All Questions

330
votes
13answers
92k 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 ...
293
votes
8answers
37k 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 ...
236
votes
8answers
69k 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 ...
230
votes
3answers
127k 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.
190
votes
8answers
36k views

Why prohibit engine braking?

When I learned driving in The Netherlands (in a car with a manual gearbox), I learned that on a down slope¹, I should switch to low gear and use the engine to brake, thus reducing the wear on the ...
185
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 ...
182
votes
12answers
58k views

Boss is asking for passport, but it has a stamp in it I don't want him to see. What to do?

I am an Indian national who has been working in Africa for 10 months. This stay in Africa is my first time leaving India. My passport has no previous stamps or marks in it. I recently had an emergency ...
164
votes
11answers
18k 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 ...
153
votes
5answers
24k 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 ...
149
votes
22answers
22k 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 ...
149
votes
11answers
101k 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? ...
147
votes
4answers
20k 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 ...
142
votes
11answers
46k 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 ...
132
votes
7answers
14k 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 ...
131
votes
21answers
26k 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 ...
131
votes
3answers
24k views

Canadian citizen, on US no-fly list. What can I do in order to be allowed on flights which go through US airspace?

My father and I, both Canadian citizens, were denied to board a direct Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to Toronto non-stop without any prior warning or information. Literally, at the gate, we ...
123
votes
7answers
61k 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 ...
119
votes
3answers
20k views

Airline reservations require name to exactly match passport, but won't allow entering name that way

My sister's name on her passport is 25 characters not including spaces: 5 letters for her given name, 7 letters for her middle name, and 13 letters, including a hyphen, for her last name. (It's NOT a ...
115
votes
9answers
44k views

How to escape hip-hop CD giveaway scam in New York City?

Here is a situation I encountered multiple times in New York City streets, lately. Usually at a sidewalk corner where people are likely to wait for the pedestrian crossing "walk" signal, a gang of ...
115
votes
8answers
28k views

How can I find restaurants in the USA where tipping is not expected?

I am uncomfortable with tipping and would much rather eat at sit-down restaurants in the United States that pay their employees fairly without expecting customers to supplement with tips (as occurs in ...
114
votes
13answers
18k 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 ...
114
votes
9answers
24k views

When and why do people clap/applause after a plane lands?

On a recent flight to Romania, the whole flight erupted with applause once we'd landed. This wasn't a "difficult" flight - no turbulence, delays, or hijackings. Just a bog standard flight. On the ...
110
votes
11answers
30k views

How can I convince airport screeners to stop asking why I prefer pat-downs?

At a London airport, a security screener ordered my granddad to the full-body scanner. As a Luddite, he requested a full pat-down. But this screener, and 3 others, kept rebuffing him: Screener: Why ...
110
votes
8answers
18k 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 ...
109
votes
3answers
21k views

Why is the price on the shelves for drinks often different from what I actually pay in supermarkets in Germany?

I have used supermarkets in Germany (REWE, etc). But I found that whenever I purchase a bottled drink the price described on the selves was different from what I actually paid. For example in one ...
109
votes
11answers
24k views

Can I accidentally miss the in-flight food?

I was wondering what will happen if I was wearing headphones or asleep (or both) and I missed the in-flight food? I don't want to miss it, but I know when I get lost in my music or fall asleep I ...
109
votes
1answer
136k views

Should I submit bank statements when applying for a UK Visa? What do they say about me?

The UK Visas and Immigration Directorate publishes guidance that provides helpful tips that can result in successful visa applications. Section 2 of this guidance opens is entitled "other documents ...
109
votes
11answers
45k 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 ...
108
votes
6answers
12k 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 ...
107
votes
11answers
28k views

How to avoid toddlers on a long-distance plane flight?

I have recently taken a London - San Francisco (12 hour) flight, with a toddler in the seat directly behind me. His parents actively encouraged the kid to speak out in that typical proto-speech, while ...
107
votes
19answers
111k 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 ...
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 ...
106
votes
8answers
30k views

What's the deal with the “string people” in central Paris?

I've taken my fiancée to Paris twice - first for our 1st anniversary, and again for our 4th - and both times we had troubles with guys bothering us around the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre. They hang ...
105
votes
2answers
7k views

How does President Trump's travel ban affect nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen coming to the US for tourism/transit/etc?

President Trump has signed an executive order which bans nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from traveling to the US for at least 90 days. Does this ban only include ...
104
votes
8answers
53k 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 ...
101
votes
6answers
21k views

Do I need a serious reason to enter a US Embassy as a US Citizen?

Out of curiosity, can I, as a US citizen, enter a US embassy without a serious reason? For example, if I was traveling to Tokyo and I want to see what it looks like inside can I just walk in? If not, ...
99
votes
12answers
36k 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 ...
98
votes
6answers
22k views

Why are there no seat belts on trains?

Long distance trains are travelling at potentially dangerous speeds. However, I have never encountered seat belts, airbags or similar on trains at least in Central Europe, even though this is common ...
96
votes
6answers
13k views

Does the European number for emergencies (112) really work in Germany?

One night of some months ago I realized there were some burglars in the apartment below mine. As an Italian living in Germany, I didn't know the number to call the police, but I knew that in all ...
95
votes
3answers
18k views

I was born in a city which is now under control of a different country. What is my “country of birth” on US visa/ESTA applications?

A member of my family (who is a French citizen) is currently applying for the Visa Waiver Program of the USA. The member was born in a city in former French Algeria (before independence). In the ...
94
votes
9answers
27k views

In Germany, what are you supposed to do if your train station doesn't have any working ticket machines?

I recently took a train to Munich from a tiny suburban station that only had a couple of ticket machines. At the time I was there one of the machines was broken, but I was able to get a ticket from ...
94
votes
20answers
19k 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 ...
93
votes
5answers
21k views

How can black travellers deal with unwanted harassment from locals in China?

I recently took a trip to China with several friends. All of us are US citizens with US passports, and three of the people on this trip are black. (I am not) Throughout China, including in the most "...
92
votes
1answer
9k views

Did I opt out of compensation by accepting meal vouchers?

Today/yesterday, I had a multi-leg flight going IAD-CPH-AMS (Washington Dulles International Airport - Copenhagen Airport - amsterdam Airport Schiphol). I had a connection time of one hour in CPH, ...
91
votes
11answers
31k views

Best way to dispose of a carry-on bag in Hong Kong airport?

An odd question, I know. I'm expecting to arrive with a full-size carry-on, containing some stuff I brought on the flight but don't want to carry any further, some stuff I'll transfer into my main ...
91
votes
2answers
23k views

How to lift a lifetime ban from Canada due to marijuana?

My husband was "banned for life" for entry into Canada for having marijuana on him back in the 90's. We had completely forgotten about this when we traveled to Toronto some years back, but were ...
91
votes
7answers
13k views

How do I identify an airport’s official free Wi-Fi network? [closed]

While traveling in the Berlin Tegel airport (TXL), I wanted to get on Wi-Fi. I found three unsecured networks in addition to a number of password-protected networks. _Free_TXL_WiFi airberlin Berlin ...
90
votes
9answers
18k 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. ...
90
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 ...
90
votes
1answer
20k views

Why do cars need to leave their windows half open whilst on the Eurotunnel?

Whilst riding the Eurotunnel with a car, they ask you to keep your windows half open and also to open any sun roofs. What is the reasoning behind this? I've checked their website and FAQ and couldn't ...

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