Jennys Travel

Cultural Insights: What to Do and What Not to Do in Different Cultural Settings

Cultural Insights - Featured Image

Travelling to different parts of the world is a thrilling adventure filled with new experiences, stunning landscapes, and diverse cultures. However, to make the most of your journey, it’s crucial to understand and respect the cultural norms of your destination. At Jenny’s Travel, a premier boutique travel agency and travel management company, we provide essential cultural insights, highlighting what to do and what not to do in various cultural settings to ensure a respectful and enriching travel experience.

Asia: Embracing Respect and Etiquette


Cultural Insights - Image 1

What to Do:

– Bowing: Bowing is a traditional way of greeting, showing respect, and expressing gratitude. The deeper the bow, the more respect is conveyed.

– Shoes: Always remove your shoes before entering someone’s home, temples, and certain traditional accommodations like ryokan.

What Not to Do:

– Tipping: Tipping is not customary in Japan and can be considered rude. Good service is already included in the price.

– Loud Behaviour: Japanese culture values harmony and quiet. Avoid speaking loudly in public places such as trains and restaurants.


Cultural Insights - Image 2

What to Do:

– Right Hand: Use your right hand to eat and give or receive items. The left hand is considered unclean.

– Greeting: The traditional greeting is “Namaste,” accompanied by a slight bow with hands pressed together at the chest.

What Not to Do:

– Personal Space: India has a different concept of personal space. Avoid touching people with your feet or pointing your feet at others, as it’s considered disrespectful.

– Public Displays of Affection: Public displays of affection are frowned upon and should be avoided.

Middle East: Respecting Tradition and Hospitality

United Arab Emirates

Cultural Insights - Image 3

What to Do:

– Dress Modestly: Both men and women should dress conservatively, covering shoulders and knees, especially in public places and religious sites.

– Greetings: Use the traditional Arabic greeting “As-salamu alaykum,” which means “peace be upon you.”

What Not to Do:

– Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol is only available in licensed venues, and public intoxication is illegal. Respect the local laws regarding alcohol.

– Photography: Avoid taking photos of people without their permission, particularly women, and refrain from photographing government buildings and military sites.

Europe: Blending In with Locals


Cultural Insights - Image 4

What to Do:

– Greetings: Use a light handshake or the traditional kiss on both cheeks (la bise) when greeting someone.

– Politeness: Always say “bonjour” (hello) and “merci” (thank you) when entering shops or restaurants.

What Not to Do:

– Language: Avoid speaking loudly and making unnecessary noise. Try to speak some French, even if it’s just basic phrases, as it shows respect for the culture.

– Tipping: Tipping is not obligatory as a service charge is usually included in the bill, but it’s appreciated if you leave some extra change for good service.


Cultural Insights - Image 5

What to Do:

– Dress Well: Italians value appearance, so dressing smartly, especially in cities like Milan and Rome, is a sign of respect.

– Dining Etiquette: Wait for the host to start eating, and it’s polite to finish everything on your plate.

What Not to Do:

– Restaurant Bills: Avoid splitting the bill item by item. It’s common to divide the total amount equally among the diners.

– Visiting Churches: When visiting churches, ensure your shoulders and knees are covered to show respect.

Africa: Embracing Diverse Traditions


Cultural Insights - Image 6

What to Do:

– Hospitality: Accepting invitations to share a meal or tea is a significant aspect of Moroccan hospitality.

– Bargaining: Bargaining in markets is expected and can be a fun experience if done respectfully.

What Not to Do:

– Public Affection: Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon and should be avoided.

– Ramadan: During the holy month of Ramadan, avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours.

Latin America: Warmth and Family Values


Cultural Insights - Image 7

What to Do:

– Greetings: Brazilians are warm and affectionate. A handshake with a pat on the back or a hug is common when meeting someone.

– Punctuality: Brazilians are generally relaxed about time, so don’t be surprised if meetings and social events start later than planned.

What Not to Do:

– Language: Avoid making jokes about the local language or comparing Portuguese to Spanish, as Brazilians are proud of their language.

– Gestures: The “OK” gesture is considered offensive in Brazil.


Cultural Insights - Image 8

What to Do:

– Family Importance: Show respect for family values. Family is central to Mexican culture, and respecting elders is crucial.

– Tipping: Tipping is expected in restaurants and for services. A 10-15% tip is standard.

What Not to Do:

– Rudeness: Avoid being direct or confrontational. Mexicans value politeness and may avoid direct refusals.

– Personal Space: Mexicans are comfortable with close physical proximity, so don’t back away if someone stands close to you during a conversation.


Travelling with an awareness of cultural norms not only enriches your experience but also fosters mutual respect and understanding. By embracing these do’s and don’ts, you can navigate different cultural landscapes with ease and grace, making your journey memorable for all the right reasons. At Jenny’s Travel, your premier travel concierge and travel management company, we ensure your travel is seamless and enriching.

Contact us today to start planning your culturally enriched adventure.

Happy travels!

Share on Social Media

Stay In Touch

Be the first to know about our specials and stay updated with the latest news from Jenny's Travel.