VIA| Be careful out there guys because there’s a bug going around, it’s unbelievably contagious and once you come down with it it’s extremely difficult to get rid of. It’s called the travel bug.
It obviously struck me at a very young age because for as long as I can remember I’ve had a burning desire to go out and see the world, to get lost in an alternative way of life, experience new cultures and dabble in unfamiliar cuisines. Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to fulfil my obsession to a degree, jetting off to South East Asia on a typical ‘gap yah’, eating fried scorpion, getting lost in hidden temples and drinking rice wine till I fell over. All the while living from a bag that contained little more than a toothbrush, passport and countless harem pants.
My desire to travel is an unsinkable addiction, an expensive sinkable addiction, but worth every penny. There are still numerous places that I am waiting to scratch off my world map, but before I flee I’ll have to brush up on my knowledge of the places I am going to because each country has its own set of rules and customs. What may seem perfectly polite in the motherland may be considered rude or even offensive in another. So before jumping on that plane to go get lost in a place far far away, remember to familiarise yourself with these global etiquettes to ensure you don’t get your trip cut short and sent packing for your rudeness.
Avoid touching someone’s head as it is seen as disrespectful. The head is considered the most holy part of the body.
Don’t shake hands if a la bise (kiss on cheek) is more appropriate. A handshake is probably faux pas if a woman is part of the persons you are greeting.
Always give an uneven number of flowers, even are for funerals.
A thumbs up to a lot of us is a positive gesture, but in Iran and several other Middle Eastern countries it translates as a foul gesture, so you should probably avoid it.
5. New Zealand
Honking your horn is considered an insult.
You must always remove your outdoor shoes when entering someone else’s home. You may even be given slippers to wear.
Hold back on public displays of affection with the opposite sex and never pass anything – money or gift – with your left hand, as the left hand is customarily known for wiping after excretion.
Never tip as it is seen as an insult. Remember to remove your shoes when entering all homes and to bow when addressing someone. Bowing is a sign of respect, the degree to which you bow depends on the position of the person you are greeting and the circumstance.
It is considered rude if you fail to say ¡salud!’ (‘your health’) after a stranger sneezes.
10. Turkey and Greece
Do not gesture by using the OK sign, it is a gesture that implies that someone is homosexual.
Don’t scratch underneath your chin, you’re basically telling strangers to fuck off.
In the States employers are legally allowed to pay wages as low as $2.13 an hour where tipping is routine. So don’t forget to tip regardless of the quality of the service, otherwise they’ll be running down the street after you.
When invited to someone’s house always bring a gift and don’t even think about turning up late. When brining flowers do not give red roses as they symbolise romance, carnations as they symbolise mourning, or lilies as they are commonly used at funerals.
Only use first names once you have been invited to and never eat with your hands always use utensils.
Don’t get happy snappy in rural Ghana because taking photos without permission is considered stealing their soul.
African clocks work a little differently to ours and sticking to a time schedule is not important.
Do not use your left hand as it is considered unclean.
Do not give gifts of four of anything and do not wrap them in white, blue or black paper as they are considered unlucky. Gifts must always be presented and received with two hands and are never opened in the moment.
Although you may feel like your life is a rock concert, this gesture means that your wife has been unfaithful.
Do not chew gum or spit outside unless you want a to be on the receiving end of a very disapproving look.
Do not, I repeat do not, say ‘cheers’ in Hungary when clunking your glasses together. The country has had a self-imposed ban on the practice for 150 years and although the statue of limitation has expired it is still considered widely insulting.
Don’t signal to the barman that your want two beers by placing your index and middle finger in the air palm towards you. This is the same as giving someone the finger and will probably result in you being shown the door.
Material goods come and go, but experiences last a lifetime. Science therefore suggests that we should be spending our cash on things like adventures, trips and holidays rather than throwaway items. If you do so just make sure you avoid offending the locals by adhering to the advice above on your travels.