When you’re off travelling the world, chances are that you stick out like a sore thumb, that’s just the way it is. But lots of travellers really don’t help themselves, putting their foot in it by coming out with insensitive or embarrassing things, usually completely unintentionally. It’s impossible to totally blend in with the locals on your travels, but here are some big things you should try to avoid.
Russia – “It’s amazing how much things have improved since the Soviet Union“
If you’re speaking to Russians of a certain age, they may hold some nostalgia for the old times of the USSR. Even if they don’t, and enjoy modern life much more than they did back then, they probably won’t take kindly to a foreigner going on about it when they don’t fully understand the situation.
Brazil – “Hola, Como Estas?” (That’s Spanish by the way…)
What we’re trying to say here is don’t assume that because they speak Spanish in Argentina, Bolivia and basically the hole of South America, that they do here. That’e because, in Brazil, the national language is Portuguese. But even if you’re fluent in that, you still might struggle, because the locals have their own Brazilian spin on it.
Germany – “Happy Birthday for Tomorrow“
To wish somebody a happy birthday before the day itself is actually considered to be really bad luck in Germany. The superstition goes that something bad will happen to the person (they could even die!) if you do, so don’t do it!
Portugal – “Do you have any slat or pepper?“
The Portuguese are very proud of their cooking, so asking for extra seasoning or condiments can come across as casting aspersion on the chef!
Come back tomorrow to learn more international customs.