Video: Heading overseas? Remember these travel tips

  1. Closed captioning of: Heading overseas? Remember these travel tips

    >>> time for today's travel. if you're headed out of the country now is the perfect time to brush up on your etiquette.

    >> if you don't, it may wind up costing you more than you know. robert reed has trips. he is the travel editor of " lonely planet ."

    >> don't worry too much though. wherever you go, you'll be fine. this is what makes travel fun. places where people do different things.

    >> we'll start with drinking because that's important to hoda. say you're traveling to australia. russia or armenia. three things we need to know .

    >> australia are fantastic. if you're there, they may invite you out for a shout. talking about drinking, getting each other rounds. they call them shouts. they keep mathematical track of who's got a shot or not. it ends up late. watch out.

    >> that's your round.

    >> shouts. you don't have to raise your voice .

    >> russia .

    >> i can tell you from personal experience the reputation russia is vodka nation is true. they do not sip vodka and they do not put it in sexy cocktails. you drink full shots and you toast to the betterment of all human beings , to health and things. if you start, know it's serious.

    >> i don't know how they function drinking like that. i really don't.

    >> armenians.

    >> i love this. in armenia there is a lot of wine and brandy. i brought you brandy to try this out. share it with your friends, but it's rude to pour the last drop of the bottle in someone else 's glass. you've got to pour it in your own. whoever finishes has to buy the next battle.

    >> let's talk table manners. in portugal in a restaurant never ask for salt and pepper .

    >> if your food has been delivered.

    >> right. once it's on the table, this is a piece of art. it would be like going to the museum of modern art asking for oils to touch up the van gogh . this is the final masterpiece.

    >> in france there is an issue about deciding how to split the bill up at the table. i agree with that.

    >> i think we could use that true. faux pas is from france. they think going dutch , splitting the bill is the height of sophistication. if someone invites you out, you will probably get a free meal. you can do it the next time.

    >> that's what we do. it works out well.

    >> i think it's better than who got the iced tea .

    >> in mexico what happens?

    >> i love a place where even strange errs bond over food. if you just catch the eye of someone in a restaurant, if you're about to eat a taco, you say buen proveco. it's bigger than bon appetite . they want the food to be transformative to you. i love it.

    >> that's really sweet.

    >> guess who is coming tomorrow?

    >> jack black . healthy foods packing on the pounds. and furry

updated 5/24/2011 1:23:56 PM ET 2011-05-24T17:23:56

You think that emptying the bottle into your guest’s glass is polite … little do you know that you just designated them as the buyer of the next round! Although most locals will excuse breaches in etiquette, wouldn’t you rather be informed and impress them with your cultural know-how? Read below for a list of etiquette tips to help you eat and drink in different parts of the world without accidentally offending the locals.

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Slideshow: Travel etiquette 101

Table Manners

1. When you eat noodles in Japan, it’s perfectly okay — even expected — to slurp them.

2. Never stick your chopsticks into a bowl of rice upright — that’s how rice is offered to the dead! It also looks like the incense sticks that are burned for the dead. It’s also bad form to pass food from your chopsticks to someone else’s — another Buddhist funeral right which involves passing the remains of the cremated deceased among members of the family using chopsticks. This is true in China and for almost all of Asia.

3. In Russia, put your wrists on the edge of the table (not in your lap) while eating, and keep your fork in your left hand and knife in your right.

4. In Nepal, do wait to be served and be sure to ask for seconds when eating at someone’s house. In general, when eating in a group, no one gets up until everyone has finished their food. If you have to leave early, make your apologies by saying bistaii khaanus, or "please eat slowly."

5. In restaurants in Portugal, don’t ask for salt and pepper if it is not already on the table. Asking for any kind of seasoning or condiment is to cast aspersions on the cook. And cooks are highly respected people in Portugal.

6. In France, never, ever discuss money over dinner. And splitting the bill is considered the height of unsophistication.

7. Whenever you catch the eye of someone who’s eating in Mexico, stranger or not, say "buen provecho" (enjoy). Don’t avoid this custom. It’s good manners and feels nice.

8. Eating from individual plates strikes most in Ethiopia as hilarious, bizarre and wasteful. Food is always shared from a single plate without the use of cutlery. Greed is considered uncivilized so try not to guzzle. The meat dishes are usually the last things eaten, so don’t hone in on them immediately.

1. When drinking in Japan, don’t fill your own drink; fill the glass of the person next to you and wait for them to reciprocate. Filling your own glass amounts to admitting to everyone at the table that you’re an alcoholic.

2. In Armenia, if you empty a bottle into someone’s glass, it obliges them to buy the next bottle — it’s polite to put the last drops into your own glass.

3. In Australia, shout drinks to a group on arrival at the pub. "Shouting" is a revered custom where people rotate paying for a round of drinks. Don’t leave before it’s your turn to buy!

4. In Russia, vodka is for toasting, not for casual sipping; wait for the cue. Men are expected to down shots in one gulp, while women are usually excused. Never mix your vodka or dilute it. And don’t place an empty bottle on the table — it must be placed on the floor.

5. In Sweden, it’s considered vulgar to clink your glasses aside from formal "skals" (cheers).

Especially for vegetarians
1. In Peru, many tourist-heavy cities have vegetarian restaurants that offer a version of popular national dishes with soy substitutes. In regular restaurants, veggie options can often be found on the menu. To be safe, ask for un plato vegetariano (a vegetarian dish) and be aware that the term sin carne (without meat) refers only to red meat or pork.

2. Russia can be tough on vegetarians. Your best bet is to visit during Lent, when many restaurants have special non-meat menus. Restaurants in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other large cities are the most likely to have meat-free items on the menu, but in general vegetables are boiled to death and even veggie soups are made with meat stock.

More from Lonely Planet
Travel etiquette 101: body language
Meat-free travel: vegetarian hits and misses
The best countries for food

This story, Travel etiquette 101: Food and Drink, originally appeared on

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