Believe it or not, there are a lot of things you do every day that would be considered completely disrespectful and rude in other parts of the world. Like when Richard Nixon flicked off the country of Brazil by waving the “a-ok” sign from the steps of Air Force One. Of course, you might just be an average traveler, so who will really bother you if you mess up a little bit? Well, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Although most of the items on this list are silly or laughable, not heeding others can cost you your very life. Here are 25 Cultural Faux Pas You Don’t Want To Commit While Traveling.
Note: locations are specified in general terms. Culture within countries varies significantly so when we refer to Brazil for example, it doesn’t necessarily mean all of Brazil.
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Not interrupting a conversation to answer the phone (Brazil)
When talking to your friends in Brazil, don’t be surprised if they regularly stop their sentence mid-conversation to answer the phone. In some parts of the country, it is considered ruder to ignore the call than pause the conversation.
Not shaking everyone’s hand in the room (Austria)
While you may have noticed that in certain places the who, how, and when of shaking people’s hands can be a bit confusing. In some nations like Austria, you are required to shake everyone’s hand in whatever room you enter. At least it removes the guesswork.
Getting someone an even number of flowers (Russia)
If you ever spend time in Russia and for some reason decide you’d like to get someone some flowers, go for it, but be advised – make sure you have an odd number. Even numbers of flowers are only given at funerals, and your gift may be interpreted as inviting death.
Finishing your meal (parts of Asia)
While in many places, finishing your meal is seen as a good thing or at least implies that you enjoyed the food, in Asia you may want to leave a little something on your plate. Licking it clean here implies that your host didn’t give you enough food and you’re still hungry – an epic insult.
Not burping during a meal (parts of Asia)
As we said, not leaving a little food on your plate in some parts of Asia is sure to insult your host, so if you’re looking to compliment them, try burping. They’ll be flattered.