It’s always wise to respect other cultures when you’re on your travels. The problem is, there are some things that you can do that are disrespectful and you never even realised. Tricky business is travelling and having heaps of fun.
Here’s why you shouldn’t do this terrible stuff.
Don’t talk about money in France
According to France Today, the French care about money just as much as the rest of us, they just don’t like talking about it. Is that because Paris is so expensive? No, apparently talking about money is seen as vulgar, tacky and boring. Another idea that they float around is a fear of the tax authorities that goes way back in French history. The French have spent centuries devising ways to avoid them. For example, the narrow buildings in the pretty southwestern city of Bayonne have few windows—the more windows, the more the building was taxed.
Don’t give an even number of flowers in Ukraine.
You meet a cool Ukrainian woman, you try and woo her with a dozen red roses and she never talks to you again. Why? Because even numbers are for funerals. Eek.
Don’t honk at people in New Zealand
Apparently people just don’t honk in New Zealand and when they do it is to insult somebody. So don’t do it! Unless you want to insult someone, then honking is the best bet.
Don’t touch the opposite sex in public when in India.
It’s difficult to find out exactly why they don’t like it, but it’s just a no go area. Public displays of affection are frowned upon and should be kept for private occasions.
Don’t leave tips in Japan
The Japanese just don’t tip, they never have. If you do leave a tip they may start to worry about things such as paying taxes on it. They may feel the need to report the incident to their employer. Worse, they may take it as an insult.
Don’t get offended at local’s jokes in Mexico.
We tried to find out why this is, but despite numerous creative different approaches to our Google searches we always seemed to end up with loads of sites telling racist jokes about Mexicans. That’s the internet for you.
Don’t ask about going to church in Norway.
You’d better think of some other material should you be reaching for Sunday morning chit chat in Norway. Most people don’t attend church, and asking this is seen as intrusive, rude and downright weird.
Don’t give the OK gesture in Turkey
In other countries this is a positive sign, in Turkey it is not. It means you are accusing someone of being a homosexual and is considered very bad.
Don’t try and imitate the Irish accent.
We wonder how many people have walked in to a pub in Ireland and said ‘Top of the morning to ya.’ Apparently it won’t go down too well. If you try to copy their accent they may think you’re trying to patronise them or make fun of them, at the very least they’ll think you’re a bit weird.
Don’t wish happy birthday before the day itself in Germany.
In Germany it is believed that things will inevitably fail if you say that they can’t fail. If you wish someone a happy birthday in advance that implies that the person will surly survive until that birthday. Following German logic that has been around for years, and is more a habit than a genuine belief, it will increase the probability of that person dying before the birthday.
Don’t call people by their first names in Kenya
It’s taken as a sign of respect. So Miss, Mrs, Mr., Dr., and Engineer so and so (mostly the surname) are what is preferred. If you want to call someone whose name you don’t know, refer to them as madam or sir. Only refer to someone by their first name if they introduce themselves as such.
Don’t eat with your hands in Chile
We know what you’re thinking. What about pizza? It is considered rude to eat with your hands. Everything (even pizza) is eaten with a fork and knife.
Don’t eat on public transport in Singapore
We don’t know why exactly, they just don’t like it. People have been fined for chewing sweets on public transport in the past even though it was in a bid to cure motion sickness.
Don’t order cappuccino in restaurants in Italy
To sip a cappuccino after lunch is a direct and major violation of an Italian food rule and if anyone can claim to do food right then it’s the Italians. They believe the fresh whole milk that makes up over half of the contents of this drink plays havoc with digestion. Basically, you’re an amateur.
Don’t clink glasses when toasting in Hungary
Whatever you do, don’t clink someone’s glass during a toast in Hungary. You’ll mightily offend the receiver of said clink. Apparently this has something to do with the executions of the 13 martyrs of Arad… which took place in 1849.
Don’t give someone a clock or an umbrella as a present in China
The term for giving an clock as a gift would be songzhong, which sounds identical to songzhong, meaning to send someone to their final rest. The term for giving someone a umbrella would be songsan, which would sound identical to songsan, meaning to separate or disperse. Neither are seen as associations that are cool to share with a friend.