Don’t assume when you travel abroad that everyone has the same expectations and customs. In fact, you may be surprised to learn what’s actually frowned upon in other countries. According to OK Bail Bonds, (click here) from wearing inappropriate attire to temples and churches to using the thumbs-up sign, it’s wise to read up on local customs before you go to avoid a major cultural faux-pas.
Apparel and Accessories
As Americans, we tend to wear brief clothing, especially in summer, such as tank tops and shorts. We don’t really think twice about it. However, if you head to the Middle East, leave the strapless tops and short shorts at home. Due to religious views that the culture holds dear, you should dress conservatively here, especially when entering a holy place, according to Independent Traveler. Women: don’t pack revealing dresses, low-cut tops, mini skirts, and even short sleeves or capris. Do not show your cleavage at any time. Men: no shorts or sleeveless tops should be worn. Long pants and long sleeves are a good bet, or you could be asked to leave a place of reverence. Forget Velcro sneakers, flip-flops, and tennis shoes when traveling in Europe. Stick to sneakers only for sports, but for strolling around the city, wear good leather walking shoes. For places where infections and insect bites run rampant, do not wear open-toed shoes. Don’t don flashy jewelry in Europe or anywhere else for that matter unless you want to be a target of theft.
Negative Imagery and Behavior
When traveling to Germany, never mention the Nazis or wear any symbols indicative of that era. No matter where you go, it’s wise not to wear any clothing that bears religious or military symbols, national flags, or curse words. While we’re on the subject, leave religious jewelry at home, such as crosses, especially when in countries where Catholicism is not widely practiced. When in Asia, keep in mind that white is considered the color of death and is worn predominantly to funerals, which is the opposite of America where black is the color of choice for funerals. Don’t use the thumbs-up sign in places like Bangladesh, where it’s known as obscene. In fact, try holding back on all gestures, as you never know what could be taboo in the country you’re visiting.
Don’t Look Like a Tourist
The worst thing you can do on vacation looks like you’re a tourist. Fiddling with a map in the middle of a square, taking selfies at every turn, and donning souvenir bags in plain sight can all easily mark you as vulnerable. Keep souvenirs in your tote bag, and pop into one of the stores to pick up a couple of local outfits to better blend in with everyone else. While you might be excited about your backpacking trip through Europe, schlepping around a large backpack or rolling piece of luggage will mark you as a sure-fire tourist. Purchase a small tote to carry when touring the city by day. Be polite and don’t talk in loud or annoying voices. Not all countries embrace such boisterous behavior as large cities like New York.
The best thing you can do before leaving on your trip abroad is to read up on the local customs. This will help you blend in and earn favor with your fellow humans.
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