Mind Your Manners! These Are Things to Avoid When Traveling to Other Countries
Whether you’re traveling on a budget or going to more ‘high-end’ destinations, it’s important for you to know and understand the local customs, which also includes local definitions of propriety and good manners.
In the West, many of us were raised to have ‘proper’ manners: don’t put your elbows on the table, give firm handshakes, keep your bodily sounds to yourself, etc. We’re so used to our Western standards of propriety that we sometimes carry it to other countries that might have very different standards of politeness.
Of course, while adopting local cultures and customs while you’re in a foreign place is recommended, make sure to keep it appropriate. Often, many westerners make the mistake of appropriating cultures and practicing it in inappropriate settings. For more information, thetruecolors.org has a great article on Cultural Appropriation that westerners should take note of.
*Burp* That Was…Polite?
In many parts of China, ripping a giant burp isn’t just polite; it’s a huge compliment to the chef! Although it’s not exactly “polite” manners, it’s also not considered rude or disgraceful, especially if it’s done at home or at a friend’s banquet.
It makes sense; there’s nothing more genuine than a loud belch and a tummy tap to let people know that the food was absolutely delicious.
Hi, Don’t Forget the Spit!
Spitting is often considered rude and unsanitary, but in some places in Sub-Saharan Africa like Kenya and Tanzania, it’s seen as a sign of respect. Members of the Maasai people will spit on their hands before shaking them to show respect to the person they’re greeting.
Fathers of brides will also spit on the forehead and chest of their daughters during the wedding ceremony as a blessing, while parents and well-wishers will also spit on the forehead of babies in order to protect them from curses and bad luck.
No Love for Lefties
As if lefties don’t get enough negative attention in the West, most of the Arab world and India also see left-handedness as both unclean and rude. In fact, the fastest way to insult anyone from that part of the world is to give a left-handed handshake or offer food with your left hand. That’s a big no-no!
This belief comes from the fact that hands have very specific functions in their culture: the right does most of the ‘clean’ work like feeding yourself, while the left is reserved for ‘unclean’ work, like washing yourself after you poop. With that in mind, you can imagine how horrifying it must be to be offered a cookie with an unclean hand!
Gratuity NOT Appreciated!
Especially in America, tipping is considered common practice, if not encouraged. However, what most Americans don’t realize is that the rest of the world doesn’t actually have that kind of culture, mostly because our service staff earns money through a living wage rather than on tips.
While most of the world won’t think too much about it when a person leaves a tip, in Japan, it’s often considered very rude, akin to telling the restaurant that they’re not making enough money and they need your help. The Japanese take pride in everything they do, and they believe that the superior service they provide is already reflected by the price on the menu.
Sole-less in Saudi
Most of the Arab World
You may remember an incident involving former President George W. Bush and Muntadar al-Zeidi, in which the latter threw his shoe at “Dubya.” For many of us, the response was one right out of Austin Powers. “Who throws a shoe, for goodness sake?” But, in Arab culture, it was a significant show of disdain. Showing someone the sole of your shoe is highly insulting, be it sitting with one foot perched on your knee, or reclining with your feet facing your host. The shoe is considered unclean, especially the sole, which is why is must be removed before entering places of worship, homes, and other buildings.
Slurp Your Noodles
Unlike in the West, slurping noodles is actually a good thing in China, Korea, and Japan, where slurping your noodles (and soup!) are considered, again, a compliment to the chef. Whether it’s stir-fry noodles or ramen, if it can be slurped, then you should probably go for it!
The reasoning behind its perceived politeness is that the food is so good, you get lost in it and you just eat to your heart’s delight. With the amazing noodle dishes East Asia has to offer, it’s easy to forget your Western manners too!
Thanks for the Invite (and the Treat!)
In Western countries, if you invite your friends out for a drink, people are going to go based on how much budget they have left for the week. Makes sense, but in Ghana, it’s a little different: if you invite people to a night out, it’s expected that you’ll be the one to pay for everything.
While it’s daunting to shoulder the cost of a whole night out, especially if you’re a big group, but it kind of makes sense: if you pressure some of your friends who might not have the money to go out, it’s only decent of you to treat them to food and drink. Fail to do this, and you might just lose some of your new Ghanaian friends!
Places That you Have to Visit in Valencia, Spain
Being Spain’s third largest city with 800,000 residents, it comes then as no surprise that there’s plenty to do in the city. It’s not only an incredibly safe city, but it’s more affordable than Madrid and Barcelona, yet lies on a beautiful coastline stretch.
This article will go over some of the best places you can visit in Valencia, as well as offer some tips for when travelling there with a family. The COVID-19 pandemic, whilst rife in Spain currently, will likely calm next Spring and Summer like it did during the first wave. Nothing is a certainty though during these times, so it’s important to check the latest news and protocols before attempting to travel.
The Bioparc Valencia is an incredibly unique zoo, which is designed with zooimmersion in mind. What is zooimmersion you may ask? Zooimmersion is essentially a design in which the zoo goes above and beyond to recreate even the smallest details of the natural habitats which are presented.
One facet of this is that if some animals coexist in real life, then they do in the bioparc. Obviously, predators cannot mix with their natural prey, but the bioparc manages to make the perfect comprise: the predators remain in this natural visual space, but they are separated by barriers. These barriers are invisible to see as a spectator, so you’re still under the illusion that these animals are mixing like they do in real life.
The Bioparc in Valencia is not too far from the city centre. Whilst you may not want to walk, it’s very accessible via bus or taxi. Valencia’s bioparc has fantastic reviews because they really do deliver on their promises of a natural habitat and relaxed animals.
City of Arts and Sciences
The City of Arts and Sciences is a must-see for anyone visiting Valencia. The place is a result of Calatrava’s architectural brilliance, with the buildings becoming an icon of the city. It’s rooted in scientific and culture, being a complex that can be enjoyed by visitors which covers 2km.
There are a few different buildings, so make sure to check beforehand which one is your biggest priority as you may need a ticket, like for Hemisferic, the science museum, and the Oceanografic.
The Oceanografic is perhaps the most visually compelling, as well as being Europest largest aquarium. There’s almost 45,000 different specimens with over 500 individual species. Some of the most popular ones are the dolphins, sharks and sea lions.
Natural Hot Spring
If you have a car and don’t mind venturing out for a drive, there is an incredible hot spring in Montanejos. The Fuente de los Banos de Montanejos
The journey there from Valencia will also be epic, five that you pass a tonne of forestry and mountains, and could even stop at the Parc Natural de la Serra Calderona for a long walk.
The hot spring itself is off-track a little, meaning it’s naturally integrated. Some of the blue lagoon waters are 25 degrees celsius. There is some public transport nearby as well as wheelchair access, and it’s a part of a full tour if you want guidance.
Tips to travel with family
Here are some of the top tips to travel with family.
Getting around as a family
The easiest way to see Valencia as a family is with a car. The roads aren’t as busy as you would imagine, parking is fine, and you will have more opportunity to visit sites outside of the city. There’s lots of mountainous and rural places in Spain, and a car will make things easier.
However, you can still enjoy Valencia perfectly fine without a car. The Metro system is fantastic. Fast and cheap, you can get across the city in minutes.
If you’re really looking to get to know Valencia, then stay in the city center. Even if it means getting a smaller apartment because of the higher prices, it may just be worth it. You will be able to stay out later at restaurants as everything will be within walking distance. It will also be easier to take naps during the day.
The internet is brilliant for recommending incredible sites and experiences. However, you cannot beat asking a local where they themselves go to eat in restaurants. Being a large city, there’s going to be plenty of places aimed at tourists. Your job is to see beyond that and explore the real Valencia, and the easiest way is by asking locals. This will also help exercise your Spanish learning.
Two days isn’t enough
Valencia is a large city, and spending only two days there wouldn’t be enough to get a feel for it. When travelling with children, getting places is a bit slower. This means you need extra time to see places and you shouldn’t try packing too many activities in one day. On top of this, it can get extremely hot in Valencia during the summer, so you want to live like a local too in order to be comfortable: that means not rushing and perhaps taking some naps.
Say Aloha To An Island Vacation
Most people enjoy traveling across the country and abroad. To many, the ultimate vacation would be a trip to the sun kissed beaches of Hawaii. The stress of a busy career, and the dedication to home and family can become overwhelming, and traveling is often the solution to getting back on track. The most exciting trip would include a cruise for one, romantic getaway for two, or a fun adventure for the entire family. The islands of Hawaii are inviting, and there are so many activities to engage in that there would be no idle time. Every moment is filled with tropical experiences, and breathtaking memories.
One of the most popular places to visit in Hawaii is the big island of Maui with exotic creatures of the sea in waters as blue as the sky. The rich culture and picturesque landscape will enthrall you while you lie on the beach with its golden sand running through your fingers. A Hawaiian cruise will take you to various venues along the island allowing you to stop at some of the best tourist attractions. Romance is always in the air when lovers walk along the beach in the sunset while the waves lap gently against them.
When tourists arrive on the island of Hawaii, they immediately feel the warmth and welcoming spirit that is relevant to the island experience. There are numerous activities to engage in, but to fully benefit from the attractions, it would be better to have a plan of the activities that best interest you, and stick to that plan. A tour of the island will take visitors to the beautiful Botanical Gardens along the Hamakua and Hilo coasts. There, people would be in awe by the natural treasures of the waterfalls, the rain forests, and tropical flowers. The constant trade winds, high volcanoes, and tropical temperatures make the northeastern side of the island tropical and lush.
Other activities to do on the island include ATV tours which is the most fun way to explore the difficult places to access like the drifts and wild forests on the Kohala coast. The main attractions are the beaches which are great for surfing, snorkeling, or swimming. The beaches offer world class white sand, black sands, and even green sands. The islands of Hawaii are also great for biking. This allows a close up look at the features, and a good way for tourists to explore on their own. They can also go camping, horseback riding, lava viewing, see the lava tubes and hot ponds, and go up for a helicopter tour.
The attractions that all tourists must engage in are the Luau and Hula performances. This is a good way for everyone to experience the local culture, and the island cuisine. The Hawaiian Luau is the traditional party that includes entertainment and food. The Luau means interacting with others at a Luau show. This includes a buffet with the traditional foods of the island. There are cultural performances from native Hawaiians and Polynesian music, hula dance, and stories. Visitors can usually join in with the dance performers, and show off their hula.
Whether enjoying the luxury hotels, or the luxury of the cruise liner, seeing the Hawaiian islands is a dream come true for many people who have always wanted to visit the state of the United States that has so much to offer in the way of thrills, excitement, adventure, and relaxation. It satisfies the curious mind, and offers memorable island entertainment in a gorgeous setting. The Hawaiian themed shows are the greatest, and truly authentic to the island. The Luau is a two and a half hour show with the first half hour being child friendly with cultural activities. After an hour of eating, the next activity is the fire dance and hula. Make an Hawaii cruise your next vacation destination.
Traveling the Atlantic: Then and Now
It may be difficult to fathom these days, but traveling across the Atlantic ocean was once a long and dangerous ordeal. Now you can go on a transatlantic cruise or ride on a plane if you want to cross the Atlantic. But hundreds of years ago, it wasn’t that easy.
Before the 19th century, crossing the Atlantic ocean was a treacherous undertaking that took a long time. During the colonial period, colonists traveled by sailing ships. This journey didn’t always end well. The ships had to contend with many different variables.
First, the weather could be very unpredictable and change the length of the journey. The voyage could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. If the ship encountered rough seas, storms, or severe winds, the voyage’s length would change.
Sickness was something that wreaked havoc on most voyages. Most of the illnesses people experienced happened while on board. While some may have been sick beforehand, being on the ship surely exacerbated their condition. While seasickness sometimes can’t be helped, it was not all they had to deal with. There was fever, scurvy, and dysentery, to name a few. Scurvy comes from not getting the right nutrition. This sickness happened to a lot of sailors because they were potentially on board for months at a time and weren’t getting the proper nutrients like Vitamin C.
Supplies were also a worry. Traveling across the Atlantic ocean in the 1600s could take some time. So having the right amount of supplies was crucial. It didn’t always work out, though. Supplies could run out before they reached their destination. Or if there were many deaths on board, they could end up having just enough supplies. Although the food and water usually ended up not being in the best conditions, which is why many passengers got sick.
These days we don’t have many of the same problems they did hundreds of years ago. Now, if you want to go on a transatlantic cruise, it is much easier and much faster, and it is much more comfortable.
While the weather can still be unpredictable, the way ships are built now they are sturdier. A strong wind won’t send them crashing against some rocks. Also, there are a plethora of ports that the ship can stop at if things become dire or they need a place to anchor while they wait for the storm to pass.
Now, when you go on a transatlantic cruise, you have to meet certain criteria. Such as being in good enough health to be away at sea.
Many of the diseases they dealt with we don’t have because we have cleaner conditions and proper nutrition. Scurvy is no longer an issue. There are all types of food on the ships that will meet your nutritional needs, whatever they might be.
Thanks to modern technology, taking a cruise across the Atlantic ocean is easier, safer, and can be quite luxurious.
A Guide to the World’s Best Roads to Take Advantage of During Covid-19
If you’re thinking of travelling abroad by car – holiday or business – then it’s essential to know your route, be aware of local driving etiquette, and the kinds of roads you’ll be driving about on (who could forget this!?).
There are plenty of fantastic roads out there across the world to drive on though … Vindis – a dealer for SEAT – offer a rundown:
We’ve all heard of Route 66, the road that stretches the length of the United States, but have you heard of Ruta 40? Ruta 40 offers up stiff competition to its North American counterpart. Stretching for more than 3,000 miles, the route crosses the Andes mountain range on 27 different occasions, as well as running through 20 national parks and 18 major rivers. Much of the journey navigates through a completely desolate land, but the 5,000m steep journey provides travellers with the opportunity to indulge in some unbelievable attractions, including the Perito Moreno Glacier. Despite the road being built in 1935 and much of it being exposed to extremely harsh weather conditions all year round, the vast majority of the surface remains as smooth tarmac, creating an optimal driving experience.
This record-breaking bridge is a pleasure to drive over. Built 207m into the sky, the crossing, which was built to precede the Forth Road Bridge, broke numerous Guinness World Records, including the longest continuous concrete pour — 15 days. The bridge, which allows people to commute from Edinburgh to Fyfe, opened on 30th August 2017 and cost the Scottish government £1.3 billion. On average, approximately 77,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day and it proves a vital transport link between England and North Scotland cities, such as Aberdeen. Although existing as the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world, the Queensferry Crossing took that crown from the bridge beside it, which is also an incredible engineering feat.
Grand Tour presenter and motor enthusiast, Jeremy Clarkson, has previously declared this highway the world’s greatest road. The Romanian highway sweeps for 150 kilometres, reaching heights at the summit of 2042 metres (make sure you check your tyres!). The road, which was built in 1974, leads to Balea lake and on both the ascent and descent you are able to indulge in some of the most breath-taking views this world has to offer. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, the road is usually only open during the summer months, as the top of the path can be subject to heavy snow and fog. What may exist as exhilarating hairpin turns in the summer can be treacherous and ultimately deadly obstacles in the winter.
Anyone who’s visited this Scandinavian country will understand why some of its roads have been voted the best in the world. The Atlantic road has collected a host of awards, ‘including the world’s best road trip’, the ‘world’s best for car testing’, and ‘the world’s best place to mend a broken heart’. The engineering feat which connects a host of small islands and islets amalgamates land, sea, and sky like nothing else in the world. As you navigate your way along the 8km trek, take in the scenery by stopping at the various look-out points along the way.
If you’ve got a taste for speed then you’ll no-doubt be drawn to the Autobahn in Frankfurt. Tragically, the reputation the German road network has built itself over the years isn’t exactly one which boasts entire truth. For most of the Autobahn, tempo limits exist, which help aid traffic congestion and prevent serious collisions. Tempos drive down the limit in most parts to 80mph and in some sections even lower, dependent on weather congestions and location. Fortunately, all is not bleak and there is still fun to be had. Outside of the major cities, without the temporary limits, there are no laws, and cars have been known to drive in excess of 200mph — just remember it’s the left lane to overtake!
Before driving here, it’s helpful to know that the road signs don’t note direction. Unlike the UK, where signs will suggest A1(N) or M8(E), the Autobahn simply consists of numbers, so we would suggest knowing the major destinations on your route before setting off. There is a quick rule of thumb though — if the number is even, it means it goes east or west, and similarly odd goes north and south.
Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to Miami
The most colorful, vibrant, and hot city this side of the Atlantic, Miami is both a vacation and a residential destination. As millions of visitors and new residents reach Miami yearly, it is a melting pot of culture and constant change. With its close proximity to many neighboring islands and countries, there are always new faces and new scenes popping up throughout the city. This is primarily what makes Miami so unique. But how does this affect newcomers who have their sights set on making this hot haven home?
If you’re looking to make the move, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, a long distance moving company in Miami should be #1 on your list even before you start picking out your bikini and white linen pants. In a city with so many fast-moving parts, you want to make sure your possessions arrive intact and not in someone else’s hands. Culture, road rules, and mother nature will promptly follow as next on your list. Here’s everything you need to know about Miami before you cross over into the land of humidity and high temps.
Although a part of the U.S., Miami has often been referred to as being part of the Caribbean – and for good reason. English is spoken, but Spanish has been steadily taking over as the most common word spoken. If you want to fully immerse yourself in the city and become a local, learning Spanish will do you good. With plenty of language learning apps including Duolingo, Babbel, and Memrise right at your fingertips, you’ll be ordering your Cafecito correctly in no time.
Picky eaters beware! You will try new things and you will like them. Miami is a foodie’s dream. With the flavors of so many cultures all culminating in one delicious dining experience that is the city of Miami, you will be hard-pressed to try new things. By throwing caution to the wind, you can explore new cooking techniques, new flavors, and new experiences that will undoubtedly make you glad you made the move. Most notably though is to have an open mind and taste everything Miami has to offer.
One of the most important lessons you will learn about living in Miami is that the rules of the road are completely different in this city than anywhere else in the country. The fact that you must be an aggressive driver is an understatement for a city filled with drivers from all over the world. Turning signals are pretty much optional, yellow lights are green, and turning before the arrow is a must. If you can stay off your phone and go as soon as the light turns green, you should be ok. It’s everyone else you that you should worry about.
Other than the unruly nature of Miami traffic, the weather is one of the most unpredictable aspects of living in South Florida. Expect heat – lots, constant, and unrelenting heat. The change comes when the level of heat fluctuates. The summer months of June-August can be a scorcher for anyone not used to high temperatures. In addition to what the thermometer reads, the humidity is on full throttle and the rain is a moody cloud that decides to dump on Floridians when and however it decides. Pair that with the annual hurricane season and you’ve got a three-ring circus. But if you can stay cool until September, the holidays are a nice reprieve from the highs and humidity. No snow, but plenty of 60-degree mornings and 70-degree afternoons.
3 Ways to Save Money While Traveling
The travel industry has evolved into a much different industry over the past decade. With more people having access to putting there companies out there online the travel industry has been booming with unique experiences. For most people, in order to stay on budget there has to be compromises with what they spend there money on. Most young travelers are not staying at hotels but are deciding to use hostels. Hostels have been around for a long time but now there are different interpretations out there like pod hotels.
Buying Tobacco Products Online
In some countries tobacco is cheap while in other countries like Australia a pack of cigarettes can go for twenty dollars a pack. Personally, I prefer Kentucky Select Tobacco since it has a great taste and comes in a large bag which usually lasts me over a month per bag. I just roll my own and many other travelers are deciding to do the same.
Staying in a Hostel
Hostel’s are great as long as you are the type of person that does not mind sharing spaces with other people. Depending on the budget you can be in a room with a few other people. Some are coed but if you do some research on them ahead of time you will be able to get a good idea of what a place is going to be like from the reviews. Hostels are usually a quarter the price of the average hotel in the area. Some even have there own communal happy hours where you can socialize and get to know other travelers.
Checking in a Bag
If you are flying in the United States and are not used to some of the airline antics then you should know that most airlines charge for bags since apparently it saves a ton of wait. On an airline like spirit it becomes really apparent when you only see the overhead bins with a few carry ons because they charge more for a carry on then a check in. Before coming to a place like the US decide on whether having that extra big bag is really worth it. Plus if you have a smaller bag that can be carried easily you will save money on tips.
Have fun in your travels