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Questions tagged [etiquette]

Questions about customary practices.

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151
votes
11answers
124k 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? ...
148
votes
11answers
50k views

Took airline plane blanket by accident; didn't realize it was forbidden. What should I do?

I'm very new to traveling in general. When I flew on a long flight, the airline gave us blankets and pillows. I, having no idea that I was supposed to leave the blanket behind, took it as I collected ...
136
votes
21answers
27k 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 ...
106
votes
17answers
17k 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 ...
91
votes
4answers
17k 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 ...
83
votes
8answers
17k views

Do I have to whistle really loud to hail a taxi in NYC?

In the movies, we usually see that people whistle really loud and yell "TAXI!" in order to hail one. I can't whistle like that for the life of me. Where I live I usually raise my arm silently and make ...
82
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...
81
votes
8answers
26k 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 ...
79
votes
9answers
23k views

Should I say hello to the passport control officers, or just quietly give them my passport?

What is the etiquette? What do the passport control officers expect? I’m asking from the point of politeness and efficiency.
73
votes
6answers
9k views

With the passing of Thai King Bhumibol, are there any customs/etiquette as a traveler I should be aware of?

Even with the news that the King of Thailand passed away, I had already scheduled a trip a year ago to visit Thailand in a week or so. I understand that most of the country is in mourning -- should ...
70
votes
11answers
25k views

How can I avoid ordering multiple bottles of water at a restaurant?

I have a couple esophageal conditions that result in a high probability of a food bolus impaction when eating (a food bolus impaction is when food gets stuck in the esophagus). There are a few ...
66
votes
9answers
32k views

Is it offensive to the chef/host to finish all food on your plate in Italy?

I was once told by someone that in Italy it is offensive to the chef if you finish your plate of food clean. That you should leave a small portion. I'm not finding anything about this online. Is there ...
64
votes
5answers
11k views

Should I not use double things in a double room if I have booked it as a single guest?

Some hotels physically don't have single rooms even if they can be booked so. The towels, soap, shampoo and so on are always for two guests. I'm not a wasteful person, but I wonder if I'm allowed to ...
64
votes
6answers
33k views

Japanese etiquette: Most common (and offensive) mistakes? [closed]

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 ...
62
votes
8answers
29k views

What is wrong with eating while walking in Japan? It doesn't seem to be an issue in other Asian countries

I have seen on many etiquette questions about Japan that this is a no no, but I can't seem to find what the reason for this is. I know that in countries like Taiwan or China it doesn't seem to be an ...
55
votes
13answers
21k views

What is way to eat rice with hands in front of westerners such that it doesn't appear to be yucky?

In India, we eat rice using our fingers. Generally in the West, a fork or spoon is used. I have tried eating rice with spoon but I don't feel satisfied with it. We eat dry rice but we mix curry and ...
54
votes
13answers
17k views

Are sweatpants frowned upon on flights?

I was planning on wearing sweatpants on my flight from East Asia to East Europe, but my parents shut me down, saying that it's not looked upon kindly and people wearing sweatpants are usually a bit of ...
52
votes
10answers
24k views

Dress for First Class?

I'll be flying first class from Kansas City to Orlando this fall. This'll be my first time experiencing this, as I typically fly coach. This time around I found a good deal on FC seats and just wanted ...
45
votes
15answers
26k views

Would it be ok to eat rice using a spoon in front of Westerners?

It seems to me that Westerners are willing to learn to use chopsticks in Asian restaurants. However, when spoons are the way the dish is normally eaten within the country of origin, Westerners prefer ...
45
votes
3answers
4k views

Do's and Dont's of doing a pilgrimage as an atheist?

I plan on doing the St-Jacques-de-Compostelle pilgrimage, but I am also unequivocally atheist. My motivation for undergoing a (mostly) religious pilgrimage is pushing the limits of what I believe I ...
43
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
43
votes
3answers
11k views

Is 'wai' greeting a serious thing? Is it inappropriate to 'over-wai'?

This morning I had to go to Phnom Penh and Giant Ibis bus company had all the seats booked. Normally there was always space, but due to high season, the bus was full. However, they were very nice and ...
42
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
41
votes
4answers
9k views

How does one sleep in a sleeper train in Europe?

Planning to travel from Germany through several other countries eastward on a sleeper train, I wonder what am I expected to encounter and how am I expected to dress? The tickets say 4 beds per ...
39
votes
10answers
14k views

Walking 14 km on a pilgrimage road where footwear may be considered disrespectful

There's this 14 km long road that's one of the main attractions in Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India. The road goes all the way around a small mountain called Arunachala. The mountain is considered ...
34
votes
14answers
30k views

How am I supposed to keep a toilet bowl clean without a toilet brush?

I am used to cleaning the toilet bowl with a toilet brush after use. In several hotels that I stayed in Asia there was none. I don't suppose they expect me to call the room service every time I use ...
34
votes
8answers
10k views

Is it good courtesy to leave the bed made when checking out of accomodation? [closed]

I was always taught to leave the room in a clean condition when checking out of an accomodation. When staying somewhere with my parents, we gave the room a look-over and tidy it up into the condition ...
34
votes
4answers
52k views

What should I do if I forgot to turn in a hotel room key card after checking out?

I recently stayed at a hotel and received two room key cards to access the room: one for me and one for my brother. They are like credit cards with a magnetic strip to swipe into the door lock. My ...
34
votes
5answers
5k views

When and to whom should I report a minor amenity not functioning on an airplane?

I've recently run into issues with things like outlets not providing any power, seats not reclining even when they definitely should, etc. Obviously they can't fix it during the flight, so it seems ...
32
votes
8answers
15k views

How would Japanese people react to someone refusing to say “itadakimasu” for religious reasons?

So, it’s my understanding that in Japan it’s considered to be polite to say “itadakimasu” before eating. From what I’ve read, it seems that the meaning of this phrase derives from Buddhist and Shinto ...
32
votes
13answers
24k views

Is it rude to bring bottled water into a restaurant in Germany?

It is said that in Germany asking for tap water in a restaurant is rude and looks stingy - examples in here and here. But I don't like to purchase water there as buying it in a restaurant would likely ...
32
votes
3answers
43k views

What is the etiquette around sex in hotel beds?

What etiquette is involved for copulation in hotel (not motel) beds? There doesn't seem to be a lot of information about this around.
32
votes
3answers
12k views

People in the next room in my hotel are having noisy sex; I can't sleep! What to do?

The people in the next room are having sex all night! it is early morning and I can not sleep and my flight is in a few hours! Their bed is hitting the wall because of the action which makes a great ...
31
votes
4answers
9k views

Is it rude to talk on a mobile phone for the whole journey, when travelling alone in a London black taxi?

I had an uncanny feeling that it was rude of me to talk on a mobile phone for the whole journey, while travelling alone in a London black taxi. Is it the etiquette to have a conversation with the ...
31
votes
4answers
27k views

Hotel Pool FAQ and Etiquette

For quite some time when traveling I was happy when I had access to a shower with non-freezing water, when my bed was not part of a shaky triple bunk bed in a basement and noise-level was low enough ...
31
votes
1answer
38k views

What is proper etiquette on bringing one night stands to a hotel room?

somewhat related to "Can a hotel kick you out if you let an unregistered guest share a room with you?": In the, alas, completely hypothetical scenario where I'm out in a foreign town and just happen ...
30
votes
7answers
7k views

How soon after takeoff can you recline your airplane seat?

Airplane announcements always say that that "the seatback has to be in an upright position" for takeoff. However, what's the earliest you can recline your seat after takeoff? The moment the wheels ...
30
votes
9answers
45k views

How much cash am I supposed to prepay at gas station in the US?

In the US (and probably Canada as well), it is possible to pay at a gas station either with a credit card often with a fee (in the US) or cash. If I pay cash, gas stations often require to prepay for ...
30
votes
5answers
8k views

Is it OK to play the piano housed in the lobbies of hotels?

I travel a lot and often find grand pianos in lobbies of hotels. Is it appropriate to just sit down and play them for a while (FWIW, I am good and play slow classical music. My playing will not ruin ...
26
votes
2answers
18k views

Should I tip my Airbnb host?

I am about to embark on my first Airbnb experience for a little over a week. I was wondering if it is customary or expected to tip the host upon departure or perhaps along the way, as it seems like ...
25
votes
12answers
10k views

How do I politely refuse to lend my pen? [closed]

I use my pen on flights (in plain sight), for written work in general. On one flight, after seeing that I used it to complete customs forms, my seatmate asked to borrow it to do the same. I said 'yes'...
25
votes
5answers
6k views

Luggage etiquette on European trains

I'm backpacking across Europe with a very large (70 liter) backpack, plus a smaller daypack (35 L). I've found myself taking a number of trains, with different available facilities and passenger loads,...
25
votes
4answers
10k views

What does a CouchSurfing host expect from their guests?

I've never done couch-surfing and I'd like to start couch-surfing my next trip, but I don't know what the host "expects". Do I have to take something in exchange for his/her offer? Or is it better ...
23
votes
4answers
5k views

Is it appropriate to enter a church while a chorus is performing?

On Sunday, I was walking in Zürich and came across St. Jakob Church. When I approached the door, I saw that a chorus was performing. Since there was nobody around except the people seated in the ...
22
votes
3answers
5k views

How can I respectfully greet in Thailand?

I am in Thailand now, and this morning I tried to shake hands with our guide, but although she shaked my hand, it seems like this is not the way it should be done here. What is the best way to greet ...
20
votes
8answers
12k views

How to hide your bodily odors after a long flight?

Of course I could fly first class on an airline that provide on-board showers. Since I lack the funds, that is not an option for me. The scenario is as follows: Your plane leaves in the evening. ...
20
votes
4answers
21k views

How long is a typical CouchSurfing stay?

When you are staying with a CouchSurfing host, what is a typical stay duration? Is CS intended for short (1- or 2-night) trips, or is it not unusual to stay for a whole week or longer? If I am ...
20
votes
1answer
4k views

How to recognise/thank great cabin crew?

Those of us who fly a lot will know that there is a bit of a variety in cabin crew. Some (sadly more common on certain airlines) do the very bare minimum to ensure a safe flight, but nothing more. ...
19
votes
7answers
7k views

How do I avoid conversation with strangers while traveling?

Personally I hate traveling not just because I hate going to a new city but because of seeing strangers who are watching and trying to start conversation with me. Well talking with someone is not a ...
19
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it impolite to ask for an in-flight catalogue with no intention of buying?

Sometimes when I go on a short 1 hour flight, I usually just like to watch the take-off, have a drink and read the in-flight catalogue (just out of interest) and watch the landing. In some airlines, ...