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When traveling, you’ll quickly discover that not all cultural norms align. A simple gesture or conversation you regard as commonplace can sometimes lead to surprising, even dangerous, predicaments in foreign lands. If you’re not careful when globetrotting, these acts might land you in hot water.

Photographing Certain Buildings or Landmarks

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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Did you know that getting snap-happy in some countries can lead to a run-in with the law? Photography can be forbidden, particularly in areas of political or military significance. For example, taking pictures of certain public squares in Belarus can lead to fines or worse. The trick? Always be aware of your surroundings and look for signs or locals’ reactions.

Giving a Thumbs Up

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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Showing approval with a thumb-up might seem positive and friendly in your culture. Still, it can signify something entirely different in other parts of the world. In some Middle Eastern countries, it’s commonly seen as an insult. Instead, opt for a simple nod or “okay” sign to avoid misunderstandings.

Dressing Immodestly

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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Your casual summer wear might not be appreciated in more conservative countries. In places like the Maldives, overly revealing clothing, mainly swimwear, can get you fined or arrested for public indecency. Always research local dress codes before you pack your suitcase!

Crossing the Street Improperly

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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What you consider jaywalking might not be legal in other countries. In some nations, like Japan, it’s a serious traffic offense. Always follow local customs and use crosswalks as signaled, even if the streets seem eerily pedestrian-free.

Cursing or Swearing

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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While it might be a common language in your culture, profanity is frowned upon in many countries. In places like Malaysia or the United Arab Emirates, it can even lead to imprisonment. Keep your vocabulary clean and respectful.

Discussing Religion or Politics

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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We love a good debate, but these topics are deeply sacred in certain countries, and public discussions must be approached cautiously. In places like the United Arab Emirates, criticism of religion or the royal family can have severe consequences. Diplomacy is key—listen and learn before leaping into any potentially sensitive conversations.

The “Come Here” Gesture

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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The familiar palm-up, index finger-curled “come here” gesture can be misinterpreted in countries like the Philippines and East Asia. In these places, it’s used for summoning animals or can be seen as rude when directed at people.

Showing Affection in Public

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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Public displays of affection might seem harmless to you, but in many cultures, they are considered taboo. In some parts of India or the Middle East, keeping physical affection between couples private is best.

Showing the Sole of Your Foot

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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In many Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, the foot is considered the dirtiest part of the body. Revealing the sole, as you might do when sitting, can be highly disrespectful. Sit flat on the ground to show respect, especially when attending formal gatherings.

Hailing a Taxi with Your Palm Facing Up

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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In Singapore, this gesture can be an insult. Always ensure you understand the correct gesture for the situation—in some places, a simple wave or a “hey” will do the trick.

Tossing Out Chewing Gum

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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This might sound mundane, but improperly disposing of gum in countries like Singapore can result in a hefty fine. The same goes for littering in general—it’s not just a civil wrongdoing but a cultural breach.

Drinking Alcohol

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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While a cold beer may be the perfect accompaniment to your vacation, it’s essential to know that in some places, alcohol is strictly prohibited. Saudi Arabia has strict laws regarding drinking or even possessing alcohol, so sober up before you land.

Touching someone’s Head

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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It’s a gesture of endearment in the West, but in Thailand, the head is the most sacred part of the body. Touching someone else’s head, especially that of an elder or a monk, is a serious cultural faux pas. Mind the personal space boundaries; a smile often suffices to express goodwill universally.

Tipping Overly Generously

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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While tipping is expected in some places, it can be seen as odd or even offensive in others. In Japan, it’s not customary at all. Always research the local practice—your good intentions might not have the desired effect. In Japan, a simple thank you is often more appreciated than money.

Flushing Toilet Paper

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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This one might surprise you. In countries like Turkey, Greece, China, Montenegro, Egypt, and rural areas throughout South America, the plumbing isn’t equipped to handle toilet paper. It’s common practice to dispose of it in a bin or designated receptacle instead of flushing it down the toilet. Always check for signs or ask someone if you’re unsure.

Using Your Left Hand

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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In several cultures, the left hand is associated with tasks that are considered unclean. Hence, using it to eat, accept a gift, or shake hands is typically avoided in India, Nepal, and the Middle East. Mind the right-hand rule—literally and figuratively.

Gesturing a “V”

17 Normal Things That Can Land You in Trouble in Other Countries
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While the “V” gesture signifies victory or peace in many countries, it can have different meanings elsewhere. It’s often used to mock someone or express disdain in the United Kingdom and Australia. Always be mindful of cultural contexts when using hand gestures.

30 Things Americans Do That Are Seen as Disrespectful in Other Countries

30 Things Americans Do That Are Seen as Disrespectful in Other Countriespixelshot via Canva.com

As we journey across the globe, we must understand and respect the diverse cultures and customs we encounter. Certain polite behaviors in the United States can be seen as offensive or discourteous elsewhere. In this light, we’ve compiled a list of 30 everyday habits of Americans that could be perceived as rude in other nations.

30 Things Americans Do That Are Seen as Disrespectful in Other Countries

12 Laws And Rules About Food In Other Countries

12 Laws And Rules About Food In Other CountriesMnxan Pyaehko via Canva.com

Welcome, dear food enthusiasts and globe-trotters! Prepare to embark on a culinary exploration like no other, exploring fork-first into the fascinating world of laws and rules about food in other countries. Set the trays upright, buckle the taste buds, prepare for take-off, and travel from countries where chewing gum could land you in a sticky situation to places where your love for durian could leave you… well, alone.

12 Laws And Rules About Food In Other Countries

15 Things to Never Do in Canada

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Welcome, dear reader, to our intriguing guide on Canadian culture, “15 Things to Never Do in Canada”. Before you immerse yourself in the beauty of the Northern Lights or drool over stacks of syrup-drenched pancakes, it’s crucial to know that Canada, like any country, has unique social norms.

15 Things to Never Do in Canada

20 Things Americans Do That Foreigners Find Weird

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While America prides itself on its melting pot culture, it’s intriguing to discern how its customs are perceived globally. Here, we unearth 20 intriguing American customs that leave foreigners baffled.

20 Things Americans Do That Foreigners Find Weird

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