256
votes
13answers
55k views

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

OK so for anyone that's travelled beyond North America and Western Europe you know what I'm talking about. Left: Romania, last year. Right: Turkey, last night. They start popping up in the Balkans ...
215
votes
6answers
25k views

How do you know if Americans genuinely/literally mean what they say?

I have come across a few situations when an American will say something like "We should have lunch some time" or "Let's have lunch some time." Or "you should come down to visit me in D.C. (or Miami or ...
197
votes
8answers
59k views

How to intentionally get denied entry to the US, without getting into trouble?

I have a multiple entry visitors visa for five years. I went to USA last year and lived there for one year with my husband (6 months entry and other 6 months of extension). I left USA legally. Now my ...
187
votes
3answers
98k views

Why are airline passengers asked to lift up window shades during takeoff and landing?

I have always wondered why the windows shades have to be raised during take off and landing. I can't think of any safety issues by having a closed window.
127
votes
9answers
13k views

How to avoid drinking vodka?

This summer, I spent some time in Moscow and St. Petersburg; I also visited a friend and his family. Their custom was to drink a lot of vodka during the meal. We, the guests, also had to drink some ...
123
votes
4answers
20k views

I don't know my nationality. How can I visit Denmark?

I was born in a Thailand refugee camp to Vietnamese parents, but quickly as an infant, they immigrated to Denmark. We lived there for 10-11 years and then moved to the U.S. I am a green card holder of ...
122
votes
4answers
14k views

Immigration officer that stopped me at the airport is texting me. What do I do?

Yesterday my cousin arrived to Chicago from Mexico, she is visiting family there to spend the holidays, this is not the first time she visits. She was stopped by immigration, because they thought it ...
121
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 ...
112
votes
19answers
12k views

When traveling to a country with a different currency, how should you take your money?

Recently my wife and I traveled to Italy and before we left we got about 85% of our money in travelers checks and the other 15% we carried on in cash. When we arrived there, no one would take our ...
104
votes
13answers
14k views

Prohibited item forgotten in hand luggage: what to do with it?

I guess it happens quite frequently: you have already checked in, and at the security check you realize that you have in your backpack your grandmother's Klingon bat'leth blade, an item that has been ...
101
votes
7answers
9k views

Passing through airport security with autism

I am a young adult with autism (Asperger's to be precise). While there are many resources on how to travel with kids with autism, resources on how to do so if you have it yourself are rare to ...
100
votes
21answers
19k views

How can I deal with people asking to switch seats with me on a plane?

I'm sixteen years old, and I have mild claustrophobia so I always travel in the aisle seat. However, I'm constantly asked (not politely) by others to change seats with them. Since I usually travel ...
97
votes
7answers
43k views

Flight tickets: buy two weeks before even during holiday seasons?

There is a common story that airline ticket prices rise significantly if you buy them less than two weeks before departure. And that any time before that will yield standard prices. Is that advice ...
90
votes
6answers
9k views

When I travel next, I want to reach the point on the earth that is exactly opposite my home, how can I discover where that is?

My wife and I are planning to travel to Japan next September (we are from Brazil). Since I was a child I have known that if I made a hole (a big one) straight down, I would reach Japan. Well, as the ...
87
votes
8answers
15k views

How to make dining alone less awkward?

When travelling, I'm often alone in a city. This is okay for me, except for one situation: dining out alone is just awkward. Guests in restaurants are almost always either couples or groups and being ...
84
votes
9answers
14k views

Why do people on airplanes often have tomato juice as a drink?

Tomato juice seems to be a favorite drink for many travelers to have on board an airplane. I've seen this on almost every flight I've been on, but I have never noticed this same trend at ground-level. ...
83
votes
18answers
12k views

Is it rude to ask if the food contains pork or alcohol?

Some years ago, I was invited to a friend's place. The home-cooked food contained alcohol, and I don't eat or drink anything that contains alcohol (religious reasons). I was shy enough to eat it to ...
83
votes
18answers
70k views

Why would you wrap your luggage in plastic?

At many airports you can wrap your luggage with sheets of sticky plastic. Why on earth would you do that? I only see disadvantages. I can imagine the mess when customs ask you to open your luggage. So ...
83
votes
7answers
24k views

How to convince airport security that I am not dangerous when having metallic parts in my body?

I had an operation some time ago and now I have small screws in my shoulder which will not be removed anymore. When I decided to fly for vacation, I supposed that these will may bring me into trouble ...
82
votes
11answers
21k views

How can I do a “broad” search for flights?

Several airline and trip planning sites will allow you to check "I am flexible with my dates" or a similar option. Is there any way to also search more broadly for location? For example, if you ...
79
votes
19answers
15k views

Is there a way to prevent “looking like a tourist” in order to not be harassed?

Disclaimer - the title of this post is probably not the best On my way to visit family in Belarus and Poland, I had a long layover in Paris, so I decided to spend the day in the city. My luggage was ...
78
votes
13answers
12k views

How to spot fake reviews on TripAdvisor?

I know that review sites like TripAdvisor have fake reviews (some hotels more than others) - how can I make sure I am looking at the 'real' reviews as using TripAdvisor can be very tricky to filter ...
77
votes
9answers
4k views

How do you avoid “tourist traps” when traveling to a country where you do not speak the language?

Too many easily accessible restaurants and attractions cater heavily to tourists, and, in doing so, create an environment that they feel will be comfortable to people from other cultures. Spending ...
76
votes
7answers
24k views

Does Venice smell?

I keep getting told that Venice smells pretty bad as a reason not to go (a lot of people say it's pretty crowded too but that's another matter). Apparently it's the canals in summer. Is this true? ...
75
votes
4answers
10k views

What is a polite way to tell a Scottish person that I am struggling to understand his/her accent?

I am flying to Glasgow tomorrow. English isn't my mother tongue. In spite of living in London for the last 10 years, I still struggle with understanding different accents. My main concern about the ...
74
votes
8answers
13k views

Why are airlines against the transferring of tickets to other persons?

Airlines usually either don't allow the transferring of tickets to another person after they've been purchased, or they do it at an extremely inflated price. What is the reason for doing this? One ...
74
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I visit Antarctica?

A year ago I was reading some magazine, and found out that there is availability to get a trip to Antarctica. Unfortunately, there was no info about how I could get there. Do you know anything about ...
74
votes
2answers
9k views

Do flight attendants prefer I press the button or walk to the back? (Long-haul flights)

I fly Abu Dhabi - Amsterdam - Portland, OR and back frequently. Each leg is about 8 to 10 hours. For most people, it is their one 'long flight,' and are sleeping, but for me, because I have two of ...
72
votes
12answers
10k views

What's the safest way to protect your valuable belongings from theft at the beach?

I am travelling solo to Barcelona. I was wondering if anyone has any tip on how to enjoy the beach when travelling alone. As in, is it safe to leave your belongings on the beach when you go for a ...
72
votes
8answers
7k views

Why is the departures level always above the arrivals level?

It seems to be a pretty strong convention for airport terminals with more than one level to have the departures above, and the arrivals below. Is this specified in some international standard? Are ...
71
votes
8answers
15k views

When someone in India asks for my “Good Name”, what are they expecting?

Quite a few times now in India, from hotel staff to taxi staff to in shops, I've had someone ask me for my Good Name. A common form of this question is someone asking me What is your Good Name, Sir? ...
70
votes
6answers
7k views

What happens if you are refused entry between two countries?

Last month, I was travelling on a backpacking trip across Russia and the Baltic states (Schengen zone). I'm an Indian by nationality. So I had to get the respective single entry visa for Russia and ...
70
votes
8answers
4k views

How can I avoid or minimize jet lag?

From my personal anecdotal experience, I've found it worse when travelling east around the globe. I also tend to stay awake most if not all of the flight, so sleeping time doesn't tend to matter as ...
69
votes
5answers
19k views

Can I fly with a gold bar?

Can I fly with a Good Delivery gold bar? I'll have the certificate that I have been given with it. I have looked on Google and found nothing that suggests it's a prohibited item on an aircraft. It's ...
68
votes
11answers
6k views

How should I deal with beggars in India?

I heard that it is unsafe to show money or help someone in India. Are there any rules I should respect to avoid getting into trouble? How should I deal with these beggars?
68
votes
10answers
3k views

How to successfully haggle / bargain in markets

While I've done quite a bit of travel now and back myself to handle situations when it comes to border guards, sorting accommodation and / or transportation, one thing I still struggle to come to ...
68
votes
8answers
20k views

Is it rude to give up your seat in Japan?

I heard that in Japan it may be considered rude to give up your seat for someone else while you are on a train or bus, because it would make the other person feel in debt with you. Is this true? (Of ...
68
votes
8answers
8k views

How do airlines determine ticket prices?

Based on the question How to find historical airfares?, I got curious. Is there a guide or resource that describes how the price of a ticket is determined? When you search you often see curious ...
64
votes
12answers
21k views

What's the best way to take a cold shower?

This is a question that most people probably never think about, because it's an every-day thing. But for many of us, such as myself, who grew up in more western cultures, with more modern ...
61
votes
9answers
10k views

When boarding a full plane, how can I guarantee that I can keep my handheld baggage with me?

Sometimes the overhead bins get full and the flight attendants will start collecting bags to put in with the rest of the luggage, but I keep insulin (diabetic) in my handheld bag, as I may need it ...
60
votes
9answers
5k views

Long term travel without being wealthy - how is it possible?

Some people are practically most of the time traveling, from country to country, for a very long periods and sometimes even years. How could one be able to travel for a long period of time, over ...
60
votes
6answers
10k views

Will Wi-Fi passwords in Russia be in Cyrillic? How do I type them on a Latin keyboard?

I'm about to travel to Russia, and I made sure to book only accommodations that offer Wi-Fi to its customers, but a question came to my mind. As Cyrillic is the standard alphabet in Russia, is there ...
60
votes
10answers
23k views

What can I do to prevent passport stamps being put on blank pages?

I'm running low on blank passport pages which are sometimes needed for full page visas such as those issued by Armenia, India, and Vietnam. When I crossed the border into Turkey the other day I got ...
60
votes
9answers
7k views

What kind of things can you take from a hotel?

Hotels normally provide a big amount of sets (well, depending on the quality, but however, many!) that can help you feel more comfortable there. So for example you can get towels, slippers, candies, ...
59
votes
13answers
15k views

Where is the quietest place on Earth?

I just wondered if there is a known "most quiet" place on Earth. Perhaps people have measured "ambient" sound throughout the year in various places claimed to be the most quiet. And perhaps one has ...
57
votes
4answers
13k views

Job Interview in London Requires Me to Wire Transfer Funds to the Travel Agent

I was told that I can have a visitor visa to UK, is this legitimate? I have received an invitation letter and a job offer, and I was contacted by the appointed travel agent to prepare all related ...
57
votes
12answers
4k views

Is there a good website to plan a trip via trains in Europe?

My wife and I have decided to move across Europe by train. Do you know of any good sites for planning a trip via train (schedule and maybe prices)? We're going to go across Europe from east (Russia ...
55
votes
6answers
8k views

Most respectful way to set alarm when sharing the room

I'm a pretty heavy sleeper and sometimes I need to wake up earlier for a bus/flight or to catch early light. When sharing a room in a hostel type place, what's a good way to set an alarm without ...
54
votes
4answers
28k views

Is there a ZIP code I can enter when paying-at-the-pump in the USA with a foreign credit card?

In the USA, many pay-at-the-pump fuel dispensers that accept credit cards require a 5-digit numeric zip code that corresponds to the billing address of the credit card. In Canada, for instance, we ...
53
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...

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