Travel Etiquette Rules to Follow When Going Abroad

Traveling the world is an amazing thing, and something not everybody has the chance to experience. Since it’s not exactly cheap, it’s something only certain people can do, so you should cherish it. Besides, you have the chance to learn about different countries and their cultures, which is probably the best thing about any trip. You learn about how they live, what they eat, what they do for a living, and the list can go on.

However, with different cultures, there are also different rules. That being said, just because something is alright in your country, it doesn’t mean the citizens of another condone the same behavior. You need to be responsible, inform yourself about what is okay and what isn’t, and ensure you’re behaving in a non-offensive way.

Remember – you’re the one representing your country’s culture, so you have to behave exemplarily. Below, you will find some etiquette rules you should follow when going abroad.

Meeting People

Some people travel for fun, while some travel for other things, like business. If you’re in the second category, then, even so, you should be aware of the various rules to follow. Business-related trips mean you will have to meet people, and just as you’ve been taught since being a kid, first impressions matter. You have to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself or your culture.

When greeting someone for a meeting, while handshake can be a method, you should be informed whether the specific country has its own way of greeting. In China, for instance, you should address businessmen by their title and family name, so don’t forget this.

Apparently, in India, if you’re during a business meeting, you shouldn’t use the word “no”. You have to use another word, a substitute one, such as “we’ll see” or another.

If your business meeting takes place in China, then you’d better bring a gift. It doesn’t have to be a big one – bring something nice and small. China considers it a wonderful gesture, hence why you’d do yourself, and your culture a great favor by doing this. Take something from your country, but make sure it’s not a clock that symbolizes death, though.

And if you hand someone a gift, don’t do it with only one hand – some countries in Asia take it as an insult. When offering, as well as receiving, use both of your hands.

Behaving in Public

How you behave in your home country should not be the same in another, depending on the culture. Of course, you may only mean good, but not all countries see things the same way. This is why you should check the behavior rules of the country you visit before you step on foreign soil.

Having said that, if you’re going to London, be sure you don’t operate like a slug. Apparently, Londoners don’t like people who move slowly. Try to be faster and be in nobody’s way.

Don’t criticize the country, even if it’s on social media. It’s better to mention what you liked rather than what you didn’t. Not to mention, some social media apps are not legal in some countries, so you’d better abstain from posting there until you return home. And if your hosts start talking about their home country, always pay attention to them.

Chinese people find it offending to bite your nails. Do your best not to do that or use a special product that’s meant to stop you from being with the fingers in your mouth all day.

And if you think about tipping, don’t immediately do it. It’s not seen as a nice gesture in all countries. Japanese people might find it insulting, for example, as it’s like you’re considering the person to have a low economic status. Meanwhile, countries like Austria, Canada or Mexico are accepting tips, and it’s almost like you have to do it.

Eating Rules

Food is love, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll abstain from pleasing your taste buds with food specific to the country. But even when you’re eating, you should be careful not to offend the other diners at the table.

For instance, you should not talk about how bad the food is if you don’t like it. That’s rude and you’ll immediately be seen in a negative way. Always praise the food.

If you’re in China, don’t seat yourself immediately. You’ll be directed to your seat, so wait for others to seat themselves as well. In Japan, if you’re using chopsticks, it’s not recommended to point them towards someone else when talking.

Make sure that during a Portugal visit, you don’t ask for extra seasoning. It would be insulting to the cook, in their view.

Final Thoughts

Before traveling abroad, you should inform yourself about the culture and etiquette rules of the country you’re about to visit. Depending on when you’re going, you should also seek Vietnamese translation services, Chinese ones, Spanish ones or whichever translates from the language of the country. This way, you’ll find it easier to understand certain rules, and you’ll have a better experience overall.

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