Skip To Content

    Locals Are Sharing The "Good" And "Normal" Things Tourists Need To Stop Doing

    "ALWAYS remove your shoes when entering someone's house. It is disrespectful and dirty."

    When traveling, it's always good to be aware of local customs and traditions. But sometimes, there are things that you may think are good, normal, or universal when in fact, they aren't.

    I asked the BuzzFeed Community about the "good" and "normal" things they wished tourists stop doing (or remember to do), and here's what they shared:

    The Americas

    1. Argentina: "Always tip your waiters and tour guides. Our economy is erratic, and any cash helps."

    someone putting money in a jat

    2. Canada: "Always tip at least 15%!!"


    3. Canada: "Speaking as a Canadian in a city bordering the US, please don't assume that all establishments can take your currency. Do not take it out on the person who is providing you service. Please research and use the currency of the country you are visiting."


    4. Brazil: "PLEASE stop throwing the toilet paper inside the toilet. Our pipes are not meant for that American tomfoolery, and it WILL clog the toilet."

    someone unrolling a roll of toilet paper

    5. Trinidad and Tobago: "In restaurants abroad, customers who pay more than the necessary amount of money might usually say, 'Keep the change'; however, in Trinidad, we NEVER say that. It sort of comes off like you’re belittling the waiter/waitress rather than just being nice."


    6. USA: "People here tend to be friendly, even if they've just met you, and especially if you are visiting from another country. You might feel like we are interrogating you, but people honestly are just interested in other cultures and will try to find a way to relate to you. Just be prepared and maybe have some chit chat handy for those situations. Or, practice how to explain to someone that you don't want to talk to them in a way that doesn't sound rude."


    7. New York City, USA: "Do not walk leisurely down busy streets or sidewalks. Do not stop in the middle of a sidewalk to take pictures unless you are actively in a park. I know there’s so much to do and see, but the city is so crowded, and you are taking up a lot of space. The walkways are never clear; don’t make it worse. So many people are in a hurry, and they can and will body-slam you."

    people walking in times square


    8. Philippines: "ALWAYS remove your shoes when entering someone's house. Most likely, they have guest 'slippers' for you to use, but never bring your shoes inside the house. It is disrespectful and dirty.

    "And never turn down food, if offered. That straight up will assure you will never be invited again."


    9. India: "A huge part of the country is vegetarian. Don't go to a place that specializes in vegetarian cuisine and then order a meat dish. It's kind of disrespectful and makes some of the staff uncomfortable.

    "Also, it can be very condescending when people say, 'I love Indian food.' It makes us seem exotic and outsiders, and we have a diverse cuisine that's being seen as a monolith."


    "Many foreigners come to India thinking it's the perfect haven to live out their 'hippie' fantasies. Roaming around in your torn and worn clothes may feel liberating to you, but it can come across as disrespectful depending on where you are. It's not a one-size-fits-all kinda country."


    10. Middle East: "Please don't wear shoes, take photos, or make a ton of noise when visiting mosques! It's a holy place, and we're there to pray, so it's distracting and rude when tourists do this."

    the inside of the Blue Mosque in Turkey


    11. Sweden: "Don’t give compliments to a Swedish person. We don’t know how to small talk and become very suspicious if someone tries to talk to us. If you complimented my hair, my brain would tell me to run 'cause there is a risk of you wanting to cut it off and sell it. That’s why Swedes are so awkward."

    The great square of Stortorget, in Gamla Stan Stockholm Sweden

    12. England: "Feel free to chat to northerners. We love a good chat, but don't speak to southerners, especially Londoners. We hate it so much."


    13. London, England: "If you're in London, please don't be overly excited when in King's Cross or on the tube. I get that they're historically interesting and 'quintessentially English,' but it's active public transport that people are really using to get around (often to work), so just try to be respectful and keep out of people's way."


    14. France: "At a restaurant (or even at someone's house), taste the food before adding salt, pepper, ketchup, etc. We're super proud of our cooking, and we try to balance flavors well. So adding something without tasting it first could ruin the dish and kind of feels disrespectful to the cook."

    someone putting salt on food

    15. Paris, France: "One of the things I absolutely LOVED about Paris (besides everything) was the lack of small talk. I despise small talk. I find it a waste of time and phoney. In France, I didn't feel pressured to talk about the weather. I mean, I was polite and said 'Bonjour, comment allez-vous?' wherever I went, but I didn't have to stand there for 10 minutes to talk. I don't care how you're doing, and you don't care about how I'm doing.

    "I really dug that. ... Oh, and also smiling at someone when you walked past...didn't feel pressured to do that either. It was great!"


    16. Ireland: "Americans need to stop claiming distant Irish heritage in order to make a mockery of our culture when they come here to 'discover their Irish roots.' Americans who come to Ireland don’t realize that all of the Irish people think they’re really annoying, and Americans are literally the most hated tourists in Ireland, but they seem to think that everyone loves them here."


    17. Russia: "Don't say, 'Na zdorovje' to Russians [when drinking]. Just don't. They only say it if they give food or some other treat to someone after that person says, 'Thank you.' But they never say it when drinking. Say 'To health,' 'To our friendship,' etc."

    a group of people making a toast

    18. Portugal: "Please just visit and leave. Stop buying houses here, we can't afford to live in our more touristic towns anymore."



    19. Morocco: "Americans, stop smiling at strangers and making eye contact…especially if you’re a woman. Men usually take that as an invitation to harass you. Not all men, but a good chunk of them. I’m sure the same applies in many other countries as well."


    20. Kenya: "Coming to your country and telling you what your development should look like instead of listening to what the locals think it should look like."

    A woman working on the computer

    Lastly, Australia:

    21. "For Americans coming to Australia, it’s not as funny as you think when you’re trying to do an Australian accent. Especially when all you say is G’day mate."


    22. "Avoid eye contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. It is seen as a sign of respect."


    Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments of other "good" or "normal" things that tourists should not do when they visit.

    Responses have been edited for length and clarity.