If you’re going to be traveling internationally on business, you’re going to need to learn a thing or two about tipping, haggling and bribing. While your culture may not do some or any of these things, it is commonplace in many other cultures and not doing it could actually be harmful. Make sure to read up on the local customs in advance.
- Americans often assume that tipping is appreciated anywhere you go, but it actually isn’t. While tipping is seen as polite but unusual in areas such as Canada, it can actually be seen as an insult in Asian countries. In Asian countries, the act of tipping states that the other person must need the money because their service is so poor. Moreover, the amount that you tip can vary wildly depending on where you are; the standard 20 percent rule in America may not apply and you may end up insulting someone without realizing it. Make sure you know local tipping customs before you reach into that wallet!
- Haggling is an incredibly important part of many cultures, and you’re going to end up getting ripped off in these areas if you don’t negotiate at least a little. In haggling countries, the sticker prices are often astronomically higher than the legitimate market prices for items. You may want to consider it a great way to practice your negotiating tactics for the business world. Many of the merchants are expert hagglers that will be able to truly test your skills. (At the same time, you definitely don’t want to attempt to haggle in a country that doesn’t do it; it will be considered very insulting!)
- Bribery is illegal in most of America but it’s commonplace in many other countries. Many Asian countries and South American countries practice bribery. Bribery doesn’t mean that you’re paying someone off to do anything illegal; it’s simply used as a monetary lubricant to get things done. As an example, you would “bribe” the concierge to get you better restaurant reservations. Bribery often occurs in countries where everything is quite cheap already, so it really isn’t that big of a deal; it’s simply that the best products and services are up to the highest bidder. One thing you don’t want to do: don’t try to bribe a cop of any culture unless you’re very, very certain that is a local custom.
When in doubt ,as a local. It can be invaluable to discuss the above three money customs with someone who is used to the area before you get there. Otherwise you could find yourself bribing someone in a country that doesn’t accept bribes or tipping in a country that doesn’t favor tipsTags: international travel tips, tipping overseas