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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108
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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 ...
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 ...
29
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
49
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
19
votes
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 ...
16
votes
4answers
799 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
852 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
554 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) ...
15
votes
3answers
879 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Will I get in trouble if I drink beer in public in Dubai?

As far as I know, Dubai is a Muslim country. And as far as I know, it is forbidden to drink alcohol in Muslim countries. Is this also true for Dubai and tourists? So as a tourist can I drink alcohol ...
14
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
466 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 ...
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 ...
47
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Vomitorium: Only common in the German-speaking world?

The first time I saw something like this in a Swiss Restaurant in Zurich I was really confused. What should it be used for? (photo by TheoPB, available under CC-by-sa) Then I was told that you ...
14
votes
3answers
465 views

References for tipping etiquette in different countries? [closed]

Where can I find information about tipping etiquette in different countries? I'm hoping for a comprehensive database so I don't have to ask about the countries one by one here.
10
votes
1answer
869 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
495 views

Tipping etiquette in different countries [closed]

What are the tipping etiquette in different countries? How much tip should I give to a waiter/waitress?
21
votes
2answers
6k views

Dealing with the 'unclean hand' when travelling (if you're left-handed)

"Among Muslims, the left hand is reserved for bodily hygiene and considered unclean. Thus, the right hand should be used for eating. Shaking hands or handing over an item with one's left hand ...
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. ...
9
votes
2answers
283 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
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
792 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 ...
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 ...
14
votes
5answers
952 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
420 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
255 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 ...