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18 Things You Absolutely *Must Not* Do Abroad (and Why)

Humor Culture
by Alex Scola Jun 25, 2015

Travel insurance company GlobeLink just published this helpful infographic, outlining some of the key faux-pas tourists might commit while traveling to any of these 18 major travel destinations around the world.

Don’t even think about it:

In France:

According to FranceToday, the cultural avoidance of money-talk may originate from an implicit cultural understanding that the love of money is something of a vulgar guilty pleasure, or come from a rich French history of grappling with tax authorities.

In the Ukraine:

From UkraineGiftDelivery, the custom of gifting odd numbers of flowers stems from the fact that even numbered bouquets are reserved for funerals. This also holds largely true for the majority of eastern European nations.

In New Zealand:

There’s a fair bit of controversy over whether or not this tidbit is a real thing, but sheds a little light on the subject: “On New Zealand roads prolonged tooting at another motorist can sometimes put you at risk of a road rage pursuit or attack, so we Kiwis tend to be conservative and restrained in how we use them in traffic.”

In India:

Quora user Sayalie Joshi tackled this one head on, suggesting that the major contributing factors are a “conservative” namaste-based society leading to a reserved upbringing, and the fear of “sending out the wrong signals” to members of the opposite sex.

In Japan:

From AnnieAndre: “The general ideology is that the wait staff works for the restaurant as a team and if a customer enjoys their visit that they will return to the restaurant again, refer others and bring more business.  I guess you could say, your gratitude and repeat business is all the tip they need.”

In Mexico:

Frankly, I couldn’t find any background on this one… so instead: according to eDiplomat, it’s bad form to stand with your hands on your hips or in your pockets — unless you’re pissed off and want people to know it.

In Norway:

According to GapYear, “despite almost 85% of Norwegians belonging to the national church […] regular attendance is as low as 5%.” Hmm, awkward indeed.

In Turkey:

This well-documented cultural no-no comes from the resemblance of the circle made to a gaping anus. No, seriously… it’s pretty much how you call someone an asshole in Turkey. Look it up.

In the UK:

Back to eDiplomat, who suggests that talking about wages is one of those taboo subjects that pries a little too deep into someone’s private life (and therefore strays beyond an English-person’s typical realm of comfortable conversation topics).

In Ireland:

I suspect this one is more common sense than anything else. No one likes to feel like they’re being made fun of (and let’s be real, it’s crazy hard to do an Irish accent right).

In German:

Based on this article from Telegraph, the background on this is pretty simple: it comes from the superstition that folks might jinx the person, and they won’t actually make it to their birth-date alive.

In Kenya:

I think Globelink meant to say “first name,” since it is generally frowned upon to refer to peers by anything less than a title and a last name (as first names are used most often when speaking to subordinates). Sure, this relaxes some after the relationship shifts to become more casual, but without permission it can be seen as rude and condescending.

In Chile:

Silverware is essential when eating anything (seriously, ANYTHING) in Chile. Chalk it up to a heavy emphasis on table-manners.

In Singapore:

It’s not just taboo, eating anything on public transportation is actually against the law. A lady was recently fined $30 for eating a piece of candy on the bus there.

In the US:

I can corroborate this one, the members of our service industry really rely on your tips. And here’s the breakdown: if they’ve given you really appalling service, or you witnessed them spit in your food or rub their junk on your pillows, skip the tip. If the service was adequate to expected, 15% is the industry standard. For mindblowing this-person-went-the-extra-mile service, 20% and beyond– it’s your prerogative.

In Italy:

According to our friends over at TuscanTraveler: “To sip a cappuccino after lunch is a direct and major violation of an Italian Food Rule. Italians believe the fresh whole milk that makes up over half of the contents of this drink plays havoc with digestion. To order a cappuccino after 10am, unless you are breakfasting after said hour, is seen as suspect behavior worthy of at least a slight frown, advancing to a worried shake of the head, and can escalate to outright ridicule.”

In Hungary:

Apparently this one stretches back to the Revolution, where legend has it that Austrian generals clinked their beer mugs while executing Hungarian revolutionary leaders. Thereafter, Hungarians vowed to never clink their glasses out of respect for the fallen (and while technically the terms of this vow have expired, the practice is still observed).

In China:

The majority of Chinese gaffs (as well as puns, which are currently banned there) come from the ambiguity in pronunciation of the Chinese language. In this case, the words for “umbrella” and “clock” are nearly identical to the words for “sending someone to their death” and “to separate or disperse” respectively.

h/t: boredpanda, globelink 

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