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Reise-Fettnäpfchen – How to Avoid Cultural Faux Pas

It is always important to know something about the culture of the country where you are traveling, not only out of respect for the locals but also to avoid embarrassment or creating bad feelings. In Western countries, cultural differences of this kind are typically small ones that shouldn’t worry you. But there are some things you should be aware of, so we’ve compiled some tips for what to do or not to do in a few different countries.


If you travel to Spain, you will likely enjoy a hearty meal since Spanish cuisine is among the best in the world. And, of course, after you’ve finished eating, comes a time to sleep. While stretching yours arms up while sitting at the table is normal in the majority of European countries, it can be viewed as rude in Spain. Now you know that you’ll have to stretch stealthily if you’re feeling tired.


If Morocco is your next travel destination, there´s something you should know. Moroccans are very friendly people and will do anything to make you feel comfortable if you are their guest. This is why if you are offered something, such as a glass of tea, a meal or a small gift, it is very important that you accept. If you decline the invitation or offer, they might think their offer is not good enough for you and be offended. If you accept, you will make them happy because they believe that they will be rewarded for good deeds after death. The way they see it, accepting favors is not only good for you but for them as well.


vía Flickr againstthebrilliance


When you don’t know the language of the country where you are traveling, it´s natural to try to communicate with signs or facial expressions. Something as normal as nodding to mean “yes” or shaking your head to say “no” is common worldwide… well, almost. In Bulgaria, it is the other way around. So if your Bulgarian is not up to par, it is important to take this into account. If you are asked (in broken English) if you liked the food, remember not to nod or you might be mistakenly implying that you thought it was disgusting.


When traveling to Greece with a group of friends you will want to know one thing for sure. If you go to a bar in Athens that is full and you want to order five beers, it´s natural to show the bartender five fingers. But in Greece is very impolite to show the palm of your hand to someone, since it means you do not like him or her very much, to put it nicely. So remember, if you ask five of something, always turn your palm to face you. Something similar happens in England. If you want to order two of something, your fingers do the victory sign with your palm facing out and not the opposite, since that’s like flipping someone off.


In Japan, if you´re invited to eat at someone´s house, the food left on the plate is a symbol of how you have tried. By contrast, if you finish all of the food you that has been served to you, they will continue serving you more food, since an empty plate means that your hunger has not been satisfied and that your host has not given you enough to eat. In a country as polite Japan, leaving some food on your plate is a good way to show that you’re full and satisfied.


If you rent Barcelona apartments , or in Tokyo, Marrakesh or some other place, be sure to check up on what to do and not to do in order to avoid any cultural faux pas. Informing yourself in advance can save you many embarrassing moments later.