuel economy of car in miles/gallon. I know in k countries people use liters/100 km. Some countries use km/liter. My question is: Which format is used in Mexico, Colombia, and ...
54
votes
6answers
14k views

How to use sink with separate hot/cold taps?

I just traveled to Ireland. I was amazed to find that water sinks (at home, restaurants and public) have separate taps for hot and cold water. If you use only the cold water, your hands freeze. If ...
9
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...