Things Tourists Should Never Do When Traveling Through An International City

When traveling to international cities, tourists need to remember a few things they should never do, such as eating and walking, chewing gum, or saying no to a dance party happening in the street. Take out a pen and paper because travel experts agree that tourists need to remember never to do certain things while traveling abroad.

In Bangkok, Don’t Get Into A Parked Taxi

Thailand
Vachira Vachira/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Vachira Vachira/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Walking around the hot, humid, and sticky city of Bangkok, Thailand, looks a lot less comfortable than an air-conditioned taxi. But don’t let those parked cabs fool you; they’re on the side of the road looking pristine for a reason.

Tourists in need of a ride should grab a cab the old-fashioned New Yorker way — standing in the road and waving one down. This is because those parked on the side of the road are literally sitting and waiting to exploit tourists, turning off their meters and making them pay outrageous sums.

In Kuala Lumpur, Don’t Wear Tank Tops, Shorts, Or Skirts

Thailand
Melissa Mullin/unsplash
Melissa Mullin/unsplash

For tourists traveling around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it is important to keep in mind the specific clothing that’s being worn in places of worship, namely temples.

Even though the weather in Malaysia can get very hot and humid, pretty much asking for people to wear short skirts, shorts, and tank tops, it’s not appropriate clothing for a temple visit. Tourists need to dress conservatively, wearing articles that stretch below the knee and cover their shoulders.

Don’t Eat And Walk In Rome

Thailand
Josh Pereira/unsplash
Josh Pereira/unsplash

Eating is sacred in Rome. Actually, mealtimes are pretty much sacred all over Italy! So, tourists shouldn’t make the mistake of grabbing a quick bite to eat and walking with the food. That move is a big no-no.

Even though street food is becoming more common, customers are still “expected” to sit down to enjoy the meal, even if that means walking to a park and finding a bench. Of course, gelato is the exception to this rule.

In Paris, Don’t Spend Money On Water Bottles

mineragua-sparkling-water-EUIDDEK66JU-unsplash
mineragua sparkling water/unsplash
mineragua sparkling water/unsplash

Paris, France, is one of the more expensive cities in the world. Even so, it is on a lot of people’s bucket lists, as it is The City of Light, love, and adventure. But if there is one thing people should avoid doing in Paris, it’s spending money on water bottles.

Instead, purchase a reusable bottle, as there are Wallace Fountains, public drinking fountains located all around the city. Save the money you’d spend on a water bottle for some delicious pastries instead!

Don’t Smile At Every Stranger You Pass In Moscow

Don't Smile At Every Stranger You Pass In Moscow
Brock Wegner/unspalsh
Brock Wegner/unspalsh

It might sound silly to people from the United States, where smiling at strangers is a regular occurrence, but it’s a bit different in Moscow, Russia. There, the random smiling at strangers on the street is considered very strange and abnormal.

So, it’s something tourists should avoid doing while traveling to the city. There is no need to make the locals feel uncomfortable or to give them a reason to think the foreigner is a bit crazy!

In Tokyo, Don’t Fall Prey To Chopstick Taboos

In Tokyo, Don't Fall Prey To Chopstick Taboos
Nate Johnson/unsplash
Nate Johnson/unsplash

Chopsticks are the utensil of choice in Tokyo, Japan. But tourists should keep in mind a few chopstick rules if they feel like swapping a fork for the traditional utensil. First, it is important to note that rubbing chopsticks together is considered rude.

Also, if a communal dish is shared amongst everyone at the table, tourists should remember to use their own chopsticks and move the selected food to their plate before eating.

Out Of Respect, Keep Your Feet On The Floor In Bali

In Tokyo, Don't Fall Prey To Chopstick Taboos
Jasper Garratt/unsplash
Jasper Garratt/unsplash

In Buddhist culture, the head symbolizes the purest part of the body while the feet are impure. While traveling in Bali, Indonesia, this is an important concept for tourists to remember since pointing with a foot or touching someone with a foot is considered disrespectful.

And don’t even think about pointing a toe towards a temple, shrine, or statue of Buddha. This is considered one of the highest forms of disrespect.

Don’t Even Think About Chewing Gum In Singapore

In Tokyo, Don't Fall Prey To Chopstick Taboos
Quinten de Graaf/unsplash
Quinten de Graaf/unsplash

The city-state of Singapore is well-known for its cleanliness. Because of this, something as simple and innocent as chewing gum is a major offense. When not disposed of properly, gum tends to stain, stick to pavement, and leave a mess that no one tends to clean up.

Travelers need to realize that unpacking their gum from any purse, backpack, or suitcase should be priority number one when they’re packing for a trip to Singapore.

Don’t Rely On Specific Phone Applications In Shanghai

In Tokyo, Don't Fall Prey To Chopstick Taboos
Andriyko Podilnyk/unsplash
Andriyko Podilnyk/unsplash

When traveling to Shanghai, China, tourists have to keep in mind that some of their most trusted and highly-used phone applications aren’t going to work. Social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are blocked with the city.

Google won’t even work, including G-Mail and Google Maps! It’s important for travelers not to rely on those applications if it’s their main form of communication with people outside China.

Don’t Wear Flip-Flops In Mexico City

In Tokyo, Don't Fall Prey To Chopstick Taboos
Kacey Nguyen/unsplasg
Kacey Nguyen/unsplasg

It might sound weird not wearing flip-flops in Mexico, but when it comes to Mexico City, that specific form of footwear will get tourists a few strange looks.

It’s important to keep in mind that Mexico City isn’t the beach, and the city slickers will be wondering if a tourist is lost, got on the wrong plane, or didn’t get the memo that sneakers are the way to go. Not to mention, the dirty streets call for closed-toed shoes.

Don’t Miss Out On Markets In São Paulo

São Paulo
Colin Lloyd/unsplash
Colin Lloyd/unsplash

Brazil has so much more to offer than beautiful beaches. The city of São Paulo, for example, is a foodie’s dream. Between the traditional Brazilian food and other international restaurants, it’s paradise.

That being said, it’s important to stray from restaurants and venture into São Paulo’s amazing market scene, where street food is the name of the game. Many people who have traveled to this city highly recommend the Sunday Feira do Bixiga flea market.

Passing Objects With Your Left Hand In Mumbai Is A No-No

São Paulo
Chinh le Duc/unsplash
Chinh le Duc/unsplash

In Mumbai, India, a person’s left hand is considered unclean. Because of this, locals wouldn’t dare pass an object, eat, or really do anything of importance with their left hand, as it’s considered disrespectful and unsanitary.

This cultural aspect of Mumbai and all throughout India is important for tourists to keep in mind. They wouldn’t want to get weird looks from locals or be rude without realizing what they did wrong.

There Is No Such Thing As “I Can’t Dance” In Bogotá

Bogotá
Ardian Lumi/unsplash
Ardian Lumi/unsplash

Life is one big party in Bogotá, Colombia. From locals solidifying new friendships with shots of the local spirit aguardiente to dancing in the streets, it’s a land of smiles, music, and a whole lot of fun.

That being said, tourists need to remember that there is no such thing as “I can’t dance” when it comes to busting a move in Bogotá. It’s all about faking it until you make it, grabbing the hand of a local and shimmying out on the dance floor.

Driving In Manila Isn’t For The Faint Of Heart (Don’t Do It)

Bogotá
Julie Tupas/unsplash
Julie Tupas/unsplash

Driving in the Filipino city of Manila is akin to Darwin’s survival of the fittest since it’s every person for themselves on the crazy streets. Not only do the huge buses swerve in and out of lanes, but the motorbikes will stop, turn, and cut people off without a blinker or second thought.

Pretty much, when it comes to being a tourist, it’s best to hire a driver since they’ll be used to the organized chaos of the city’s streets.

Don’t Wear Revealing Clothing In Cairo

Cairo
Spencer Davis/unsplash
Spencer Davis/unsplash

When traveling in Cairo, it’s important to remember that Egypt is an Islamic country. That means short skirts, sundresses, and exposing shoulders or too much skin isn’t the best idea.

Yes, it might be hot in Cairo, but it’s better to respect the locals than sightseeing in a crop top. Instead, think about packing light and loose maxi dresses, shawls, and even cotton t-shirts and blouses that don’t expose too much skin.

Taking Pictures Is A Messy Business In Riyadh

Cairo
Alicia Steels/unsplash
Alicia Steels/unsplash

While on vacation, it’s normal for tourists to want to snap pictures, keeping memories of the fun times they had in a foreign city. Well, that innocent activity is a bit less innocent in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In this particular city, tourists need to be very careful where they point their camera lens.

Never take a picture of a government building, military institution, or a palace (no matter how beautiful). Also, taking pictures of locals is frowned upon and can get foreigners in trouble.

Taste-Testing Street Food Samples = Buying In Lagos

Lagos
ima enoch/unsplash
ima enoch/unsplash

For many places around the world, street food is a way of life. Lagos, Nigeria, is no different! Multiple markets and street food vendors are waiting for customers to come and try their delicious cuisine throughout the city.

The one thing tourists have to keep in mind, though, is that while locals are more than willing to give out samples of their product, it’s not exactly free. Never walk away from a vendor without giving them a little cash in return; it’s only polite. Otherwise, they’re not above making a scene.

Don’t Trust Strangers In Delhi

Delhi
Adam Waxman/unsplash
Adam Waxman/unsplash

The age-old saying of “don’t trust strangers” couldn’t be more true in Delhi, India. While there are countless nice people who would love to help a tourist, there are just as many, if not more, people who are career crooks looking to make a quick dollar off an unsuspecting foreigner.

Of course, this can be said for a lot of major cities around the world. Still, it’s worth noting for this particular capital city!

Ho Chi Minh City And The Art Of Walking Into Traffic

Ho Chi Minh City
Kim Hanh/unsplash
Kim Hanh/unsplash

Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is known for its delicious food, amazingly gorgeous sites, nice locals, and ridiculously busy streets. For Americans traveling to this city, take note that crosswalks, stop signs, and the concept of stopping for a pedestrian is all but a foreign concept.

Waiting for motorists to stop so a pedestrian can cross is a waste of time. It’s all about the art of walk into traffic, taking slow, confident steps, kind of like a real-life game of Frogger.

Don’t Eat Dinner Before 9 pm In Barcelona

Sagrada-Familia-in-Barcelona
Meg Tarquinio/Pinterest
Meg Tarquinio/Pinterest

Honestly, Barcelona should be renamed the city the never sleeps (sorry, New York). Local eateries don’t start preparing for dinner until around 9 pm, staying open all hours of the night for plates upon plates of tapas and pitchers of sangria.

Tourists need to keep this in mind since eating dinner around 10 at night isn’t usually in the cards. And because of the all-night nightly antics, remember cafes and shops don’t open until a bit later the next day with a city-wide siesta around noon.

When Visiting Baghdad, Leave The Drone At Home

Ho Chi Minh City
David Henrichs/unsplash
David Henrichs/unsplash

Drones might be a great way to grab amazing pictures and videos, but a lot of cities and countries aren’t allowing the technology within their borders. One such place that will confiscate a drone at customers is Baghdad, Iraq.

Pretty much, stick with traditional cameras for pictures and videos and leave the drone at home. Getting it confiscated won’t be much fun and, considering how pricey drones are, it’s a waste of money.

Don’t Disrespect A Queue In London By Skipping It

Ho Chi Minh City
Lci Jones/unsplash
Lci Jones/unsplash

In London, England, there are a few things tourists need to be aware of. The first is not saying anything that is even remotely disrespecting the Queen or the rest of the royal family. And the second is to respect the queue.

Tourists shouldn’t even think about cutting in line or jumping ahead of a queue. In London, the queue is sacred, and tourists don’t want to be “that foreigner” who thinks skipping is okay.

Don’t Wait In Line In Lima

Meg Tarquinio
Dimitar Belchev/unsplash
Dimitar Belchev/unsplash

It might be uncomfortable, as waiting in line is a cultural norm in many places, but tourists need to throw it from their mind if they’re thinking of visiting Lima, Peru. There, lines are pretty much non-existent unless waiting at a bank.

So, it’s important for travelers not to become frustrated if something looks like a line, and suddenly, a local walks straight past them to the front. They can do the same thing!

Inside Voices Are An All-The-Time Thing In Seoul

Seoul
Diana Polekhina/unsplash
Diana Polekhina/unsplash

Even if a tourist doesn’t think they’re being loud in a public area, it’s important to double-check their volume, especially while traveling around Seoul, South Korea. Speaking at a loud volume is seen as very rude and obnoxious in the city.

This rule applies to pretty much everywhere, from the streets to any form of public transportation. Travelers just need to keep in mind that an indoor voice doesn’t just mean inside.

In Amsterdam, Don’t Expect A Wild Weekday Party

Seoul
Long Truong/unsplash
Long Truong/unsplash

For many travelers, Amsterdam is a bucket list location. Hey, the place is known for its partying district! The thing a lot of tourists don’t realize is that they shouldn’t get their all-night partying hopes up when it comes to the weekdays.

When it comes to parties, weekends are the name of the game. Most venues are known to keep things pretty low-key during the weekdays, so don’t expect any wild shenanigans to go down!

Don’t Assume People Understand English In Lahore

Lahore
Sharjeel Khalid/unsplash
Sharjeel Khalid/unsplash

While many locals from Lahore, Pakistan, speak English, it’s never a good idea for foreigners to think vendors, taxi drivers, or restaurant workers understand the language. Whether it’s strange pronunciation or a complete language barrier, there is nothing worse than a tourist assuming something.

Instead, think about learning a phrase or two in the local tongue! No matter where someone is in the world, locals will be happy to know a person coming into their country made an effort.

Don’t Stay Close To The Sights In Istanbul

adli-wahid-3-QB-YKxTKY-unsplash
Adli Wahid/unsplash
Adli Wahid/unsplash

While staying at a hotel or hostel close to major sights is a great way to save on taxi money, it’s also a great way to miss out on local attractions. When it comes to Istanbul, Turkey, it’s better to stay within the city and not close to the major sights.

Staying in a “locals only” part of town won’t only be cheaper lodging, but it will be quieter and have a charm the more touristy parts of the city will lack.

Don’t Forget A 10% Tip In Prague

Prague
Blake Wisz/unsplash
Blake Wisz/unsplash

Seasoned travelers know that when it comes to tipping waiters, every country and city is different. In the Czech Republic city of Prague, don’t skip out on the tip, as it is custom to give waiters at least a 10% tip.

Keeping that in mind, it is also important to remember never to put the tip directly on the table but to hand it to the waiter. Also, if using a card, let the waiter know about the tip before they run the card, as there is no “tip line.”

Don’t Spend Money On A Car In Taipei

Taipei
Chris Yang/unsplash
Chris Yang/unsplash

Taking the time to rent a car in Taipei, Taiwan, is a waste of money. The public transportation system is not only travel budget-friendly, but it is simple to use! The MRT in Taipei, for example, uses English on their displays and color-coded lines, so it’s virtually impossible to get lost.

For people traveling to Taipei, walk straight past the rent-a-car booth in the airport and go straight for public transportation. Your budget will thank you!

Don’t Only Go To Dinner With A View In Santorini

Greece
Theodoris Katis
Theodoris Katis

Yes, nothing beats dinner with a view, especially if that view happens to be overlooking the gorgeous blue and white buildings and oceans surrounding Santorini, Greece. That being said, tourists shouldn’t fall into a routine of only eating at places that offer a view.

Not only will they be spending more money, but the food is just as good elsewhere on the island. Perhaps limit a meal or two to a spectacular view and then check out some other local eateries.