From the way we use our hands when we speak to the way we eat our food, our national characteristics can have drastically different significations around the world. Here are the faux pas not to commit when you are travelling.
17 sure-fire ways to offend people when travelling
Our cultural differences are what makes our nations unique and what inspires people to travel the world in the first place. But wolf down a beefburger in India or throw a backwards peace sign in England and you could have a fight on your hands. Here's how to offend people abroad.
Give flowers in even numbers
Giving flowers in even numbers is considered extremely unlucky in Russia as this is a custom reserved for funerals. So if you're planning on giving your significant other a dozen roses, think again; a funerary gesture can be a real romance killer.
Leave the house with a cold
If you're out in Japan and suffering from terrible cold then you are highly likely to receive some menacing looks for getting out your Kleenex. Here, it is viewed as disgusting to blow your nose in public - the Japanese word for snot is literally 'nose excrement' (and that's putting it politely). It's best to excuse yourself to the restroom and sort yourself out privately.
Give a thumbs up
Rather than a jolly way to say everything is A-OK, a thumbs up gesture in Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Italy and Greece actually means "up yours". In fact, in Iran this is called a bilakh and literally means "sit on this". Charming.
Arrive on time
Whether it's sprinting in heels to catch the bus or getting wedged between the metro doors, we almost kill ourselves trying to be on time. In Argentina, however, you can embrace your tardiness in all its glory; arriving to a dinner date anything sooner than half an hour late will make you seem greedy.