Italy to Japan: Travel etiquette every globetrotter should know

The word ‘etiquette’ refers to a set of certain rules and codes to behave in a proper way. These behaviors or actions are accepted and appreciated by the whole society. It is to be noted that there are a couple of rules and codes that vary from place to place. Every country has travel etiquette that one must know before going there.

Travel etiquettes are the set of guidelines and customs that one must follow while traveling. Traveling around the globe and learning different cultures, traditions, and customs make a vacation more enjoyable, but only if one does not suffer an embarrassing faux pas. No matter if you are traveling for the first time or if you are a frequent traveler, you should always follow the rules as your behavior is the reflection of your culture rather than of you. Understanding a little about the place you are planning to visit can help you avoid awkward moments.

From the quirky to the essential, these noteworthy travel etiquette tips by Travomint will surely prep you for your future travel plans:

Avert gazing in Mexico

Looking into someone’s eyes while talking is all part and parcel of attentiveness and social interaction in many countries, however, in certain parts of Mexico it is considered to be rude. Mexicans are the friendliest people you will ever meet, don’t act aggressively if sometimes they affectionately touch you – they are just genuinely warm people. Shake hands with a woman only if she extends her hand first, otherwise, just bow while greeting.

Dress modestly in Italy

Italy is a Catholic country that appreciates the rules of dressing modestly when it comes to visiting the church, therefore, one should cover one’s knees and shoulders before entering a church. Also, do not bring food to churches, places of worship, and monuments. Italians love it when you at least attempt to speak some Italian words, and learn some basic Italian phrases, but don’t say “Ciao” while meeting someone for the first time as this word is reserved for greeting friends & acquaintances.

Avoid PDA in Egypt

Avoid PDA (public display of affection) in Egypt even if you are with your spouse as local people may get offended watching you getting overly romantic. It is important to dress appropriately for both men and women. Prefer wearing loose clothes that cover both shoulders, knees, and cleavage (if you are a female). One should be mindful of local etiquette, especially at certain sights, dress modestly and carry a scarf/wrap if you are planning to visit a mosque.

Greet formally in Peru

If you are planning a vacation to Peru, then it’s worth knowing that South Americans’ greetings are more formal than Europeans’. Formal greetings can be used there in any situation, be it a conversation with seniors, officials, or a business meeting. So don’t be surprised if someone shakes your hand while saying goodbye.

Show respect towards cultures in India

India is known for its diversity, because of its types of languages & dialects, cuisines, religions, and cultures. If you are traveling to any place in India, make sure to research in advance about the places that you are going to visit as the climate, culture, and food differ from place to place.

Don’t eat with your left hand in India, as it’s thought to be an unhygienic practice. Also, if someone asks you to pass something on the dining table, always use your right hand to pass the food. Kissing and embracing in public places are not considered appropriate. Do not point your finger at someone as it is considered to be rude in India. 

Avoid hand gestures in Turkey

Giving a thumbs up to someone usually means everything is just great. However, in Turkey, this sign is considered extremely rude therefore should be avoided. Also, the OK symbol formed by the thumb and forefinger is regarded as an insulting gesture. One more thing that needs to be noted is that the locals here don’t shake their heads to indicate NO- that stays tilted upward.

Follow eating etiquette in China

While having dinner at a UK restaurant in China, avoid burping or making any noises as fellow diners won’t be impressed. However, in other places, it is totally acceptable to burp away as the Chinese consider it a symbol of a satisfying meal. Avoid putting bones, seeds, or other inedibles into your rice bowl, do not tap your chopsticks, and do not use your chopsticks to serve food from central dishes- use serving spoons/chopsticks.

Try French phrases in France

It’s bad etiquette to expect French people to speak to you in English. Attempting to speak a couple of French phrases on a tour to France will be much appreciated by the locals. But don’t ask personal questions to the people you have just met as they prefer to act formally with people they don’t know. If someone invites you to a house party, avoid bringing a bottle of wine as it’s like saying that the host’s wine is not good enough.

Be respectful in Nepal

When it comes to the Nepal tour, there is much to be mindful of, especially if you are visiting a Buddhist or Hindu temple. Always take off your shoes before entering any temple or place of worship, walk clockwise around the stupas/temples, don’t click photographs at camera-restricted places, do not touch shrines or offerings unless you have asked permission, use your both hands rather than one while accepting or giving anything to show respect and appreciation, eat with your right hand and avoid touching your lips to a common/share drinking pot/vessel.

Refrain from tipping in Japan

Slurping noodles in Japan is okay but tipping is not, don’t tip the waiter as excellent service comes as standard- it is considered to be a bad practice. For starters, avoid filling your own glass and waiting for someone else to do it, also don’t forget to do the same to return the favor. Try to raise your glass off the table while someone is filling it – this is formal Japanese etiquette.


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