Last Monday, we explored the fifth (China) and fourth (Germany) entries in Skyscanner’s recent survey, “The World’s Rudest Nations for Travelers.” This week, we’ll conclude with the three rudest countries, as ranked by Skyscanner voters.
3. United Kingdom
British society is, was and always has been engrained in manners and formality. Those who do not adhere to the local code of conduct may receive a chilly response from others.
Luckily, the blogosphere is full of sites devoted to British manners. Debrett’s Guide to British Behaviour features an extensive directory of social situations and corresponding etiquette.
One passage reads: “It is notoriously difficult to socially kiss while wearing a wide-brimmed hat. There is a knack to tilting the head at a suitable angle, but two ladies both in wide brimmed hats should avoid such an ‘intimate’ greeting.”
Manners & Mores – the official blog of international consultancy firm, The English Manners – shares the proper protocol for royal ceremonies, boat races and shooting matches and other traditional British pastimes.
English-speaking visitors to the UK will easily communicate with most locals — but certain words carry different meanings for the British. To avoid confusion, consult The Best of British – a comprehensive online guide to vocabulary and slang used in the UK.
According to a humorous viral clip produced by St George International, hand gestures carry a lot of weight in the UK. The video urges visitors to familiarize themselves with these arbitrary — yet potentially offensive — gesticulations.
“The first cultural difference that you will notice,” states Travel All Russia, “is that Russians seem to less friendly [sic].” But this is not necessarily rudeness on their part, since Russian citizens are traditionally reserved and prolonged eye contact between strangers is considered impolite.
The native language may play a role, as well. “Russians can be more direct when talking, which may be misconstrued as being rude,” says Tatiana Danilova, Russian Market Manager for Skyscanner.
“However this is more a difference in culture than genuine rudeness,” she says. “The Russian language is not as polite as English, so when Russians translate directly from Russian to English, it can sound rude to an English speaker even if they don’t mean it to.”
Vasiliy Serov of Russiatrek.org, arguably the most comprehensive resource for travelers to that nation, notes that Russian policemen have been known to steal from or unfairly fine tourists. For tourists in need of police assistance, he suggests they report the crime to a local police station — and, if possible, bring a Russian with them.
Serov also has some valuable advice pertaining to the strict rules for standing in Russian lines: “Just advance [your] elbows, learn some rude phrases and go ahead — through the crowd. Good luck.”
Way to Russia notes that Russians are generous when it comes to meal preparation: “If you’re invited for a meal, expect that the hosts will feed you until you feel completely full and not capable of moving. If you think that’s dangerous for your health, or you’re on a diet, we advise you to emulate satiety, otherwise you will end up badly.”
There should be little doubt that Paris plays a role in France’s poll placement. The landlocked metropolis has a historically notorious reputation among visitors of all nationalities, who claim the streets are dirty and the residents are snooty.
In regard to cleanliness, Paris, like other large European cities, has both gritty and pristine areas. Paris Perfect: Paris Apartment Rentals offers a comprehensive online guide to the city’s most picturesque neighborhoods.
The rude reputation attributed to the city’s 2.2 million people may not have much merit nowadays. Results of recent polls from Virtual Tourist, TripAdvisor and Rick Steves’ Europe indicate that the majority of contributors found Parisians to be warm and accommodating.
However, there was one common thread of complaint: Parisians can often be rude or dismissive toward non-French speakers.
Tory Hoen, a blogger for Haven in Paris, addressed this issue in a 2010 post. “Even if you don’t speak French, learn some basic phrases and always lead with them,” she wrote. “A little effort (no matter how poorly accented) can make all the difference between charming a Parisian and alienating one.”
In addition, Hoen suggests that tourists “try smiling,” “don’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” and “above all, don’t take anything personally.”
A like-minded post from the blog, Lost in Cheeseland: Musings on Food, Love, Life & Struggles in Paris, notes that customary courtesies go a long way in the City of Lights. For instance, one should always greet store owners with a healthy “Bonjour!” upon arrival. And pedestrians should stick to the right side of the sidewalk.
But realistically, travelers in France have two things on the brain: fine dining and world-famous wine. French Restaurants, a restaurant guide by L’Internaute is a free iPhone app that features profiles and user reviews of more than 56,000 eateries and wine bars in France.
Aspiring oenophiles should consult Wines of France, a user-friendly guide to growing regions, varietals and companion dishes.
Poll notes: France earned nearly 20 percent of the votes. “As our closest neighbors, there has long been a familiar rivalry between the U.K. and France,” Skyscanner’s Travel Editor, James Baldwin, told Forbes, adding that the preponderance of votes from British citizens might have contributed to the poll results. “Even the French acknowledge that the way they are perceived is not entirely without basis.”
According to Skyscanner, locals were the least likely to act rude in Brazil (0.08 percent of the votes), the Caribbean (0.08 percent), the Philippines (0.17 percent) and Thailand (0.25 percent).
Regions like the Middle East, Spanish-speaking South America and Sub-Saharan Africa were ignored entirely by voters.
The United States placed sixth on the original poll.