Travelbag has unveiled travel etiquette guides after research revealed just 14% of Brits research local customs before they travel on long-haul holidays.
The survey of 1,000 people by the dnata-owned tailor-made specialist found many travellers are unaware of when tipping is appropriate, the meaning of common hand gestures or where burping is acceptable.
Nearly 80% of respondents did not know it is insulting to tip in China – where it can be seen to imply the employee is not valued by their employer – and two thirds were unaware that it can be considered rude to tip in Japan.
Hand gestures can have different meanings overseas – and nearly two thirds of those surveyed were not aware that the ‘OK’ sign is offensive in Argentina and parts of South America.
More than half would use a ‘thumbs up’ while abroad, unaware that it could cause bemusement in Thailand; be confused for the number five in Japan or cause offence in Argentina and parts of the Middle East.
Furthermore, only one in five respondents knew that a burp at the table conveys satisfaction in India and can even be a compliment to the chef in China.
Elsewhere, nearly three quarters of those surveyed did not know that crossing your legs is considered too informal in Japan and Dubai – and crossed legs are offensive in China if the soles of the feet are on display.
Paul Hopkinson, Travelbag marketing director, said: “Our expert consultants have an intense passion for long-haul travel and huge knowledge at their fingertips.
“We wanted to share our hints and tips in these travel etiquette guides to help holidaymakers that may be making cultural gaffes, because they haven’t researched the customs of the countries they’re visiting.”
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