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TLF’s rough guide to travel etiquette in 2022

By Katie Reed | July 13, 2022 | Blog

After two years of lockdowns and restrictions, are you, like me, excited at the thought of getting on a plane to jet off somewhere exotic? I’ve missed sitting on a beach, exploring a new city or just having time to relax and unwind. With flights and hotels booked, the out of office on and a shiny new phrasebook in my hand I’m ready to go. Almost…

We all know about the language barrier when visiting a new country, but what about those all-important local customs? It’s easy to offend when you don’t know the etiquette. With that in mind, we at The Language Factory have updated our rough guide to travel etiquette to save you from awkward situations and dirty looks!

Our do’s and don’ts to make your holiday run smoothly

Popular family destinations for Brits this summer include Spain, Italy, Portugal and Turkey, with Paris, Rome and Amsterdam topping the list of cities to visit


Italians only drink cappuccino with breakfast so you’ve probably got until around 11am to get your order in. You may not offend anyone but you’ll definitely receive some funny looks from the waiter at your favourite Roman café if you ask him for a cappuccino to wash down your lunch.


In Portugal, don’t ask for salt or pepper in a restaurant if it is not already on the table. This is considered to be an insult to the cook and cooks are highly respected in Portugal.


Conversations of a financial kind are definitely off the table in France. While it is seen as particularly inappropriate at the dinner table, the French don’t like to talk about money at all. If you are splitting a bill in a restaurant, split it equally. Making sure you’ve covered your extra glass of wine won’t win you any social points here.


In Turkey, however, if you invite someone for a meal, splitting the bill is considered rude and you would be expected to pay for everyone. it’s worth also noting the differences in some common gestures, for example, a downward head nod means ‘yes’, whereas an upward nod with raised eyebrows and a tutting sound means ‘no’.

The Netherlands

The golden rule for walking the winding streets of Amsterdam is to avoid straying into cycle paths. More patient locals may slow down for wandering pedestrians, but many cyclists will simply ride straight though crowds of tourists without any hesitation.

Happy travelling!