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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32
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2answers
8k 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
108 views

Where is it expected to tip housekeeping?

Following on from this question about how it is appropriate to tip housekeeping where it is expected. In what countries/regions is it expected to tip housekeeping? Does this expectation vary depending ...
8
votes
1answer
120 views

What are Samoan roadside stands selling in white styrofoam cups?

I've just spent several days driving around Samoa, Upolu to be specific. There are stands by the side of road where people sell coconuts, greens, and any number of other things, most of which I could ...
3
votes
1answer
226 views

Can I carry a poker chip set to the USA on a student (F1) visa?

As the title says - Can I carry a poker chip set to the USA on a student (F1) visa? I am going there for a masters degree for 2 years if that matters. Thanks.
17
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8answers
5k views

How should I tip for food in a UK pub? At the bar, or at my table?

I'm in a pub in England. I went up to the bar and asked for a plate of fish and chips (to be served to my table) and a pint (handed to me on the spot). My money was collected at the bar. I would like ...
3
votes
0answers
148 views

Why did this particular Czech toilet have no paper? [closed]

A few days ago, I visited a large, modern¹, public toilet at a Czech university which featured no toilet paper in the cabins. This wasn’t simply because the supply was depleted: There was no device ...
15
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3answers
2k views

Etiquette for talking to others on public transport in Turkey

Beyond asking for directions and skipping sensitive topics like religion, politics, regional conflicts, is it considered rude to talk to strangers on Turkish public transport (trains, buses) ? Is ...
7
votes
1answer
116 views

Crossing sea border between Montenegro and Croatia

I'm going to rent sailing yacht in Montenegro and visit some towns on south coast (till Dubrovnik) of Croatia. And then come back to Montenegro. What custom procedures I have to do when leaving ...
10
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3answers
423 views

What do I need to know about traveling to Dubai during Ramadan?

I bought tickets to Dubai for the summer for a small vacation (first week of July). Unfortunately, I did not realize it was during Ramadan. I have been told by a few acquaintances that the laws in ...
23
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2answers
344 views

What to do with the water served with hot chocolate in Italy?

I was in Italy recently, and whenever I ordered hot chocolate, it came with a small shot-glass of water. The water appeared to be normal tap water, and wasn't particularly hot or cold. What is one ...
6
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2answers
266 views

Tipping in USA: do you have to fill in the tip amount or just the post-tip total?

Let's say the bill came to $34.56 and you're paying with a credit card. A 15% tip takes that to a little over $39.74. Can you simply write $40 for the total, circle it, sign, and leave the tip blank? ...
1
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0answers
25 views

Kolkata India - Customs Duty on Desktop and Personal Cosmetics [duplicate]

I have come to the US on 2014 and it has been more than 1 year now and we are planning to visit India (Kolkata). I have the following things with me which I will be taking to India, all are my ...
34
votes
8answers
19k 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 ...
37
votes
8answers
13k 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 ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

What kind of hat to wear for business in India?

I'm soon going to be travelling from the UK to India on business. India being pretty hot, I'll clearly need some kind of a hat to protect my head and face from sunburn when I'm outdoors (I have pale ...
5
votes
3answers
326 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 ?
6
votes
1answer
106 views

Are there public Midsummer's Eve events near Stockholm I could attend?

I will be lucky enough to be in Stockholm on Midsummer's eve this year, and would be willing to travel to nearby areas. Are there public Midsummer's Eve events near Stockholm I could attend?
7
votes
1answer
124 views

Do Mongolians still prefer receiving hard copy photos?

The seventh edition of Lonely Planet Mongolia recommends that people taking photos of Mongolians should offer to repay the favour by printing the photos out and snail mailing it to them. The concept ...
10
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2answers
206 views

Meal times in Ireland

My fiancee and I will be visiting Ireland next October for our honeymoon. We will stay there for a couple of weeks, and we will stay both in cities, like Dublin and Galway, and smaller villages. What ...
0
votes
1answer
135 views

Do you tip in the US for getting a to-go coffee? [duplicate]

I'm not familiar with the tipping system in the US. One day I'm buying a coffee and i am presented with a machine asking me to tip 15%, 18% and 20% and no tip. I feel like I have to tip at least 15% ...
13
votes
5answers
2k 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?
19
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9answers
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
137 views

Same-sex marriage in Paris?

I don't live in France but would like to get married under the Eiffel tower. Is this possible? Can someone provide some information on the rules regarding same-sex marriage in France for foreigners?
10
votes
2answers
284 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 ...
30
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5answers
6k 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 ...
14
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4answers
3k views

How to make change (to get coins from a banknote) in Italy?

So I arrived with my rental in Verona and it turns out that you need coins to pay for parking. What is the best way to exchange bills to coins? At 1€ an hour 14 hours a day I need a bunch - not just ...
13
votes
2answers
308 views

How am I supposed to combine items from Italian restaurant menus?

I'm from the Netherlands, where we would typically have an appetizer (soup or something else) and a main dish (usually some kind of meat, served with fries and vegetables), and when that is finished, ...
10
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
524 views

Crossing roads in Berlin

I am on holiday in Berlin and I have noticed that no pedestrians cross the road until the green man is on, I was wondering if there is some sort of jaywalking rule, also some of the vehicles go ...
9
votes
1answer
937 views

Are there public bath etiquette to be aware of in Japan for foreign women? [duplicate]

I'm in Japan now and it is simply awesome. I'm thinking of visiting a public bath. Is it separate for the two genders? Can I go in with a swim suit (after my mandatory shower, of course) or do I have ...
3
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0answers
220 views

Definitive list of countries where a head scarf is required for woman [closed]

Having travelled extensively throughout my life it has only become recently in adulthood that there are certain customs to which you must abide by when travelling in or through certain countries. The ...
18
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1answer
1k views

Is it rude to refuse to eat from the same plate in parts of the Middle East?

I recently visited parts of North Africa and the Middle East and had to attend several social events. I found the people extremely friendly, hospitable and generous. However I was invited ...
12
votes
4answers
508 views

Is it usual for Japanese sentos to offer cheap overnight stays like their Korean counterparts (jjimjilbangs) do?

Japan and Korea both have similar concepts of communal bath houses. In Japan they are called sentos and in Korea they are called jjimjilbangs. In Korea it is usual that jjimjilbangs offer very cheap ...
14
votes
5answers
955 views

Are there any standard clothing restrictions when visiting mosques?

I know from visiting many catholic churches that many require knees and shoulders to be covered, so dressing appropriately is essential for hassle-free travel. Are there similar rules that might apply ...
8
votes
2answers
240 views

Is there a month when everyone goes on holidays in Balkans?

I'm planning a motorcycle trip around the Balkans/Southeastern Europe (former Yugoslavia/Greece/Albania/Romania/Bulgaria etc.) this year. We're planning on going in June, July, August or September for ...
15
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5answers
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.
21
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2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
163 views

Protecting ears from cold [closed]

I have friends traveling to Western Europe during winter (they come from a warm country), and they wonder how do people actually protect their ears from cold when walking outside (if they do it at ...
108
votes
9answers
8k 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 ...
37
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 ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Why is it forbidden to wear camouflage in some Caribbean Islands?

In December 2013 I've been to Antigua. Before arriving there I read about the island and found a reference to a law that states: Local laws and customs [...] It is an offence for anyone, ...
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, ...
11
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
45
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
51
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9answers
14k views

Do Russians smile at each other?

I'm planning to go to Russia. In my culture, smiling is really common even to strangers. I've heard that Russians don't smile or laugh unless it's something funny or something that makes them happy. ...
35
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3answers
8k views

“No nudity” signs in changing rooms in Doha?

The changing rooms for the gym and pool at the Doha hotel I'm currently in has a sign up saying Please respect local customs, and avoid nudity whilst using this changing room However, it's laid ...
32
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
2k 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
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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 ...