While it’s always fun to plan a spontaneous trip to some place new, it’s still always a good idea to take some time to learn about the customs and traditions of your destination to avoid mistakes and uncomfortable situations. Did you know that in Iran, giving a “thumbs up” is just as offensive as giving someone the middle finger? Or that in Russia, when giving someone a vase of flowers, you should always make sure there’s an odd number of flowers as vases with an even number of flowers are strictly reserved for cemeteries. The more we know about the culture and customs of the country we travel to, the better our experience there will be. Of course, there’s no need to stress! Being a tourist often comes with the privilege of being allowed a greater tolerance and understanding against these types of blunders. When in doubt, it’s worth mentioning the proverb: “Wherever you go, do what you see.”
If you also decide to travel by bus to get around during your trip, do not forget to take a look at our guide: 5 ½ Tips to Avoid Being the Weird Person on the Bus.
Golden Rules to Bear in Mind During your Next Travels
Here are some good cultural rules to keep in mind to avoid any social faux pas while on your next trip.
Nodding (our usual gesture to say yes) actually means the opposite in Bulgaria.
Rejecting a cup of tea in Turkey can be considered an extremely rude act.
Never touch another person’s head in Thailand; it’s considered a sacred part of the body.
In Argentina, both men and women greet each other with a kiss on the cheek.
Serving wine with your left hand is considered bad luck in Chile.
If someone invites you to their home in France, make sure to bring a present, such as flowers, wine or a dessert.
Giving an empty bag in Russia is considered very bad luck. The custom is to place a small coin inside. .
In countries, like China, Japan and Germany, it is not a custom to open gifts in front of guests.
If you are going to give flowers in Russia, make sure that there’s an odd number and that they’re in a bouquet. Even numbers in vases are for cemeteries.
In Japan and Turkey, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering any house. Reserve your best socks for the trip..