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Global Travel Etiquette Guidelines

Global Travel Etiquette Guidelines

10 Tips to Smooth Your Way When You Travel Internationally


Just as people in our native country warm up to us when we are polite and show interest in them, the same is true when we visit other countries—whether for business or pleasure. Cultural sensitivity, and a sincere interest in the local customs and its citizens, is a must for traveling to other countries if we want to have enjoyable and pleasant experiences.


The following basic courtesies will smooth your way when you travel internationally:


  1. Greet others according to the local custom. Be prepared to shake hands frequently in Europe and to bow, or nod, when shaking hands in Asia.

  2. Allow for greater formality. Titles are often used, and you shouldn’t immediately call a person by his or her first name unless they specifically request it.

  3. Pay close attention to your grooming and the standards of dress in the country.

  4. Be open-minded. Don’t criticize the customs in the host country, and never express frustration that things aren’t done in “the American way.”

  5. Become familiar with the gift-giving customs and protocol, which vary greatly from country to country. Consider the person  receiving the gift, their status, what types of gifts are acceptable, and how and when it should be presented.

  6. Be able to say the “niceties” in your host country’s language: “Please.” “Thank-you.” “You are welcome.” “Pardon me.” “Good morning.” “Good evening.”

  7. Be respectful about praising or admiring your host’s possessions. In some cultures the host will be obliged to give the admired gift to you, whether he can afford to or not.

  8. Respect the dietary customs of the country. If someone is hosting you, don’t request food or a drink that may by contrary to your host’s practices.

  9. Know the protocol for ordering and the appropriate amount to tip the wait staff when dining out.

  10. Refrain from being loud in speech and attention-getting actions and dress.

By: Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick

August 17, 2016

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