7 Embarrassing Things You Should Never Do in Other Countries

Don’t want to look like a tourist when travelling abroad? Avoid these potentially embarrassing (and sometimes insulting) cultural faux pas.

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Do not tip when travelling in Japan
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Don’t leave a tip when travelling in Japan

Few customs vary from country to country quite like tipping. In one nation, you might be expected to leave a 20% tip to recognize outstanding service at a fancy restaurant, but cross the border, and you may find that tipping is something you should never do.

Service at restaurants and hotels will likely be exceptional in Japan, but tipping isn’t done; and it could be seen as degrading.

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Do not smile at strangers in Russia
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Don’t smile at strangers in Russia

Remember those old song lyrics, “Smile, and the word smiles with you”? That’s not necessarily the case when travelling in Russia. Russians see smiling as an intimate gesture, indicating a genuine affinity toward another person. If you smile at a stranger, they might consider you insincere.

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Don't speak with your hands in your pockets in Germany
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Don’t talk with your hands in your pockets in Germany

Planning a trip to Germany? Don’t talk with your hands in your pockets while you’re there, as it’s considered rude. It’s also customary to keep your hands on the table while eating, rather than resting them in your lap.

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Don't eat everything on your plate in China
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Don’t eat everything on your plate in China

In China, polite guests don’t eat every last morsel of food left on their plates. Doing so signals the host that he or she didn’t provide enough food or a filling meal. Along with leaving a little, it’s fine to burp after eating, as a compliment to the chef.

Check out these 13 Unusual International Customs You’ve Never Heard Of!

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Tips for travellers to India
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Don’t use your left hand in India

Here’s something you should never do in India: Use your left hand. The left hand is thought of as unclean in Indian culture, so always use your right hand to greet someone, exchange money, or pick up merchandise.

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Honking your horn is something you should never do in Norway
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Don’t honk your horn while driving in Norway

Something you should never do in Norway? Honk your car horn. In Norway, the horn is only used in an emergency, so your unnecessary beeping could cause drivers to panic.

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Always say hello when travelling in France
Brett Walther

Always say hello in France

Don’t forget to say hello in France. “Bonjour madame, monsieur” should be the first words out of your mouth, otherwise you’re subtly showing you feel the person is beneath you.

Check out our countdown of the 10 Must-See Sites in Paris!

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