When you travel to different countries, it’s important to do your research and adhere to the rules of etiquette. From ensuring that you do not offend by showing the soles of your feet in the Middle East to how to address royalty, the rules of etiquette are a must-have when traveling around the world. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting ones.

In India, the Middle East, and Asia, it is considered appropriate and offensive to show someone the soles of your feet; in fact, some cultures consider this to be an incredibly rude gesture, especially if you are actively pointing the soles of your feet towards another person. So, if you are sunbathing on a beach in Asia, make sure that the soles of your feet are covered up.

In Western culture, making slurping noises while eating is considered both annoying and inappropriate. If you can’t prevent a slurp, you may want to head East where your active appreciation of your food is considered as a true compliment to the chef.

Punctuality is a virtue and in most cultures showing up late for an appointment makes you look rude and inconsiderate, but not so much in Argentina where etiquette dictates that guests can be late up to one hour for parties. In Mexico, arriving 30 minutes late is actually expected — more time to get ready then!

Smile and the whole world will smile with you. Although this rings true in most cultures, don’t flash your pearly whites in Korea (unless you know them) as smiling to a Korean stranger is considered offensive. Apparently, Koreans believe that by doing this, you think that they are unintelligent.

If you are like us, when a delicious plate of food is put in front of you, you just want to eat it right away. If you are dining in parts of the Middle East or in countries like India and Morocco, however, you may need to be more mindful before you attack your plate. It is also considered very rude to use your left hand to eat your food. The reason being is that most people tend to use their left hand to undertake “bathroom tasks”; therefore, using your left hand is very unsavory.

Staying hydrated, whether you favor water or something stronger, is vital, but if you are in Japan, don’t look to refill your glass yourself as this is considered a real etiquette no-no. You should wait until a friend or acquaintance notices that your glass or cup is empty and offers you a refill.

While it was okay for Happy Days Fonzie, a thumbs up can cause offense in countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Greece, and Nigeria, so keep any affirmation digit-based activity on the down low!

It is also important to adhere to the appropriate etiquette at top restaurants, bars, or even casinos. That’s right, all poker players have to ensure that they adhere to a very specific etiquette, which includes not playing out of turn and treating the dealer with respect.

Whether you are visiting for a week, a month, or longer, it is important to consider the etiquette rules when visiting a different country. While most people are very understanding and forgiving of any misunderstandings, a little research into local customs and etiquette is not only greatly appreciated but also creates a good impression. It truly will make all the difference in your travels.

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