Travel Body Language

Don't Offend the Locals

Knowing how to travel is a lifelong experience, much like learning a language. When you can't just chat it up with the locals, one of the main cues you can go by is body language.

A Lonely Planet article entitled "Travel Etiquette 101: Body Language" gives a humorous and useful insight into examples of body language from Russia, India, Japan, China, Nepal, Morocco and more.

What's perhaps even more curious and entertaining is the sheer volume of comments - people chiming in with specific examples from all around the globe.

From Article

You step over someone’s legs in Nepal and don’t even realize you’ve committed a grave social taboo! Although most locals will excuse breaches in etiquette, wouldn’t you rather be informed? Read below for a list of etiquette tips, taken from our various guidebooks, to help you navigate different parts of the world.

1. In Asia, never touch any part of someone else’s body with your foot, which is considered the ‘lowest’ part of the body. If you accidentally do this, apologize by touching your hand to the person’s arm and then touching your own head. Don’t point at objects or people with your feet, don’t prop your feet on chairs or tables while sitting. – From the Lonely Planet Thailand travel guide (and other Asia guidebooks)

2. Also in Asia, refrain from touching people on the head or ruffling their hair...

Submitted by polyglot on Wed, 05/18/2011 - 03:20