1. Religion In Scandinavia
Wherever you are in the world, you're going to find heavy religious influences. Some places might just be limited to big churches while in other places you might find the architecture and design inspired by religious customs. Whatever the case, religion is widespread, but it doesn't seem like everyone is as excited about it as most of the world might be. Take Scandinavia for example.
u/Qzy says, "You don't talk about religion. Got one? Good for you, but that's nothing to bring up/discuss". Seems like if you're a true believer you might just want to keep yourself from trying to convert others during your stay.
2. Queues in Cuba
Apparently, there's a special way to stand in line for different places in Cuba. u/mmmkeyboards over on Reddit explained: "In Cuba, it often looks like there's no line, but there is. It's called "el ultimo". When you arrive somewhere you ask "el ultimo?" and whoever is last in line raises their hand. You are now "el ultimo" and you just know who is in front of you. In the meantime, you can sit down in some shade."
Ultimately, you're going to find yourself not knowing where you stand in line if you don't look for "el ultimo". Just remember this phrase so that you can help yourself and the people who come after you find their way.
3. Finnish Small Talk
If you're from America, you're probably pretty familiar with the need to make small talk. It isn't always necessary, but there are those times when not saying anything at all can feel more awkward than having a small conversation. Sometimes you're waiting for something with someone you don't know and asking a few polite conversations to pass the time. Well, the fine people of Finland have something to say about that.
According to u/real_actual_doctor, "We are not trying to be rude, we just don't do small talk." There you have it, folks. No need to worry about weird moments of silence when in Finland.
4. China's Silk Clothes
Sometimes when you go to a country you feel tempted to purchase some of the traditional clothes the locals like to don. In China, however, you need to be aware of what you're buying. As u/rustyhalo93 warns: "Do not buy traditional Chinese silk clothes and from a shop also sells wreath. (no matter how beautiful they are) Those clothes are for dead people, and that shop is a shroud shop. You have no idea how horrifying to see a foreigner wearing them and walking down the street."
Yeah, we wouldn't be caught dead wearing clothes made for those who passed on. But for real, if we didn't know this, it could have easily happened to us.
5. To Those Of Irish Decent
Many people take pride in their nationality. For some, it extends beyond being born within a certain country as the traditions and lifestyle your parents teach you can make you feel like you've been a part of that world all your life. It doesn't seem like the Irish have the same opinion, though. if you asked u/rabbitgods, they'd say "Seriously, no one cares if you have an Irish great aunt twice removed, that absolutely does not make you Irish, and it's pretty insulting to claim otherwise."
Although some of us do have Irish blood flowing through our veins, we will take this word of warning to heart. We may not like it, but let's be honest: we weren't born there or raised as such.
6. England's Hidden Subway Rule
u/stephenhawking5 pretty agitatedly explained, "Don't talk to people on the tube. Got that? The tube is as sacred to us as the shower; it is where we reminisce about our pasts in complete silence. It is a memorial to fallen dreams, a cemetery of missed opportunities, but most of all it is a sanctuary of regret. And you will treat it as a library; Sit down, shut the f**k up, read a f**king book and ignore the tears rolling down the face of the person next to you."
We're not sure how easy it would be to ignore someone crying on the train, but if it's as personal a space as they say it is then we'll certainly keep to ourselves.
7. England's Politics
They go on to warn not to "tell anybody born north of Birmingham that Thatcher "wasn't all that bad". We can complain about how s**te our country is all we want, but you're not allowed to. We won't protest too loudly about it and probably won't even say anything, but inside we're consulting our in-brain thesaurus for things to put in the strongly-worded letter we're going to write, expressing our discontent at your behavior."
This one is a bit easier for us since we don't like to discuss politics. That, and we have never lived in England so we can't possibly know what it's like to be under her rule.
8. USA Friendly Conversation
u/AGirlNamedRoni admits that "[In the USA] we are going to talk to you. We like to make small talk with strangers because it sometimes leads to friendships or even just the perks of having acquaintances. Once we hear your accent, oh SNAP! We will have a million questions about your country. Some will seem ignorant, some will just be downright funny. Humor us."
This is very true. If you are someone who is clearly foreign you immediately become an interesting subject and potential asset. We love learning about the world at large and would love to invite you over if you're cool.
9. Finland's Personal Space Rules
This one's fairly straightforward and easy for many f us to relate to: "Do not go too near anyone. Our personal space is huge," says u/-manabreak. While there are different rules in America than in other places in the world, it's easy to see why this might be an issue. For many people, it might not be so obvious right away, but there are plenty who are very uncomfortable when people enter that safety zone.
It seems in Finland that you just need to be aware of where you're walking. If you think you might get too close to someone you might want it high-tail it out of there.
10. Sweden Also Has Some Personal Space Issues
At this point, you should be counting the rules: 1- personal space. 2-personal space. 3-PERSONAL SPACE. If you haven't understood that yet, you really should know how important it is to some people. u/Draculas_Dentist says, "I live in Sweden. Don't get too close to me, our personal space is rather big. If you're taking the bus, do not ever sit down next to another person if there's other free seats."
It turns out that this whole personal space thing also extends to sitting on the bus. With that in mind, you might just want to avoid getting near somebody at all.
11. Korean Spacing Issues
It seems the exact opposite goes on in Korea. "I live in Korea. Off the top of my head: people are going to touch/gently push/bump into you in public places, without saying anything like "excuse me" or the Korean equivalent - this is a crowded place, get used to it," explained u/waynefoolx. It seems as if you were hoping for the comfort of plenty of personal space, Korea is not where you want to head for your next destination.
If you prefer somewhere where you can keep all to yourself, there are plenty of places to go. We just learned Finland and Sweden are two such countries, and while it depends on where you are in the USA, one thing is for sure: in Korea, you won't find it.
12. Keep Your Hands To Yourself In The USA
One thing you don't want to do, however, is touch people without permission. u/Alexandervz says, "do not pick up babies. Anywhere. I went to Costco with a few Korean foreign exchange student friends and one of them picked up a baby from the cart. The mother was looking away and when she turned back I saw the instant fear in her eyes. I told my friend to put the baby down and explained to the mom that they were foreign and it's okay to touch babies in Korea."
While it may be okay to do things like this in other countries, it doesn't always translate well in others. You should always try to find out the right or wrong things to do when you're going to be somewhere else long-term.
13. Kissing Hello In Italy
There are many cultures in the world that use kissing as a form of saying hello. While some might be used to a firm handshake and others a hug, there are many places that put an emphasis on kissing twice or even thrice on either side of someone's cheek. u/escaday confirms the same to be true for Southern Italy: "Both guys and girls say hi with a kiss on each cheek. No such thing as personal space."
So if you meet someone in Italy, be sure you give them a warm "hello" in the proper way. Don't be shocked that this involves a few kisses and be sure to get the sides correct.
14. Italian Road Rage
They continue to talk about Italy with a word of warning. u/escaday says, "If you're driving, be extremely careful. Everything is supposed to be an advice, not actual laws. (I mean everything is supposed to be laws, is just taken as an advice)." As if the first part wasn't convincing enough, the rest of the warning where they get the laws and advice mixed up makes it seems even more serious.
So when you go to Italy, make sure you aren't just being cautious of the kissing culture, but also the cars on the road. You don't want to get yourself hurt. Maybe walking is the right idea.
15. Be Sure To Say Thank You
u/escady's final piece of advice has to do with the warm hospitality you might be faced with. They said, "If you happen to have some friend's mother or grandmother cook for you, make sure you compliment her thoroughly and clearly state that you never had such an amazing meal wherever you're from (there's a reasonable chance that could actually be true)."
You heard that folks. It doesn't matter how much you actually like it. It turns out in this case a white lie might even be the best form of flattery instead f speaking the truth. Unless that truth is how much you love the food.
16. Denmark Bike Lane Road Rage
If you were afraid of Italy because of their road rage, you might want to also be aware of some other countries and their traditional driving practices. Apparently, if you decide not to drive while you're in Denmark, you need to keep yourself away from the bike lane (though you should be doing that anyway). u/Tiralina really wants you to know this, and shouts, "DO NOT STAND OR WALK IN THE BIKE LANE! You will get yelled at and/or run over."
We wouldn't want that happening to you. And you probably wouldn't want that either. Please be mindful of where your body is positioned in space and keep yourself far from the bike lane.
17. USA Bike Lanes
In response to some of the other comments made on the subreddit, a since-deleted user said, "been hearing a lot of northern Europeans talking about bike lanes, so: In America, if you rent a bike, you should be aware that even if the bike lane is painted onto the street in a rainbow pattern with flashing neon lights, nobody gives a s**t. You are not safe in the bike lane."
The other thing to note is that if you are on the sidewalk, you may encounter some bikers there, too, as there are many cities where this is legal. Even if it is illegal in certain areas, crazy drivers keep people from driving their bikes on the street, especially if there are bigger sidewalks.
18. Respect The Elderly in Korea
u/waynefoolx is back to explain that "you should always be extra deferential to elders, especially if you're young (say under 30) (giving them your seat on the subway, letting them cut the line, things like that)". In Korea, like many other countries, not respecting the elderly is... well, disrespectful. You need to treat them with extra regard and kindness than you would to many other individuals.
That being said, we're of the opinion that you should always respect your elders no matter where you are. And if they act a fool and you no longer think you should respect them, it may just be best to walk away.
19. Korea And Age
In America, at least, there is the common notion that asking someone their age can come off as a little rude. When you're younger it may be fine, but asking someone much older than you can put them in an awkward spot as well as come off as an insult. In Korea, however, "people will ask you your age not because they're rude, but because in Korea it's important for establishing how they should address you when they speak," notes u/waynfoolx.
You should be aware that there are some countries that will literally use different words depending on age differences. Off the top of our head, Japan also does a similar thing. Just remember that and you won't feel insulted.
20. Korea And Public Displays Of Affection
"PDAs are frowned upon, even minor things like a long kiss," says u/waynefoolx. Finally, "same-gender touching/hugging/holding hands is common, without there being any sort of homosexual connotation men should avoid going shirtless in public, even when exercising or running or something like that (some guys even keep their shirts on at the beach, and not because they're overweight or something)"
So be sure to keep it to yourself and don't let it make you too self-concious.
21. Australia's Dangerous Critters
It's common knowledge that there are many dangerous animals and insects in Australia. Quite a few species of spiders, for one, have developed some of the most toxic venoms on Earth there. So it goes without saying, as u/stephenhawkin5 pointed out, "Don't pick up or touch insects - or any other kind of animal that you're not familiar with. You might end up not needing your ticket back."
We are already pretty wary of any type of insect, so you don't have to worry about us. But just remember that it's not just the bugs that can be dangerous so try not to touch any other living creature that isn't a house pet.
22. Australia's Off-Road Scene
It seems the creepy crawlies and other dangerous critters are not the only thing you must worry about in Australia. "Stick to the marked walking tracks, don't drive your car places it's not designed to go, and if you DO want to see some really wild, memorable places off the beaten track- make sure you have an experienced friend with you, with all the gear you need," says u/stephenhawking5, knower of all things British and Australian.
"If you do have a capable 4wd, make sure you've at least used it off-road too before you try something too difficult. Your soccer mum Audi Q7 is not a capable car, leave that [thing] parked beside the hairdresser where it belongs."
23. Vietnam Streets
When crossing the street, it can be hard sometimes to tell the right moment when you are safe to cross. When you're in Vietnam, u/ricehatwarrior explains that you should "commit to crossing the road. I know it looks scary due to the endless scooter stampede but if you just cross at a steady pace, they'll avoid you. Do not try to dodge or make sudden movements, you will get your [butt] hit and there will be no sympathy."
While that seems pretty scary, you don't really have a choice to not heed their advice. Just don't come back to us if you do end up getting hit on you're way to the other side.
24. Cutting In Line In The UK
Cutting in line is never a nice thing to do. Some countries are a bit more relaxed about it because everyone does it, but even then you're going to get some unkind words from some people. Apparently, though, it is so looked down upon in the UK that it is basically the same as committing a sin. As u/Aliktren can confirm "You never, ever, jump a queue".
While this might seem obvious at first, you probably want to avoid ignoring that rule even if you're in a rush. The people of the UK will hunt you down for life.
25. Japanese Signs Of Respect
Japan is very heavy on their culture around respecting others. It can get sort of confusing at times for people whose cultures don't share many similarities. u/LazzzyButtons tries to explain this a bit: "This is what I have to say. Bow to people who bow to you. Bow to people in general when they give you a service. It's a sign of respect and it goes a long way. Also, take off your shoes and respect the culture."
It seems that you should practice your bow when you go to Japan and when in doubt, give a bow. You can never be too respectful. You may look weird at the wrong moments, but you'll never insult someone with a bow.
26. USA: Getting To Know You Better
u/PolarisDiB tries to elaborate on the differences between bigger and smaller cities in the USA regarding why they might speak to you. They start off by saying, "Small town USA: When we ask questions, we're looking for ways in which we're similar. We want to know how you fit in, which is more or less a question of how we fit in, where we can help each other, what it is that brings us together."
So in the smaller town, people want to know who you are so that they can bring you in and relate to you on another level that might help you bring each other closer.
27. USA: Getting To Know You Better Part 2
They go on to say, "Big city USA: When we ask questions, we're looking for ways in which we're different from each other. This is so that we can distinguish ourselves amongst the giant crowd of people we're surrounded by every day. We want to know what unique, idiosyncratic new perspective you can bring on board because for the most part we've already heard of and dealt with all the rest."
Basically, in a bigger town where there are too many people who might be similar on some level, people want to differentiate themselves somehow to stand out and you might just be the one to help them do so.
28. England Check-Ins
Usually, if someone asks if you're alright then you'd think they were genuinely interested or concerned for your wellbeing. According to u/JackLegg, it's not the same in England. "If someone asks 'you alright?' Or 'alright mate?', this is not an invitation to explain how you are doing in any sort of detail," they explain. "The only acceptable answers are 'yeh mate, you?' And 'not bad, yourself?' Anything else is just weird."
Why this is, we couldn't tell you ourselves. You can only know how to properly respond to it now. So if you're crying on the street and someone asks you that it just seems like you're supposed to respond and carry on about your business.
29. Brazil And Their Dress Codes
Apparently, Brazil is a pretty conservative place, despite what you might see otherwise. "Brazil Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn't take off your clothes in public in Brazil. Yes, at least a few tourists are arrested every year for this," says u/schmook. "Topless is not allowed in 99.99999% of public places. We are very conservative. Even walking around in bathing suits can get you in trouble if you're not by the pool or on a beach."
So, if you were planning on having an amazing vaycay over in Brazil, you might want to leave all of your partying over at the beach. Oh, and bring a spare pair of clothes when you go, too.
30. (Southern) USA Figures Of Speech
There are an endless amount of meanings certain phrases might have. For southerners in the USA, there is a very specific phrase someone might say to you that could mean a couple of different things. "Be really mindful if someone says "bless your heart," because that could mean you earned high favor or just stepped in a big pile of trouble," explains u/napalmkitten.
This one is all too true. If you do something really nice for someone they will be elated and say, "bless your heart". Likewise, if you do something really foolish they might say it but really mean "Dear Lord, please have mercy on this child."
31. Indian Honorifics
"There are lots of little cultural taboos," says stephenhawking5 (have they lived everywhere?!). "But one thing I can remember right now is, never refer to someone older than you by their name. If you are young (below 20-ish), you can refer to middle-aged and older people as 'Aunty' and 'Uncle', or 'Sir' and 'Ma'am'. It gets slightly confusing when you are around 20 (like I am) and the person is in their late twenties or early thirties. But yeah. Never call someone older by their name."
It seems to be similar there as it is in America. People you don't know or people older than you are typically called "Mister", "Misses", or "Miss".
32. India's Drinking Water
Another thing u/stephenhawking5 was able to recall about India seemed pretty important. "DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER," they screamed. In general, if you have never been somewhere before, you shouldn't drink tap water at all. There may be pathogens in the water that the people there are used to but can make you sick. That and the potential for diseases and infections that no one is safe from.
The general rule is to always drink purified water. Whether that means drinking it from a machine or buying bottles of water, you should simply never drink the tap water from any other country.
33. Hospitality In The Philippines
It seems in The Philippines there are rules regarding your response to hospitality. u/hanbanee says, "When going to a friend's house and the family offers you have dinner with them, it is impolite to say no. Also, they would insist that you stay over in case you've had too much a lambanog and will give you the next best mattress they have. Before you leave, accept the leftover they give should you be hungry on your way back home. Filipino hospitality at its essence."
Honestly, this doesn't sound like a bad deal at all. If they offer and they don't mind giving us some food to take home or a warm bed to sleep in, you best be sure we're gonna take it.
34. Portuguese And Spaniards
Obviously, there are differences of opinion between different countries, so some of them might not like each other. That is, after all, and very simply put, the reason the countries go to war, although differences of opinion don't always lead to conflict. With all that said, there are some things you just can't do in other countries that remind them of that. "Portuguese here: Speak in Spanish with us and you will get punched in the throat," says u/ColdFusionPT.
So if you are able to speak Spanish and you're thinking of going to Portugal, you should think about only using your knowledge of the language to help you translate what they are saying.
35. Germany And Tipping
It's common knowledge that in the USA waiters are not paid well. In fact, if a waiter makes a certain amount from tips per week, they are technically the only work that is allowed to be paid below minimum wage. That's why they are so reliant on tips. But it's not the same everywhere. u/ABoutDeSouffle says, "[In Germany] our waiters usually earn above minimum wage, so you never tip more than 15%, normally 10% for small amounts and a bit less for larger bills."
Tips and minimum wage? Must be too good to be true. Maybe waiters worldwide should unionize.
36. No Off-Roading In Iceland
If you are planning on going somewhere to do some off-roading, you should probably go somewhere that has a very good community for that. There are some places that just aren't meant for things like that. Take for example Iceland. u/stephenhawking5 says, "Don't drive offroad. Because the tracks will stay for a long time in the land." If you don't believe that, then take a look at the photo below.
See what they mean? Thus, you should do some research before you go off doing things on your own. It may just prove to be harmful to the land.
37. Thailand And People's Weight
Most of the time, commenting on someone's weight will be taken as offensive. It doesn't matter if you are lightweight or heavyweight, it's not the nicest thing to make comments on it. Not so in Thailand: "When you meet someone you have not seen for a while, they will make a comment about your weight .. Heavier or Skinner .. they're not trying to be offensive .. it's just how they are ..," says u/damn_jexy.
So if you go to Thailand and someone comments on your weight or asks about it, you might just want to laugh it off and give them an answer instead of getting worked up over it.
38. Thailand Cleanliness
There are also certain countries that have certain understandings of what parts of the body are more important than others and what is considered impure or dirty. In Thailand, they seem to consider these things very carefully. u/damn_jexy speaks on this as well. They say, "Feet are considered very dirty .. and the head is very important .. don't mix them up, i.e: don't put your shoes on any shelf that is taller than your head."
These are some of the things to consider when going to other countries, similarly to how you must take your shoes off in Japan for example. So be sure you know these rules so that you don't end up making an embarrassing mistake.
39. Mexico's Three Sacred Treasures
u/dontknowmeatall says, "this is very important: three things are sacred here: the Flag, the Virgin, and the Football Selection. Even if you are talking with a malinchista, atheist, obese man who doesn't care about the three, you are not allowed to insult them. EVER. We can, we're Mexican and we can s**t on anything Mexican if we want. If you do it, you're on your own. What Miley Cyrus did to our flag, done anywhere else by anyone else is enough to get you brutally murdered and the records missing."
"Do not touch our three sacred things. EXCEPTION: if your Selection is playing against ours you can s**t on it up to six hours after the match started, and only of you win. The exception does not apply if you're talking to an angry drunk man."
40. Singapore Seat Saving
There are different cultural rules around saving your place in line or reserving a table. Apparently, Singapore has an unspoken rule about saving a seat in a restaurant that you wouldn't immediately understand if you're seeing it for the first time. u/Radioactivenewt says, "I live in Singapore. Where I'm at, such as fast-food restaurants and food courts, there's a common practice known as "chopeing", where one can "chope", or reserve a table by placing a packet of tissues on the table."
"Tourists who have no idea of this usually take the table obliviously and gets dirty looks from the local who "choped" the table." We would probably have ended up getting dirty looks like this if we hadn't read this beforehand.