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Customs & Culture

Travel Tip

Carry the name and address of your hotel with you.

If you have a reservation with us, you can find detailed information about your tour destination(s), including information about customs and culture, in the General Information document on your My Odyssey portal. You may also wish to search our blog for posts that are relevant to your tour. Below is some general advice for when you are traveling abroad.


Know and respect the local culture.

In Muslim countries, for example, it is inappropriate for women to bare their shoulders in public and disrespectful for non-Muslims to drink alcohol in public during Ramadan. Some Buddhist countries require that your legs be covered and your shoes off in order to enter sacred temples. In Thailand, it is considered rude to touch a child on the head. The more you learn about the customs of the country you’re visiting, the more courteous – and welcome – you will be as a traveler. It is also helpful (and most encouraged) to learn a few words and phrases of the language spoken where you will be traveling, such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, and you’re welcome.


Be sensitive when taking photos.

In some cultures, the act of photography is believed to steal the soul of the person whose picture is being taken. And no one, anywhere, wishes to be perceived as simply an exotic subject for your camera. So it is always best and most respectful to ask permission before taking pictures of people, whether at home or abroad. Even if you don’t speak the language, just pointing at your camera and smiling will get your point across. Sharing a few photos with your subjects on your digital camera or smartphone is a great cultural icebreaker. And don’t be surprised if some children (and sometimes adults) want a small tip or gift for allowing you to take their photo.


Bargaining overseas

While you would never consider bargaining at your local department store, it’s a way of life in many markets and bazaars around the world. A good rule of thumb is not to buy unless you know the fair price of an item. You can find this out by looking in stores or by asking your tour director or hotel staff. Once you have a fair price in mind, you can then bargain fairly and effectively. Then, once you and the vendor agree on a price, you should complete the transaction by actually purchasing the item (if you are not serious about making a purchase, don’t engage in the bargaining in the first place). In general, your opening offer should be around half of the price the vendor first states.



Some common measurements you may encounter on tour:


1 inch

2.54 centimeters

1 yard

0.9 meters

1 mile

1.6 kilometers



1 pint

0.47 liters

1 quart

0.95 liters

1 gallon

3.79 liters



32 ℉

0 ℃

50 ℉

10 ℃

68 ℉

20 ℃

77 ℉

25 ℃

86 ℉

30 ℃

95 ℉

35 ℃

Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET

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