Mind Your Manners

When we travel to other countries we usually assume as long as we act in a way that would be considered polite here at home, we’re good to go.  However that is not always the case.  Different countries may consider a certain behavior, that is perfectly acceptable here, as rude or disrespectful.  That’s why its important to do a little etiquette research before you travel. 

Examples:

Egypt – While visiting any mosque, you must remove your shoes or place shoe covers over your shoes before entering the mosque.  Never set your shoes down anywhere in the mosque, except in designated areas.  It is not allowed and considered extremely rude even when done by an unknowing tourist. 

Japan – When visiting someone’s home you should remove your hat and coat in the entryway before the host opens the door.  Remove your shoes, pointing the tips of your shoes away from the house and wear the slippers offered by the host or you can go barefoot.  Slippers, socks and bare feet should never touch the floor of the entry way because it is considered dirty. So you will have to remove your shoe and step into the slipper or onto the floor of the house without cross contaminating.  Then, while standing on the foot with the slipper on the house floor, remove the other shoe and place it in the entryway and slip into the other slipper.  You may want to practice a little before hand.

Germany – If you have an appointment or a set time you are suppose to be some place be punctual.  Being late is rude.  If you are visiting someones home andbring flowers to your host remove the paper before hand.  upon arriving at the home shake hands with everyone in the home including the children.  When leaving the home you should also shake everyone’s hand. 

Mongolia – If you are wearing a hat greet people with your hat on.  Step over thresholds not on them.  You should never touch someones picture of Buddha.  When visiting someones home you should ask the host about their health, their family, and his livestock.  Never sit with your back to their alter, step over your elders or point your feet at the fire. 

Morocco – When knocking on someones door knock lightly.  It is rude to knock loudly.  Wait a minute or two in between knocks.  Step over thresholds not on them.  When invited into someones home step over the treshold with your right foot.

Russia – Reaching across a threshold is considered bad luck so never reach across one to shake someones hand or to hand them something.  When entering someones home remove your shoes wear the slippers offered or you can bring your own. Just make sure the soles have never touched the street.