Travel

Common Ways Tourists Are Offensive in Foreign Countries

tourist holding two thumbs up
Alliance/Shutterstock

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"

man making okay sign with fingers
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

woman sitting on the kitchen counter
Edyta Pawlowska/Shutterstock

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

chopsticks sticking up in a bowl of food
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