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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

Etiquette and politeness are top priorities among the British public but what goes in Britain doesn’t always go abroad. In fact, it can cause total offence! Don’t want to be caught breaking cultural code abroad? Just follow this advice…

Brits have impeccable manners, that is no lie but how Brits behave at home can actually be seen as offensive in other countries abroad. British tourists commit cultural “faux pas” every day, albeit unknowingly. It’s always good to make a good impression, if not we could end up like the Chinese with our own 64-page guide to “Guidebook to Civilised Tourism.” We don’t want that now do we?

Tip 1: Never split the bill in France.

93% of Brits think it’s totally acceptable to split the bill at a restaurant or bar. Not in France. That’s worthy of scorn and they have only one simple rule: pay it all or pay nothing. We feel sorry for the poor lad who gets stuck paying the bill time after time.

Tip 2: Never ask, “Pass the salt” in Egypt.

It’s an all too common dinnertime request and who doesn’t keep salt and pepper right on the table at mealtimes? Not in Egypt. It is considered a blatant insult to the chef, suggesting that the food is bland and lacking in flavour. Upsetting the chef is the last thing we’d want to do!

Tip 3: Never eat with a fork in Thailand.

We’re taught from a young age never to eat with our fingers but always with a fork, knife and spoon. In Thailand it’s a big no-no to eat with a fork. There a fork should only be used to push food onto your spoon, which you then use to lift the food into your mouth. Go figure!

Tip 4: Never give marigolds in Mexico.

Yellow marigolds are bright, beautiful and sunny. They’re a great flower to receive as a gift at home in England because they instantly brighten the day. Not in Mexico. Marigolds in Mexican culture signify death and should only be given on the Day of the Dead.

Got it? Right, then you should be alright for your next quick jaunt to France or holiday in Mexico.

Imgs: Casey Hugelfink / Flickr cc.

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