Oh the places I’ve been and the etiquette I’ve learned!

Aman, Venice, Italy

As we begin 2024, I’m in Riviera Maya, Mexico reflecting on my travels of 2023 and the respective etiquette and cultural sensitivities I learned or was reminded of along the way.  Included below are some takeaways from those trips.

La Maroma, A Belmond Hotel, Riviera Maya, Mexico

The Maldives — What’s appropriate at a resort would not be appropriate if you visit Malé or other areas where Maldivians live. The Maldives is a devoutly Muslim nation, so out of respect things like alcohol, public displays of affection, swimsuits, and pork should be reserved for resort areas only.

Hurawalhi Island Resort, the Maldives

South Africa — Punctuality expectations can be confusing because of the many different uses of the word “now.” “Now” is used to mean eventually, but possibly not at all. “Just now” means in the future, but not immediately, and finally “now now” means soon. 

Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Ireland — When driving in rural areas, acknowledge other drivers (of cars or tractors) by raising a hand or a finger from the steering wheel.

The Cotswolds, UK — Unlike in the US where it may come across as warm and friendly, asking personal questions of strangers or new acquaintances may be considered bizarre or rude.

Italy — If traveling for business, the exchange of gifts is common. It is also appropriate to stand to greet a senior person who enters a room.

The Gritti Palace, Venice, Italy

Monaco — No matter how fabulous, do not touch another’s car without permission. This really applies everywhere, but we saw some pretty egregious liberties taken by tourists while visiting this summer.

Café de Paris, Monte-Carlo, Monaco

France — Keep your hands visible while dining rather than on your lap.

Château de la Chèvre d’or, Eze, France

London — Know the difference between England, Britain, and the United Kingdom, and if enjoying afternoon tea remember the order is sandwiches, then scones, then sweets.

Mexico – When meeting a group of people, say hello to each person separately rather than everyone at once.

La Maroma, A Belmond Hotel, Riviera Maya

I hope you enjoyed this little international etiquette roundup! Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to share.  It was fun recalling the memories!

Etiquette Insights from Travel Around the World

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