Travel quiz: Are you aware of Cultural Differences?


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Going globe trekking? Aside from preparing your travel essentials, it’s also essential to do basic research prior to taking that flight out of the country, for there are different cultural differences that might spell success or disaster for you when you're overseas. Test your knowledge of various cultural differences when traveling — and see if you’re ready to take off!

In this U.S. state, it's considered rude if you remove the lei immediately after the residents put it on you.

When in Hawaii, try not to remove the leis they put on you when you arrive because being given a lei is a symbol that they respect you -- so respect them back by not taking it off right away.


Not all countries will approve of the "thumbs up" sign as a sign of approval. In the Middle East, can you guess what the thumbs up sign means?

In some areas of the Middle East, they will read your "thumbs up" gesture with the closed fist and open thumb as "Up yours!" Better steer clear of this gesture!


In Australia, men who hail this type of public transportation should sit in front. Which kind of vehicle is this?

It's best if Aussie men sit in the passenger seat beside the driver when inside a taxi cab. Quite strange, mate, but that's how they do it!


When visiting sacred places, like religious temples in Thailand or Indonesia, it's a custom to remove this before going inside.

Places of worship in some parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands require visitors to remove their footwear before entering, no matter if they're shoes or sandals or flip-flops. It's considered disrespectful.


In general, don't look for dishes with this ingredient when you're in a predominantly Hindu country or region.

The Hindus believe that a cow is a sacred animal. Therefore, they don't believe in eating beef -- but other animals are fair game.


The British are not fans of small talk if the talk is focused on this specific off limits topic.

The British are not too keen on divulging personal details about their private life. So if you're making small talk, just ask about the royal family or the latest celebrity gossip there.


As a general rule, one should never look for this kind of meat in a predominantly Muslim country or area.

It's a bit rude if you find yourself traveling in a Muslim country and ask for pork dishes. They're not big on pig there, so be aware of this cultural culinary choice.


Like in the USA, the thumbs up sign is an affirmative sign in this European nation. Which country is this?

Germany approves of the thumbs up sign as a gesture of goodwill. We're not sure if it also means hitchhiking, though...


When you do an "OK" sign with your thumb and forefinger, that should mean things are cool. But in which South American country is the OK sign not totally OK?

Brazil is one of the countries where the OK sign means another thing. It's actually a symbol of a private body part -- something you shouldn't mention or gesture to a stranger.


In France, the OK finger gesture will not be read as OK but as this numeric symbol instead. What number does it pertain to?

The hand gesture for zero in France is the American OK sign made by the fingers.


When you move your head up and down once, that's a nod meaning yes -- in the USA. But what does it mean in Greece?

Would you believe that turning your head from side to side means "yes" in Greece? Meanwhile, giving a nod means "no."


In this Asian subcontinent, it's hard to read if they're nodding yes or gesturing no if they move their head from side to side or up and down. Which country is this?

The Indian subcontinent has a unique way of saying yes. The head does a combined up down nod-side to side no gesture, like it's wobbling.


Americans like looking people straight in the eye. From which European nation do people do the same?

Italian people like looking at people directly in the eye. Staring is not considered rude in this country.


In Nigeria, staring one in the eye for a prolonged period is considered a bit rude. In which continent is Nigeria found?

Nigeria is in Africa. Specifically, it's in the West African subregion.


Thailand is another country which doesn't like staring. To whom do they teach this no-staring trait first?

Children in Thailand are taught not to stare into the eyes of adults. It's considered disrespectful.


Doing a high-five is considered offensive in which country?

It's a bit offensive if you do a high-five gesture in Greece, or even if you signal the number five with your open palm-hand. Saying goodbye with an open-palm wave is also not advisable there.


In many African nations, it is considered offensive or uncouth if one talks and talks while doing this.

When having meals, Africans prefer if you'd keep quiet. Eating is for eating, not for chatting.


Like African nations, people from this European nation also prefer if you don't talk while eating a meal. Which country is this?

Finns rather not talk while eating a meal. They suggest visitors do the same.


In this land Down Under, you can get away with not tipping in a restaurant. Which country is this?

Tipping is generally not a custom in Australia. However, in many high-end tourist spots, like hotels and restaurants, tipping is slowly becoming the norm for travelers.


In this European country, people would rather you keep quiet on your commute. Which country is this?

In the UK, people would rather spend their daily commute quietly. They're not fans of noisy bus or subway riders.


Slurping while eating is considered rude and noisy, but in this Southeast Asian country, you can slurp all you can. Which country is this?

Slurping while eating something soupy is generally OK in Cambodia. They share this noisy trait with Japan, where chefs find it a compliment if you slurp their soup noisily.


In most western-style countries, having your food served in various courses is the norm. But in this country, don't be surprised if they serve the courses all at the same time.

Malaysians love to have all their courses served at the same time. And don't expect them to eat their appetizers first and dessert last -- that could be rearranged, too.


Touching someone is always a tricky thing. In South Korea, slapping someone's back can only be done if someone is a friend or ________.

Giving someone a friendly slap on the back is OK in Korea, provided it's a friend or relative.


This country in Europe frowns upon people eating with their hats on.

Take off your hat or cap when eating a meal in Spain. They consider it rude if you keep it on.


Italians love their coffee, but there's a time for consuming specific beverages. Which coffee drink is considered a breakfast-only beverage?

Did you know that cappuccino should only be consumed during breakfast time in Italy? Don't order it after lunch or at night!


It's cool to tap to the rhythm, but doing this rhythmic sound with your thumb and forefingers is a no-no in France. Can you guess which gesture is this?

Snapping fingers is not a common gesture in France. Try to minimize your snapping if you travel there.


It's quite common for Japanese to make a bowing gesture to people. What should you do if a Japanese person bows at you?

A person is also expected to return the bow when a Japanese bows at them. The gesture is a symbol of humility and respect, so don't disrespect by ignoring the bow.


Which body part do people in Thailand consider sacred?

Ruffling someone's hair in a friendly gesture, or even patting a child's head, is a no-no in Thailand. They consider the head as a sacred body part, so it's not supposed to be touched by anyone, especially strangers.


Which country is big on keeping one's personal space, especially when talking with one another?

The USA is big on keeping personal space between individuals. Violating it is considered rude, so keep your distance!


While you need to keep your distance when talking about personal space in America, it's quite the opposite in this desert nation. Which Middle Eastern country is this?

In Saudi Arabia, it's not considered rude if someone talks closely with another.


In this Asian country, you have to wait for a citizen to start a handshake or any physical gesture since their custom says outsiders can't initiate it. Which country is this?

You have to wait for a Chinese person to start the handshake or the physical contact, and never start it yourself.


In this Asian country, it's perfectly OK to eat using your hands. Which country is this?

It's perfectly cool to eat with your hands, both left and right, while in the Philippines. They even have a term for this custom, called "kamayan" which stems from the root word "kamay" meaning "hand."


In this Asian country, it's not entirely cool to use your hands while eating. Which country is this?

Singapore frowns upon eating food using the hands. If you have to, they advise to keep it to a minimum -- like when indulging in Singaporean chili crabs!


In many parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, you can generally eat with your hands, but there's a preferred hand. Can you guess which?

In India, Morocco, and other nations, it's generally OK to use the right hand when eating. Using the left hand, however, is a great big no-no.


Some countries are still not big on gender equality. In Brunei, for example, men and women can't be seen doing this in public.

Brunei forbids men and women to eat together in public. So gender segregation while eating is a normal thing for them.


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