Travel Tip Tuesday: Body Language

These little tips were inspired by Lonely Planet's Travel Etiquette 101...Body language is usually something we don't have to think about in our everyday life, but when traveling, it's important to realize somethings might be taboo or a huge offense.

1. Asia: they have a serious obsession with body language here and it is a big no-no to do anything with your feet. Your feet are the "lowest" part of your body and it is extremely rude to point your feet at the shrine in a temple or at someone. If you accidentally touch someone with your feet, you must immediately apologize, and never prop your feet up on a table.

2. Also in Asia: Don't touch anyone's head, not even a child. The head, likewise, is the highest (spiritually) point in the body. 

3. While in Fiji, handshaking is customary and may last through entire conversations. (Not sure I could focus on the conversation with someone shaking my hand that long).

4. Nepal: don't step over someone's legs (not sure why) and never walk counter-clockwise around stupas and chortens.

5. In Japanese baths, you must wash beforehand. If you don't and then get into the pool, you are committing a taboo as bad as peeing in the pool. 

6.  I have to skip over Italy, there are too many body language signals...so read up before you go!

7.  This one from India i've never heard of. If you want to pay one of the highest compliments to someone's beauty or intelligence, place your tongue between your teeth and with your hands wave the air around someone's head into your own space. 

8. In the UK, if you do the "peace sign" with your hands, palm facing you, that is equivalent to flipping the bird. 

9.  The thumbs up sign in Iran is considered extremely rude.

10.  In Bulgaria, you shake your head from left to right to mean "yes" and up and down to mean "no."


  1. So interesting! I did know the one about the UK peace sign.

  2. haha. Italy is my favorite. oh and India. really??

  3. This was so interesting! And so good to know for tourists! xo


  4. I have never, EVER thought of how body language can differ in different countries. I feel like I should bookmark this and read it before we take any trips abroad, or I'll probably embarrass myself horribly.
    Thanks for the tips!

  5. Isn't body language weird! Lonely planet has a drawing for all the funny italian body language signs...but man that one from india is definitely weird!

  6. I always love reading these things - there are so many little cultural innuendos and rules that never cease to amaze me. I remember being told not to pat or touch a child's head when I was in Burma - so interesting!


  7. Yes, never do the peace sign in the UK... unless you are trying to send someone a message. It's almost overwhelming to think about all of the other cultural habits. After traveling abroad, I am more forgiving for visitors at home because people don't always know what is polite where.


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