Tipping Etiquette – A quick guide to tipping etiquette in North America (Part One)

Tipping culture is a worldwide matter – anywhere you go the etiquette for tipping will vary from place to place. It is often required by both locals and tourists/visitors alike to tip an appropriate amount to those working in the service industries. If you are travelling to North America, here is a quick guide on how to tip accordingly:

USA & Canada

Visitors should be aware that many workers in service industries receive the minimum wage and rely on tips to make a decent income. The expected amount varies, but is more in touristy area, larger cities, and better-class hotels, restaurants, or hair salons. In both USA and Canada, allow a $1 a bag for bellhops and airport porters (more if you’re toting a trunk full of college books or an unwieldly ski bag).

 

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10 Cultural Tips and Facts From South America

Wednesday Wanderlust

10 Cultural Tips and Facts From South America

All the following cultural tips and facts are taken straight from five of our many guides within the South American region. The titles used within this blog post include: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Peru.

Argentina:

 

  1. Be careful with gestures when visiting South America. In Argentina, the “thumb and forefinger circle” gesture stands for OK – unlike in neighbouring Brazil, where it is vulgar and offensive. The “thumbs up” gesture can be used freely as it also stands for OK.

 

  1. Whether in the afternoon or in the morning, facturas are a must. The delicious pastries come in various shapes with different fillings such as custard, cream, and jam. Media lunas (croissants,) are perhaps the most common facturas usually accompanied by a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Be aware facturas is also the Spanish word for “invoice”.

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Wednesday Wanderlust – 10 Culture Tips from our Newest Releases

Wednesday Wanderlust

10 Culture Tips from our Newest Releases

All the following 10 cultural tips are taken straight from our five newest guides released this May. The titles include: Colombia, Denmark, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka:

  1. Sri Lankan’s are more relaxed about missed opportunities than Westerners because of their strong belief in karma. It is thought that if something does not work out then it was not meant to be, and that it will come around at a more opportune time, with more success.
  2. To beckon someone toward them, a Sri Lankan will hold one arm outstretched and, with the palm facing down, move the fingers inward. It is considered impolite to point at someone using the index finger, so gestures of moving the head or raising the eyebrows in the direction of the subject are commonly used.

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Wednesday Wanderlust -Greetings in Eastern Europe

Wednesday Wanderlust

Greetings in Eastern Europe

Wednesday Wanderlust is back! In these posts we shall be sharing information on the etiquette, values and attitudes of different countries around the world.

This week’s post focuses friendship, manners and greetings in Eastern Europe and highlights the relevant cultural norms for Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Russia and Romania. Traditional versus contemporary greetings divide the older and younger generations within these countries, with similar norms being visible across the region.

Timisoara in Romania

1.      Hungary

Good manners begin with a greeting. Stand up! Only the old and frail stay seated for greetings. Like other Eastern European countries, the practise in Hungary is for a man to make the first greeting to a woman, a younger person to an older, a subordinate to a superior, a salesperson to a customer, and someone entering or approaching those already present. It’s bad manners not to greet people, and worse not to return a greeting. As Hungarian writer István Mácz says, “the reply to a smile, is a smile”.

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Peruvian Delicacies: The Essential Guide to Food in Peru

‘What’s your favourite Peruvian food?’ is a question that you are guaranteed to be asked over and over when traveling in Peru. Food is an obsession for most Peruvians but a justifiable one as their cuisine is recognised as one of the best in the world.

Peruvian cuisine has its roots in ancient superfoods such as quinoa, avocados, maize and potatoes as well as integrating more recent influences of Japanese and Chinese cuisines.

However, your answer to the question will very much depend on where you have been in Peru as there are significant variations around the country.

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Behind the Pen ∘ Singapore

To accompany our new releases we’re returning to our Behind the Pen series of interviews with the authors of Culture Smart!. In the series we take a closer look at who our authors are, how they became conversant in a culture they were not born into, and what they’ve gained from their cultural experiences abroad.

Meet Patricia Voute – one of the authors of Culture Smart! Singapore. Tricia Voute has a B.A. in Anthropology from Durham University and an M.A. in the Philosophy of Religion from King’s College, London. She has taught philosophy in different parts of the world and written textbooks on the subject, as well as articles on cultural and faith issues in the Times and other publications. Tricia lived in Singapore for five years, teaching religion and philosophy at the Tanglin School. She was involved in teacher training in local schools and has Singaporean friends across the social and religious spectrum.

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Behind the Pen ∘ Colombia

To accompany our new releases we’re returning to our Behind the Pen series of interviews with the authors of Culture Smart!. In the series we take a closer look at who our authors are, how they became conversant in a culture they were not born into, and what they’ve gained from their cultural experiences abroad.
Meet Kate Cathey – a writer and anthropologist. Born in the USA, she attended Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she studied Art History, and later the University of California, from which she graduated with a BA in World Arts and Cultures, concentration in Anthropology. Since then, she has traveled extensively in Latin America, researching and writing about regional cultural and culinary traditions.

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Behind the Pen ∘ Sri Lanka

To accompany our new releases we’re returning to our Behind the Pen series of interviews with the authors of Culture Smart!. In the series we take a closer look at who our authors are, how they became conversant in a culture they were not born into, and what they’ve gained from their cultural experiences abroad.

As the series continues to grow and evolve, we now count over 100 authors as part of our team, who work with us on our mission to bridge understanding and build relations between people of different cultural backgrounds. Our authors come from all walks of life, among them diplomats, foreign journalists, NGO workers, educators and storytellers.

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How to Meet & Greet like a local in Singapore

Singapore is home to three of Asia’s great cultures— Chinese, Malay, and Indian—and, although they each have their own distinct norms, values, and religions, many of these are held in common. When visiting a Singaporean at home, it is vital to identify and understand the cultural heritage of your host so that you can act appropriately. Here are three major aspects to consider when invited to visit a Singaporean in their home:

Etiquette

It is a privilege to be invited to a Singaporean home, but it is easy to cause offense inadvertently. In all three communities (and among many Westerners too) it is customary to remove your shoes when entering the home (so wear socks or tights).

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