20 Tips that Help Make your Holiday Travel Better


Travel photography
Looking out across Budapest

The globalization of the world has resulted in a sort of myopia in terms of understanding and adapting to other cultures, especially when we are traveling. Mass media has given many of us the mistaken opinion that everyone is basically similar, which is far from true. As traveling becomes easier and more of us are fulfilling our desires to see the world, it is easy to unintentionally run afoul of local customs and traditions. 

Kids holiday
Mr A enjoying the warmer weather of the South of France

Here are twenty examples.

1. If you are unsure of the culture and traditions of the country you are travelling it it's probably best to dress is subdued colours.

2. Use your right hand. While this can prove problematic for those that are left-handed, many Asian and Middle Eastern cultures it is considered rude to use your left hand when eating or for any other social function.

3. Don’t wear green and yellow in Brazil. Brazil is a fairly relaxed country, but it is considered rude to wear yellow and green, the colours of the Brazilian flag. 

seaside adventures
It's okay to wear Green in Nice, France but not in Brazil

4. Don’t wear blue and white in Hong Kong. Blue and white are usually worn by people in mourning and are not considered acceptable for social situations.

5. The Vatican has a dress code. Even when it is 90° in the summer, don’t expect to get into the Vatican Museums, Gardens, the Sistine Chapel or Saint Peter’s Basilica if you are wearing shorts. The same goes for sleeveless blouses, tank tops, miniskirts and hats. The best bet is to wear long pants, but if not make sure any garment goes well below your knees.

6. Men don’t wear jewelry in Hong Kong; the only exceptions are wedding rings and watches. Gold watches are considered especially tasteful and will be noticed. 

Monaco casino
The Monte-Carlo casino

7. When trying your luck at the Monte-Carlo in Monaco wearing sunglasses at a poker table is considered bad form, despite the warm temperature of the Riviera. Author Charles Dwain recently wrote about the controversy which is one of one of the most heated in poker.

8. Be careful going barefoot in India, Asia, and the Middle East. Showing the soles of your feet is considered offensive in some of the cultures; pointing the bottoms of your feet toward someone is especially rude.

9. Don't wear too much jewellery or expensive items in South Africa as you don't want to attract to much attention from pick pockets.

monochrome style
Me at Lolas Cafe, Cape Town

10. Shorts are a big faux pas in Egypt except when participating in certain sporting events. Even then they are not acceptable for women. A large percentage of Egyptian women wear head coverings, but it is not expected of tourists.

11. Morocco is one of the most diverse countries in terms of fashion. Joel Zack of Heritage Tours puts it this way, “You see styles of the twelfth century and modern urban wear." Some women wear head scarves although they are no longer required. Despite Moroccan’s relatively relaxed attitude toward dress, shorts are still frowned upon.

12. In Turkey the best approach is to dress casually but neatly. If you pack a raincoat, be sure it is a short one. Secular Turks always wear short raincoats, regardless of how much it is raining, in order avoid being mistaken for a conservative Islamist.

13. Whistling at a sporting event or performance in Russia is a sign of dislike. Whistling elsewhere, like when listening to your iPod, is considered bad luck.

14. Shopkeepers in Russia will open place your change in a small dish instead of handing it to you as some Russians believe that money has negative energy.

15. Be careful with hand gestures as their meaning can vary greatly from place to place. A “thumbs-up” is obscene in Bangladesh Italy, and Greece, as is the “OK” sign in Turkey, Brazil, Venezuela, and France, and crossed fingers in Vietnam. In general it is best to avoid pointing in any foreign country.

Brussels Aracdes
These two enjoying the beautiful Arcades in Brussels

16. Logo t-shirts and those with clever or funny sayings are best left at home as there is a real risk of offending those around you based on cultural differences.

17. When traveling to conservative countries or when planning to visit a religious shrine, dress modestly. This applies to both men and women. Some countries frown upon short sleeves for men. Women should carry a shawl in their purse which can be used to cover their shoulders or head should it be necessary.

18. Always remove any headwear before entering a building or residence in Scandinavian countries.

19. Japanese pride themselves on their honesty. It is considered rude to count your change.

20. Learn at least three phrases in the native language of the country you are visiting; “please”, “thank you” and “no thank you.” All will come in handy

When travelling in Bratislava, Slovakia it helped learning some key phrases.

It's always worth spending at least 10 minutes researching the place you are going and making sure you are aware of the local cultures as not to offend anyone. It's the differences that make the world such an amazing place to explore so embrace them.

Go out and explore the world, can't wait to go back to historical Venice one day

This is a collaborative post


  1. What a wonderful collection of tips. I had no idea Green isn't in favor in Brazil.

    1. Thanks so much Agata - yes there are a few interesting tips you would not expect

      Laura x

  2. Great tips! I'd love to do more traveling and it's so useful to have some tips like these before you head off!

  3. Aww I live the matching green shorts. They look so cute together.

  4. Amazing post and pictures! Great tips and I love the picture of the casino - very nice building.


  5. Great tips and I love your old travel photos x

  6. I fail a bit at the first one, I'm always the brightest tourist and stick out like a sore thumb x


Lovely comments

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