How To Research Local Etiquette Before Travelling Overseas

Photo: Sean Gallup, Getty Images

When you’re headed overseas, researching tourist scams is important, but you should also make an effort to look up local social customs — such as whether eating with your hands is frowned down upon or the exact firmness needed for an introductory handshake.

If you’re travelling abroad — and to an unfamiliar destination — check Dondoo before your next trip, as Johnny Jet recently recommended. It’s a website that tells you what not to do while overseas and how to avoid committing a cultural faux pas.

According to Dondoo, in Finland, you should not offer someone white or yellow flowers as a gift, which are traditionally reserved for funerals. In Uruguay, a “hello kiss” is considered a customary greeting. And in the US, it’s bad form to surprise friends by showing up at their home uninvited (which feels like basic etiquette?).

Screenshot: Dondoo

Depending on the country, it also has vital information on local laws and safety precautions, such as warnings of prohibited items you shouldn’t transport into a country or purchase while overseas.

To use Dondoo, just search for your destination or scroll to the bottom for its map feature. You’ll find other helpful travel details there, such as your country’s calling code, currency and which side of the road they drive on (in case you plan to rent a car).

And if you don’t speak the language, use apps such as Google Translate — or learn a few basic phrases so you can get by.


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