10 Things You Should Never Do While Travelling Abroad


A guest post by Rohit from TransIndiaTravels

There may be occasions in your life when you might need to travel abroad. This could be for studies, employment or just to enjoy as a tourist. Every country has its own customs and rules which they expect all to follow. There is a saying in English, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. This means that we should try to adapt ourselves to the culture and customs of the country where we intend to visit. We should learn to respect the rules of the country we visit.

People give advices on what one should do and shouldn’t on their journey abroad, but I believe, it is very important to know  “what not to do” while travelling abroad. This will helps to avoid unnecessary controversies, some of which can be downright embarrassing and may prove disastrous. For a start, here is a list of 10 things you should never do while travelling abroad.

1. Never Dress Inappropriately

Every country has its own dress code for appropriate occasions. For example, wearing a coat and suit is very normal in European countries, but it is not so in many Asian countries. In the same way, many countries frown upon shorts and jeans, whereas in certain countries, wearing shorts, jeans etc is considered very normal. In short, you should never dress in such way that you will be frowned upon by the local population.

2. Never Do Things Which Are Considered Unhealthy And Unclean

People in India, especially those belonging to the Northern states or certain Western states have a very bad habit of chewing betel leaves and tobacco. Resultantly they feel the urge to spit out the remnants. A cursory glance on the walls of building staircases in Indian cities like Delhi, Bombay etc. will tell you the correct story. We should refrain from doing any such activity. In fact, one very senior politician, who unfortunately is no more now, was denied a visa for visiting Singapore by the consulate office in his own city, precisely because of this nauseating habit of his.

3. Avoid Consuming Alcohol

Use of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Islamic countries. It is considered a blasphemy to gift a bottle of alcohol to any true muslim. Alcohol consumption should never be done in public places in the Middle East countries. You can use the safe confines of your hotel room or your house to satisfy your urge for drinking.

4. Never Disrespect Culture

Each country has its own culture and rituals. You should never do any activity which is considered disrespectful to their culture. For example, you should remove your shoes before entering any Buddhist temple or your shoulders should be covered before entering into any European church. People are fanatic about their religion and hence every religion should be given the respect it richly deserves.

5. Never Use Disrespectful Sign Language

In many countries, showing the thumbs up sign is considered OK. In certain countries like Iran, Bangladesh, Turkey etc, it connotes a very different meaning. Never point fingers other than your thumb while visiting Malaysia. Using left hand is considered disrespectful in countries like Indonesia. Patting someone’s head is seen as a token of appreciation in many countries, but it is frowned upon in countries which have an inclination towards Buddhism.

6. Never Voice Your Opinion on Subjects Considered Taboo

Everyone has a right to voice their opinion. But at the time of visiting a foreign country we should be very careful while voicing our opinions in public. For example, it is dangerous to voice our opinion in politics in Russia with people over the age of 40, as they have been and still are passionate about the earlier regime.

7. Display of Affections in Public

In European countries, it is considered normal to hug and kiss in public, but at the same time in certain Asian countries, especially in the Middle East, such acts may result in imprisonment.

8. Food Habits

It is considered disrespectful to the host in many countries if we waste food on the table. It is also considered impolite in certain parts of Italy if we refuse food offered by the host even if we have just eaten it. Please be careful at such times.

9. Traffic Rules

In India, people are not serious about traffic rules and regulations. But in other countries, people have to abide by their rules. Lane discipline is a must. We have to be careful about speed regulations and avoid honking horns while driving, especially in places like Dubai etc.

10. Never Compromise on Your Safety

People try to cut corners and resultantly they tend to give their safety a miss. In certain countries, it is dangerous to walk alone after dark. If possible always use a cab service. While planning to stay in hotels, please ensure that you check the reviews of the hotel before booking.

One can go on and on but time and space being a restraint, only ten things which are considered important have been listed above. It is advised do a complete research before embarking on any foreign tour to avoid embarrassment later on.

What are the things you never do while travelling abroad?

Author Bio:

Rohit likes to travel and experience different cultures. He is a blogger at TransIndiaTravels. He likes to treat other people the same way he expects them to treat him.

Written by

Travel blogger and tourism graduate from Bulgaria, working in the field of Digital Marketing and PR for travel brands.

Latest comments
  • Great tips on what not to do while traveling abroad!

    Use common sense, be polite and courteous. It also helps if you learn just a few basic words & phrases like ‘Thank you’, ‘Please’, ‘Have a good day’, etc. in the language of the country you’re visiting. It shows you are sincere and that you make an effort.

  • In Singapore it’s illegal to hug someone if they don’t want it.
    Never your the “thumb up” gesture in Spain, as it’s offensive.

  • Sorry about the grammatical mistype…

    (I meant “Never use the “thumb up” gesture in Spain, as it’s offensive.”)


    Jaywalking is very harshly punished in Singapore and so is bringing food and drinks into public transportation vehicles.

    Chewing gum is illegal in Singapore. Don’t bring any.

    Connecting to WiFi without permission is also illegal in Singapore.

    It is also illegal to bring the durian fruit into hotels, metro and various other public places in Singapore.

    Very harsh laws… and the list could go on.

      • I have experienced some of those things. Others I have known about in advance, so I avoided committing anything considered offensive in the respective country.

  • Great Tips! Living in Phuket, we see loads of people who should read this! Haha We love your blog by the way! Great writing!