QCOSTARICA – No matter how considerate, good-hearted and courteous of a tourist you might be, and offending the locals might not be your intention, the possibility of slight is always possible.

Thankful, Reddit has come to the rescue, listing some of the surprising things tourists do and they should avoid.

Reddit user Draculix reached out to the Reddit community about things that are considered extremely insensitive and impolite that tourists might not know beforehand of the country they are visiting.

Sign telling people not to slam the door.
Sign telling people not to slam the door.

In Costa Rica, for example, DON’T SLAM CAR DOORS.  Especially taxis. Try to be gentle when getting in and out. “I wouldn’t call it EXTREMELY offensive but people will definitely give you the stink eye for that. Some rude taxi drivers could even give you a bad time.” explains a Reddit user.

And, given Costa Rica’s historically tense relationship with its northern neighbour Nicaragua, tourist should be aware of this and refrain from making disparaging comments of the “Nicas”.

And a bonus: Ticos (Costa Ricans) don’t grasp the concept of sarcasm, even if well translated. Stay to the point. A bad joke may result in an EXTREME OFFENSE.

Again, thanks to the good people at Reddit, here are some of other top things to avoid as a tourist around the world.

In Thailand, don’t touch someone’s head. As a person’s head is the highest point on their body, it’s the part that demands the most respect in Thailand, a Reddit user explained.

Therefore, it’s considered extremely rude to touch a Thai person on the head — if you were ever inclined to do so.

And on the other end of the scale, you should also watch where you’re pointing your feet, the Redditor added.

“Never point your feet at a Buddha statue, it’s considered very rude,” they said.

“Also, if you step on money, you’ll be thrown in jail, it has the king’s face on it and disrespecting him in any way (like stepping on his image or saying you hate him) will get you a one-way ticket to a not very nice prison.”

Thailand’s royal family is protected from insult and criticism by the country’s strict lese majeste laws.

In the Middle East, don’t show off the bottoms of your feet. In many parts of the Middle East, showing off the bottom of your feet — and even the soles of your shoes — is considered a great insult.

Many tourists inadvertently show disrespect when crossing their legs and pointing their soles at someone, a Redditor pointed out.

It’s all because the foot is considered the lowliest part of the body.

And it also explains why flinging shoes at a person — such as former US president George Bush — intends to deeply offend.
A certain cocktail of a certain name could flare up a temper or two both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

A certain cocktail of a certain name could flare up a temper or two both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.Source:Supplied

At an Irish Pus, watch what you’re ordering. Many people are familiar with the American cocktail, the Irish Car Bomb: a concoction of Guinness, whiskey and Irish cream.

But it doesn’t take a genius to realise the drink’s name doesn’t go down to well in Northern Ireland, where car bombs were a horrific reality during The Troubles.

The cocktail also goes by the name Black and Tan, due to its colouring, but it’s best to avoid that name in the Republic of Ireland as well — that was also the name used to describe British troops who joined the fight against the Irish independence movement in the early 20th century.

To avoid offending the bar staff, you’re best off ordering a “half and half” instead.

The Queen’s Guards are great to photograph, but not to mess around with.
The Queen’s Guards are great to photograph, but not to mess around with.

When visiting the UK, remember not to antagonize the Queen’s Guards. A selfie with some royal guards, such as the Tower of London’s iconic Yeoman Warders. But remember: they’re actually there to do an important job.

A Redditor pointed out the Queen’s Guards are not just decoration and not purely ceremonial — instead, they’re highly trained soldiers armed with loaded firearms, and charged with the crucial task of protecting official royal residences.

So they’re really don’t appreciate hordes annoying tourists trying to make them crack and smile.

Romanians and flowers is a complicated. Offering a bunch of flowers, chocolates or another small gift when visiting someone in Romania is very polite etiquette.

Swiss Guard posted at St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
Swiss Guard posted at St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

But if you opt for a gift of flowers, make sure you double-check how many are in the bunch.


Bouquets with an even number of flowers are reserved for funerals in Romania, so it’s best to gift a living person with an odd number of flowers instead.

Also keep in mind that as in many places, roses are usually only exchanged by people in romantic relationships.

In Rome, don’t make fun of the Swiss Guard. The Swiss are, as most of you know, in a special arrangement with the Vatican: they provide the Swiss Guard, the elite group of mercenaries who protect the Pope. The Swiss Guard in full uniform is not a jester, a clown.

The official dress uniform is of blue, red, orange and yellow with a distinctly Renaissance appearance.

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