When we go abroad, we like to speak louder, gesticulate more, and play the ‘dumb tourist’ card whenever we get in trouble. But it would probably be wiser to just do a little homework before our trip and save ourselves the embarrassment in the first place.
In an attempt to collect the most valuable travel advice, Redditor u/Skinnysaif asked other users: “What should tourists NEVER do in your country?” and luckily for them (and now us), people from all over the world replied, sharing tidbits of information that can make journeys to foreign lands a lot more pleasurable. Here are some of the answers.
Here in the U.S. in south Utah there are many amazing rock sculptures. Don’t. Write. On. Them. They are rare structures formed by thousands of years of erosion, not something to carve your name into.
In Argentina, don’t ask for coffee to go. We don’t have paper cups. If you go to a cafe, you’re expected to sit and drink your coffee.
If you’re visiting Portugal, don’t speak to us in Spanish. You are not in Spain, and we speak Portuguese.
In Australia, swim between the flags. If you have little experience swimming in the surf and you swim outside those flags, then there is a relatively high chance that you will drown.
In Croatia, particularly in small towns, people are expected to clean the streets in front of their homes. As a result, you’ll find exceptionally clean streets, which are a real sense of communal civic pride.
In Vietnam, commit to crossing the road. It looks scary with the endless scooter stampedes, but if you just cross at a steady pace, they’ll avoid you. Do not try to dodge or make sudden movements. Just simply walk across.
In Ireland, stand your round. When you go out to the pubs with a group of friends, make sure to pay for a round of drinks when it’s your turn. If you don’t, you will be secretly labeled a cheapskate.
Switzerland is really expensive, and you should know that ahead of time. Don’t make that surprised face when you have to pay $15 for a Subway sandwich.
It’s very subtle but never shake hands or exchange things with your left hand. The majority of the country is religious and even though some are not religious, its still part of their culture. Its considered very rude and sometime unhygienic
In Jordan, if you compliment someone on something, it’s impolite for that person to not offer that item to you. For example, if you compliment a man’s watch, he will literally unlatch it from his arm and offer it to you. Of course, you’re supposed to decline.
In London, don’t look for your train ticket/Oyster card at the barrier to the tube. Locals will get mad. Find it ahead of time so you can walk right through the gates.
In Japan, bow to people who bow to you. In general, bow to people when they give you a service. It’s a sign of respect and it goes a long way. Also, take off your shoes indoors and respect the culture.
Concentration camps are not a place for you get your stupid selfies for your “influencer” profile. Those tracks you’re standing on transported many to their death.
It’s okay to take pictures for pictures for memories that you came here. But those people who come here to take “sexy” selfies have no place being here.
Australia. For f**k sake. DON’T GO NEAR THE CROCODILE, DON’T TOUCH THE SNAKE, AND DON’T TRY TO EAT THE RED BACK SPIDER. These are all true things stupid tourists have done here, including some American picking a fight with a kangaroo. (The Kangaroo won)
Assume that I support Trump or am a fundamentalist Christian because I am a white American male. I’ve been talked down to by Germans in particular and don’t like it. I wish I had more than one vote, or be rich enough to live in different countries as my mood and politics changes, but that is not in the cards.
In England, respect the queues and do not cut. We will stare at you passive aggressively with the fury of a thousand suns.
In Paris, you should always say “bonjour” when entering a shop or restaurant and “au revoir” when leaving. Even if you don’t purchase anything or walk right in and out.
Don’t talk to anyone in public. Only approach people for conversations if they are receptionists or something similar.
It’s not for your security or anything, but it freaks us the hell out. No one talks to strangers in Norway, unless you’re hiking and above the treelines.
You are allowed to wear Flip flops and shorts wherever you go. The fancy city area? Flipflop and Shorts are perfect. That 5 star hotel? Flip flops are welcomed. Public transport? You are weird if you do not wear them
In Germany, you should never be afraid of talking to us in German. We love it!
Any tourist who brings up the courage to ask us for directions or anything else in one of the hardest european languages just makes our day!
Don’t touch the wildlife in Australia. If it isn’t poisonous, violent or otherwise ill-mannered and dangerous, it’s probably protected or endangered.
In South Africa when you go on a “safari” (we call it a game drive), you must never ever get out of your vehicle or get close to any big animals because that is how there are stories of people dying to animals here. Just please stay safe and obey the rules to save lives.
By all means, get off the beaten path and see the “good” and the “bad” if you want to. However, don’t go to a struggling neighbourhood to feel better about yourself or learn to appreciate what you have. Poverty is not entertainment
As a New Yorker, please don’t take selfies at the 9/11 memorial. Photograph the memorial, photograph the names, or in the event that one of the names means something to you I’m okay with you snapping a selfie. But the typical smiling-tourist selfies are crass.
In Korea, the eldest person at the table should start eating first. Don’t pick up your chopsticks, spoon, or whatever utensil you’re using until the oldest person has started eating.
In Mexico City, never get into a cab before making sure it has a visible sign with the driver’s ID and a working meter. Also you might want to follow your location on a map so you’ll know if the driver is taking you around in circles.
In many metro cars in France, the doors still have a manual open signal. If you’re closest to the exit door, you’re expected to twist the lever to make it open. Do this just a second before the train actually stops to look like a local.
In China, NEVER go out without carrying toilet paper or tissues on you. It’s never in public restrooms so you’ll want to keep some on hand.
When you sit down to eat in a restaurant in Portugal, the waiter will bring you bread, olives, or some other snacks. If you eat it, expect to pay for it. If you don’t touch it, they’ll take it away and pretend like never existed.
been hearing a lot of northern Europeans talking about bike lanes, so: In America, if you rent a bike, you should be aware that even if the bike lane is painted onto the street in a rainbow pattern with flashing neon lights, nobody gives a [damn]. You are not safe in the bike lane.
Southerners, USA: Be really mindful if someone says “bless your heart,” because that could mean you earned high favor or just stepped in a big pile of trouble.
Amsterdam: ride your rentabike bike carefully. At first glance it seems there aren’t any rules, but there are lots of them. One is not to get yourself or others killed.
Times Square does not represent the whole city.
Spend 15-20 minutes there looking at all the signs and lights then get away because it’s s**thole. My advice would be to explore lower Manhattan
In Malaysia, it is absolutely normal for someone to ask you what race you are, so don’t be taken aback if you are asked. It isn’t meant to be offensive. It’s just general curiosity.
In Denmark, do not stand or walk in the bike lane. You will get yelled at…and/or hit by a cyclist.
I live in Singapore, and in fast food restaurants and food courts there’s a common practice called chopeing where one can reserve a table by placing a packet of tissues on top. Tourists who haven’t heard of this and take a reserved seat will often get dirty looks from the local who choped the table.
If you’re visiting the US, don’t try to see too much. Rather, pick a specific area and do everything you can there. If you try to see the Statue of Liberty, the Smithsonian, the Alamo, and the Grand Canyon, you’re going to spend your entire trip driving. It’s a BIG country.
In big Italian cities like Rome and Venice, don’t eat in restaurants or bars in famous places or next to major sites. A coffee in Piazza San Marco in Venice could cost you like $30.
In Sicily, never order a specific bottle of wine at a restaurant. Just ask for the house vino. It’ll be cheaper and better. Also, there is no butter with your bread, so don’t ask.
In Germany our waiters usually earn above minimum wage so you never tip more than 15%. A 10% tip, or just rounding up, is normal for an average check.
I live in Japan. When riding an escalator, everyone stands on the left if they’re going to stand so that people that want to walk can pass by on the right.
Do not say ‘you live in the UK? omg I love London!’. The entire UK population does not live in one city.
It’s particularly worse when you say you’re from Wales, because you usually get the ‘is that a city in England?’ statement. The best part is… they’re being completely serious. To be fair this is mostly an American thing, considering they (as I understand it) mostly learn the geography of their own country.
Germany here, and this mostly goes out to Americans. You should never assume you can talk privately anywhere in public Germany, just because you speak english.
I don’t know if this is different in the US, but here, almost anyone can speak at least 2 languages, and very well. Pretty anyone can speak english, even more so in the cities.
I usually try to join in to any conversation americans have in the subway about how weird “those Germans” are!