Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [local-customs]

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

179
votes
11answers
17k 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 ...
53
votes
5answers
7k views

How much to tip in the United States?

Tipping customs in the United States can be surprising for people who travel there for the first time. It happened to me when I used a shuttle van service out of LAX a few years ago. To sum up the ...
39
votes
5answers
14k views

How to use toilet paper

If someone who has never used toilet paper ever travels to countries where only toilet paper is used - how could one learn to use toilet paper? One of my (Asian) colleagues who is more of a friend ...
49
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
24
votes
5answers
10k 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 toilet? ...
62
votes
5answers
16k 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
4answers
14k views

How should I wash clothes in Japan?

I'm going backpacking for a month in Japan and I plan to pack lightly. So I have couple of questions about how I can wash my clothes in Japan. I expect laundromats to be quite common in big cities ...
42
votes
7answers
47k views

Why are prices published without tax in the US?

On a recent trip to San Francisco it was always a surprise to see what to pay in stores. It was never as simple as just adding all the published prices. There was always the addition of taxes. ...
15
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
64
votes
6answers
31k 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 ...
56
votes
8answers
28k views

What is the tipping process in restaurants in the US?

I'm supposed to write down something on the bill I get? Do I hand the waiter my credit card after doing so? Since I need a receipt, do I wait for the waiter to bring things back? What's the process, ...
43
votes
5answers
13k 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 ...
20
votes
9answers
4k 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 ...
49
votes
14answers
28k views

Is tap water in Munich safe to drink? If so, why do locals buy bottled water?

Before moving to Munich I did some research about the water. According to different sources, the water quality in Munich is very good and there is no problem drinking it. But every time I'm in a ...
16
votes
8answers
5k views

How do you use a traditional hot-air hand dryer so your hands are actually dry afterwards? [closed]

In many locations around the world, you can see dryers like this1: These dryers are being phased out in favor of air-jet dryers that involve inserting your hand in an opening. However, many locations ...
19
votes
3answers
2k 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 work-...
11
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
462 views

Sgian Dubh during the London Social Season, do you have to check it in everywhere?

The 2016 London social season is just getting underway There are no set dates for this but traditionally it starts at Guy Fawkes Day and more or less ends when Parliament rises in late December. ...
41
votes
5answers
19k views

What do locals call San Francisco?

I heard that San Franciscans hate nicknames like "San Fran" or "Frisco". If I want to travel around San Francisco without sounding like a rube, what should I call it?
21
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
318 views

Where is it expected to tip housekeeping?

Following on from Should I leave cash tips for housekeeping each day of a multi-day stay? about how it is appropriate to tip housekeeping where it is expected. In what countries/regions is it ...
5
votes
1answer
749 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 ...
149
votes
11answers
95k 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? ...
106
votes
17answers
16k 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 ...
55
votes
13answers
20k 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 ...
46
votes
9answers
52k 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 ...
69
votes
7answers
27k views

How to use sinks 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 ...
58
votes
6answers
114k views

Why do public toilets in the US have large gaps (no privacy)?

Most public toilets in the US are very low in privacy, the bottom gap in the door is so big (around 15-20% of the door), the side gaps are too big as well. This will make the toilet experience so ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Travelling to Latin America to take hallucinogenic drugs: how does one do it safely?

Prompted by this... Thousands of international backpackers are flocking to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest to drink ayahuasca tea, a plant mixture made by shamans and taken as part of a ...
99
votes
12answers
34k views

Is it offensive to use 'Saigon' instead of 'Ho Chi Minh City'?

I've heard some people talking about Saigon instead of Ho Chi Minh City. Besides the fact that those people usually were French (I'm French myself as well) I was wondering if that could be considered ...
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 ...
34
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
36
votes
3answers
4k views

Stuck without toilet paper while travelling - what is the best approach?

Well, this has happened to everyone at some point - you find out there is no toilet paper just after you need it the most. Usually it's not a big deal, even in public toilet room you can wait until ...
21
votes
7answers
18k views

How do I safely navigate a two-lane roundabout in the UK?

In a two-lane roundabout, drivers may be expected to use the outer lane for a ¼ circle and the inner lane in all other circumstances. Using the inner lane requires: Crossing the outer lane to the ...
22
votes
2answers
3k 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 can ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Small Diwali gifts, from an overseas visitor in India during the festive period?

In part due to not properly checking ahead, I've just discovered that it's Diwali this weekend. I'm currently in India on a work trip, visiting a number of people in an office here. Based on ...
12
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

What should someone from the US know when driving in Italy?

For instance, I know one should not turn on red lights, which is different from US/Mass. rules. What are other things which can confuse a driver from US while driving in Italy? More generally, are ...
12
votes
3answers
577 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
4answers
5k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
275 views

Parts of China that aren't dominated by Han Chinese that are easy for foreigners to access

I've heard that the Tibetan area is harder for foreigners to visit due to government restrictions, and get the impression that it is increasingly controlled by Han Chinese. Are there any parts of ...
4
votes
1answer
686 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?
26
votes
2answers
18k 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 is ...
18
votes
2answers
3k 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. ...
17
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
774 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
6k 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
4answers
7k 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 ...