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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

30
votes
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 ...
20
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I get people to speak the local language to me?

I went to Paris 2 years ago. When I was there, I was learning the language by talking and listening to the local people. But, while I was trying to speak French with them, they would speak English to ...
7
votes
2answers
904 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 ...
30
votes
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 ...
15
votes
4answers
5k views

Are women required to wear skirts to get into some tourist sites?

There is mention of not wearing short skirts; does that mean skirts are required for women when wanting to visit places like churches, the Vatican, etc.
2
votes
3answers
161 views

Dress code for tech business training in California [closed]

I am a male software engineer that works for a small technology firm. Next week (mid October) I will be heading to California (Bay area) to train on a software product we use in our company and to ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

What game can I eat in South Africa?

When I was in South Africa, I wanted to try some game meat but when I asked people what I could have I got replies with answers like 'Game' or 'you know Game Kudu, Zebra etc' or was just shown the ...
43
votes
6answers
8k 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 ...
82
votes
9answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
216 views

Is researching dating tips for a specific country worthwhile, useless or counterproductive?

I'm planning on visiting Japan for two weeks. While dating isn't the purpose of my trip, I hope to socialize a bit with people my age, including some après-ski, and wouldn't mind if it resulted in ...
2
votes
1answer
63 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
187 views

How to pass customs in time in case of a flight delay

I'm a non-US citizen flying to the US with a changing time between flights of 1:50 in Atlanta. Since this is rather on the short line according to this answer, I was wondering what to do in case of a ...
0
votes
1answer
525 views

Which large countries use 12-hour time format (AM/PM)? [closed]

Odd question: Which (large) countries uses/prefers 12-hour time format (AM/PM)? I understand that US, UK, Canada, Australia mostly use 12-hour (though also 24-hour in some cases). But there must be ...
10
votes
1answer
988 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?
14
votes
3answers
5k views

What are the rules surounding alcohol in Morocco

I will be in Morocco for New Year's: what are the rules surrounding alcohol? Firstly is alcohol even available? If so do I need a permit or is it just a case of showing your passport at the store? ...
6
votes
1answer
233 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, ...
12
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
30
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
317 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
votes
1answer
421 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
64 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. ...
6
votes
3answers
854 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
61 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 ...
26
votes
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 ...
12
votes
6answers
985 views

Avoiding or minimising altitude sickness?

From my personal anecdotal experience, I've seen first-hand some horror stories with altitude sickness. I will always tell people now to acclimatise, drink fluids, and follow the local tricks like ...
49
votes
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. ...
10
votes
4answers
418 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
votes
1answer
84 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 ...
14
votes
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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
902 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
137 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
165 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
581 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. ...
11
votes
5answers
1k 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?
10
votes
3answers
688 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
315 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 ...
30
votes
7answers
14k views

Can I eat a beef burger in India?

I always heard that cows are holy in India. So I assumed that you can't eat any meat made of cows in India. But recently a friend told me, that it depends on the region. Not everywhere in India cows ...
14
votes
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 ...
20
votes
2answers
861 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 ...
42
votes
4answers
6k views

I have a tattoo. Can I visit a public swimming pool in Japan?

A friend of mine is currently traveling in Japan. She has a small tattoo on her neck. Now she wanted to visit a public swimming pool but was denied entry. It was difficult to understand the reason ...
11
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
85 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".
8
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
201 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
347 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
596 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 ...
39
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...