Save yourself the embarrassment! Here are some common gestures and customs around the world that may actually mean something entirely different from country to country!
If it is your first-time visiting an international country, I recommend getting to know a few phrases in the native language and learning a little bit about the culture, including the unusual customs.
Below, I have listed 25 countries and gestures or customs that are unacceptable or illegal that every traveler should be aware of! Look for the country of your interest below (listed in alphabetical order):
Do not nod your head side to side if it means “no”- nodding your head in this fashion means “yes” in this country
Do not eat with your hands, use your cutlery!
Do not give an umbrella or a clock as a present
Tipping is expected on pretty much any service, including the restroom janitor. Do not walk away from tipping the restroom lady, she will follow you
Do not ask or discuss about money
Do not congratulate on birthday before the big day
Do not clink glasses when toasting
Do not touch the opposite sex in public
Do not use the “thumbs-up” gesture it literally means “sit on this”!
Do not imitate the Irish’s distinct accent
Do not order cappuccino at restaurants
Do not leave tips
Do not call people by name first
Do not take it personal- Do not get offended at people’s jokes
Honking your car horn implies that you’re a jerk who insults people
Do not ask about going to church
Do not sip your vodka- take one single gulp!
Do not eat in public transportation. Scarf that sandwich before boarding the bus!
Do not bear your shoe sole- especially when you are seated resting your foot on your knee- its an insult!
The “okay” hand gesture is a big no-no
Do not give a bouquet of an even number of flowers
Do not ask people how much they earn
Do not forget the tips!
United Arab Emirates
Do not openly kiss or demonstrate other displays of affection. One couple made love on the beach in Dubai and both faced imprisonment for six months!
Know of any uncommon gestures or customs in other countries? Leave your comment and let me know!