Travel Etiquette: Do's & Don'ts

Brush up on your travel etiquette before you jet off this year...

When we set off on our travels we can get so caught up in the excitement of things that we can often forget that we are embarking on not only a trip of a lifetime, but a complete culture shock. Cultural norms within the world’s largest continent differ from what you might be used to in the west, so don’t let your shoddy etiquette stop you’re from marveling in Asia’s outstanding beauty. Follow a few of our simple travel do’s and don’t and get ready to immerse yourself in a different way of life.

Travel Etiquette


The Do's

  • Cover your head when you’re in temples or other places of worships. Also dress modestly; covering shoulders and legs is advisable, as well as your tattoos.
  • Eat local food. Part of travelling is immersing yourself in the new, even if its not be what you’re used to, it’s always polite to try the local food.
  • It can be seen as invasive if you get snap happy without checking that you’re okay to do so. So always permission before taking photos of the locals.
  • Check yourself before you wreck yourself! Things such as pointing or showing the soles of your feet can be seen as rude in certain cultures. Get yourself up to speed on etiquette before you travel so as not to cause offense.
  • Check the tipping etiquette for the particular country you are in. Some cultures see it as an insult!
  • Learn the lingo. Make it your mission to pick up a few words, 'Hello', 'Please' and 'Thank You' in the native tongue will go a long way with the locals.
  • Bartering is a way of life in Asia, especially at markets, just try to enjoy the experience and don’t be rude. These people are just trying to make a living so keep things chilled and fun!
  • Remove your shoes before entering someone’s home, and even some shops too. Keep an eye out of signs asking this and always comply.
  • When you’re paying for something in Vietnam, use both hands to pass the money

Travel Etiquette


The Don’ts

  • Lose your temper. This one is particularly important in Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • Pass items over another person’s head.
  • Know your place and don’t sit any higher than your host if you're invited to someone's home.
  • Try to keep both feet firmly on the floor, sole of the feet exposed is bad manners.
  • Both hands in your pockets may perceive you as being angry, even if you’re not.
  • Touching someone else’s head, cheek, or hair is consider rude.
  • Never use your finger to point at people when you want their attention.
  • PDA alert! Hugging or kissing your significant other in public can be frowned upon. Pay special attention to this cultural taboo if you travel to Vietnam, Indonesia, or Malaysia and keep the loving for behind closed doors
  • Using your feet to point at things, especially an image of Buddha is a big no no!
  • Do drugs! In many parts of Asia, the penalty for drugs are extreme and can even carry the death penalty. So stay away from drugs and just party safely.

Travel Etiquette

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Words By Sophie Maguire