There is a saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” so when we go to another country, we obey that country’s laws. The disparities in attitude and culture, however, can be quite surprising even for the most seasoned travellers. And if you don’t know the local rules, the least you can do is confuse the local people, and the worst — you could get a fine sentence, or even a jail sentence.
Driving rules and transport
- If you don’t speak Hindi, a rickshaw in India could charge you a lot more. And the itineraries and number of buses are not specified in English in India’s southern states. These are only in Kannada and in Malayalam.
- Driving laws are often breached in Bulgaria, Montenegro and Georgia (unlike Western European countries).
- Prepare to spend a lot on public transport when you’re in Great Britain. It costs £ 4.90 ($6.30) for a single trip.
- There is no way to take any public transportation in Israel during Shabbat except for a taxi. Or you can walk.
- In Vietnam, cars drive on the streets at peak hours. They drive at really fast speeds just like cyclists in Germany and will drive right through crowds of people. And if you’re a slow commuter, they might yell at you too.
- In Thailand, getting a taxi with a baby car seat is almost difficult and driving is not safe at all.
- Many stores in Sweden and other European countries only take credit cards.
- On Sunday, not a single store is open in Europe. You can’t buy food, either. In Spain, they are closed in the middle of the day each day during the siesta. They are open no more than 6 hours a day in Greece.
- There’s no such thing in store in India as a coordinated row. Whoever is the strongest and is able to push through, gets to buy the meal. There may be 20-30 people but you may be able to wait for hours.
- When you take a long time in a Thai store to look at something, and then you don’t buy it because you don’t like it, the owner may become openly aggressive. The people there are generally nice, but they could start yelling all of a sudden.
- Throughout Italy, almost every restaurant includes the service in the bill. When they see the final price, many tourists are surprised, because it’s different from what they planned. The Italian coperto is the price of the service that depends on how famous a location is, and where it is.
- An internet connection in Europe is theoretically very costly.
- It sometimes feels as though it’s not people working in Europe’s service industry but robots. Negotiating is futile and it sometimes is ridiculous. An internet user shared this story, “We booked an online transfer for 2 people, but one day before our departure we were joined by one more person. We were pretty sure we could negotiate with the driver.
- The price of coffee at a table and at the bar in all of Europe is special.
- There are many wires everywhere in the streets of Southeast Asia. They are often damaged aside from looking badly in photos, so people have trouble using the electricity.
- If you call a plumber, an electrician, or any other worker in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, you’re expecting to have to wait for them for weeks. The same goes for water purchase. It may take a long time to obtain it, and it is best to avoid tap water in this part of the world.
- If you are at an Indian restaurant asking for a non-spicy dish, you’ll always feel like your mouth is on fire. Don’t even risk trying a spicy medium platter.
- In Germany, burping while eating is considered normal, and sometimes even farting. Best case scenario, they apologize as if they’ve just been sneezing.
- You just can buy cold popcorn in France.
- They’re not drinking Tea in Italy. A teabag that costs € 3 is the best you can find in a restaurant. To put this in perspective, 3 euro is enough to buy 2 packs of supermarket tea.
- Only the luckiest people (even if you prepare all the food yourself and wash your hands properly) manage not to get a stomach virus during their first week in India. But your immune system trains so well after just a few days of torture that it never fails again.
- People eat with their right hands in Southeast Asia Countries. The left hand is for the “toilet business.” So do not touch your food with your left hand if you don’t want to be laughed at.
Habits, superstitions, and communication rules
- In Thailand, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries when they reach any house, they take off their shoes. Taking off your shoes whenever you go to a shop is quite tiring.
- In Canada, it makes you a responsible citizen to complain to the authorities. Your neighbour might come by your house, have a cup of tea with you, be sweet to your friend, and 30 minutes later, a group of people may come to your doorstep because somebody complained about your unmowed lawn.
- Norwegians can never sit in front of anybody on a bus they don’t know. Instead, they’ll be standing on the bus, even if they find it uncomfortable.
- What can be frustrating is the way European people seem to be friendly. An internet user said this, “I was in Sweden visiting my friend and I was treated like a queen. Her husband is Swedish and he was happy to assist me. Though I tried to refuse, he drove me around their town. As I returned home I was surprised by the call from my wife. She has told me never to visit again. It turned out her husband was unhappy with me living with them for a whole month.
- In Georgia, all the time, people talk about all sorts of small things. Many people enjoy this but when you spend 15 minutes explaining how you went to the supermarket, it can be very tiring.
- No one is in a rush in Asia. When you’re running late to the airport, a taxi driver might just stop for 10 minutes and eat some street food.
- In many Southeast Asian countries, when you ask for directions, they might lie to you and confuse you. We lie a lot, for a reason.
- The same head gesture that Indians make could mean yes, no or I don’t know, depending on the context.
Rules and fines
- In China, it can be very irritating to have to go through metal detectors all the time, even in the streets and in particular downtown. In Spain, if a policeman thinks you weren’t polite enough, you might have to pay a € 500 fine.
- The subway in Berlin is divided up into sections. The fine to go to the wrong ticket zone is € 80. You buy tickets from a vending machine and you don’t have anyone to ask for help there.
- In Singapore, for tossing a cigarette or chewing gum on the street, you can be fined $400. When you smoke in a public place, you’ll need to pay an $800 fine.
- Throughout Egypt, the taking of images of military artefacts and government buildings is strictly forbidden. You are going to go to jail for that.
Paid services and using money
- Most sellers don’t put price tags on their products in European shops and this is how they make tourists money. Try checking other locations for some souvenir before paying twice as much.
- Across Europe, certain facilities can not be paid for in cash. If you don’t have a credit card you may not be able to get to the airport from your hotel.
- You have to tip everyone in Western countries and Israel for everything: cleaning your house, helping with your luggage, giving you a towel at the pool, and so on.
- Discounts and discounts never get revealed in Europe. You need to be mindful of these.
- In Georgia, using the elevator is not free when you go up. It doesn’t cost much, but you have to use the stairs if you don’t have coins on you (and usually don’t). When you have bags to bring it’s not much fun
- There are no curtains on the windows in Sweden and The Netherlands. They don’t use mosquito-nets in France.
- Most of the Danish apartments have no bathrooms, just douches. And maybe the shower isn’t in the bathroom but is in the kitchen instead.
- In any nation, the “wrong” power outlets would bother everyone. Especially if your phone battery is dying and you only realize this when all the stores are closed in the evening.
- In the United Arab Emirates, too many antibiotics are prescribed by doctors. Even if you’re getting just a runny nose or headache. So, even if your child has a fever, you can’t have a doctor come to your home.
- A regrettable toilet tale from an internet user, “When we were in India we took a train to another place. My friend went to the bathroom and 5 minutes later he called me out of the toilet. He was desperate. The Indians didn’t use toilet paper, but he didn’t find out until it was too late.