How good is your knowledge of local customs abroad? No matter how much of a well-seasoned traveller you consider yourself, we’ve compiled a list of 7 Customs to Remember When Travelling to help you blend in with the locals on your next trip.
When travelling abroad, whether for business or leisure – or maybe even both – it’s always worthwhile doing a little bit of research beforehand to arm yourself with some knowledge on their local customs and culture. Not only will this help you get by much more easily, befriend the locals and enjoy your time more, it could also help you steer clear of any trouble.
To save you hunting around online, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most important – and some more unusual – customs to remember when travelling.
Mind your table manners in Norway.
Eating with the correct utensils is very important in Norway when eating out in public. Most meals – even sandwiches – tend to be eaten using a knife and fork.
Enjoying a celebratory drink in Hungary?
Maybe you’ve just landed an exciting business deal in Budapest? But, whatever your need to enjoy a celebratory drink make sure you don’t clink your glasses when ‘cheers-ing’. Hungarians actually pledged to refrain from clinking glasses since the 1849 war with Austria. After Hungary were defeated the Austrian generals celebrated by smugly clinking their glasses. The Hungarians then made a 150-year vow to never clink their glasses, and although those 150 have passed, a lot of Hungarians still follow this custom.
Invited on a trip to the Sauna in Finland?
Go for it! It’s not unusual for business associates to extend an invitation to visit the sauna together after a business meeting, saunas are seen as a preferred way to relax and socialise with friends and family. So if you do get invited – say yes! – it’s actually a sign that your meeting went really well.
Never tip in Japan.
Tipping is one of the most varied customs from country to country, so it can be hard to keep tabs on how much of a tip is expected from you. But try to remember, no matter how great the service you receive in Japan is, do not tip. In Japan offering a tip when you receive a service can actually be seen as degrading.
Eating out in China?
Don’t finish your meal! This custom was made famous by the fascinating adverts from Barclays Bank, so is quite well-remembered. In China, it is polite to leave a little bit of food on your plate to signal that you’re full up, if you finish everything the host may actually feel offended or concerned that they did not provide you with enough food.
Got a meeting in Venezuela?
Do not be on time. Yes – you did read that correctly! In Venezuela, it is actually considered rude to be early or on time to a meeting. For example, if you’re invited for a meal it’s advisable to arrive 10-15 minutes later than the agreed time. Arriving too early can be seen as too eager or even greedy! This is also acceptable in India too, where they’re far more relaxed about time.
Modesty is important in Dubai.
Situated in an Islamic country, Dubai has some very strict rules regarding modesty which range from clothing to public displays of affection and general behaviour. To stay on the safe side, women should dress modestly in public places wearing clothing which covers the tops of the arms and legs.
Mind your manners in public and avoid swearing which is considered an obscene act and could potentially land you in jail! Public displays of affection are also frowned upon, and even a kiss in public could see you being arrested.
We hope these travel tips stay cemented in your mind for your next holiday or business trip, remember to follow us on social media @GrayDawesGroup to continue receiving helpful travel advice and tips.