Common Ways Tourists Are Offensive in Foreign Countries

Published On 03/23/2016 Published On 03/23/2016
tourist holding two thumbs up

Traveling, in general, is an invitation to make mistakes. But when you visit other countries, those mistakes get magnified. Even if you're a seasoned globetrotter who knows that they charge for water in Europe or that time is a little relative in the Caribbean, you might still be unfamiliar with all the local customs. And you might find yourself in some painfully awkward situations.
So to help you avoid said awkwardness, we turned to the good folks of Reddit to learn what's considered offensive in countries around the world (in particular, things that most travelers might not know about). The 2,000-plus answers ranged from the seemingly obvious (don't crap on the street in Japan) to the bizarre (and possibly made-up -- don't wear matching socks in Luxembourg. Really?) Here are some choice highlights.


Ireland: Think twice before ordering an "Irish Car Bomb"

Sweden: Give people plenty of personal space

Costa Rica: Don't slam the car door

Stefano Garau/Shutterstock

Brazil: Don't use the "OK" sign. Also, always offer to share your food.

UK: The "V" sign (with palm facing inward) is definitely not for "victory"


Romania: Only give odd numbers of flowers

Poland: ALWAYS drink the vodka

Edyta Pawlowska/Shutterstock

New Zealand: Don't sit on tables or kitchen counters

Dan Gentile/Thrillist

China, Japan, and most of Asia: Never stick your chopsticks straight up in a bowl of rice


Luxembourg: Don't even think about matching your socks

Korea: Tipping is an insult



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