Whether you’re a social media butterfly, a fixed-time internet user, a troll, a family member who happens to come online to see how their siblings, nieces and nephews (not to forget – their friends) are doing, or just someone who’s recently been baptized into the web community; it would be a lie if you said that you haven’t come across posts about travel. Everything from what your country passport allows, travel hacks, cheap travel destinations and accommodations for friends and family, honeymooners and backpackers; you’ve been a virtual witness to how travel has assumed an important place in people’s lives.
One of the common reasons why many feel inclined to travel is that it provides a platform to explore, grow, see things from different perspectives, experience spontaneity and adventure, so on and so forth. Although you may travel to seek new things, you can’t deny the fact that when you seek, you also give a part of yourself to the people you come across. It is this reason why one must not think just about what they’re going to experience but also about how they’ll help create a unique experience for the people they’ll meet, especially the locals.
One of the quickest ways to strike a chord is by greeting and speaking the local language during your travels. Now greeting may not seem like a daunting task at first, and it isn’t really. But it’s important to try and get it right, even if it means a few initial embarrassing moments. You don’t want to appear ignorant or disrespectful while visiting another country because greetings do differ according to community gender roles, superstitions, belief system, etc.
Let’s have a look at how people greet one another in different parts of the world :-
Ni hao (nee-how)
A polite and gentle handshake. A slight bow or a nod is also acceptable.
Strangers usually shake hands, whereas acquaintances, family and friends share a kiss on the cheek.
Guten tag (gootan taag)
Brief, but firm handshake with direct eye contact to be exchanged both while meeting & departing.
4. Hong Kong
Néih hóu (nay-hoh)
Handshakes here are rather gentle and residents tend to lower their eyes while greeting as a mark of respect for the other. Bowing slightly while giving a handshake is common.
Hands pressed together, palms touching the fingers pointing upwards, thumbs pointing upwards, thumbs gesture can be accompanied by saying ‘Namaste’ or even without it.
buon giorno (bwohn- geeornoh)
Handshake is a polite gesture for strangers and acquaintances. Greet everyone, even if they’re in a group.
Bowing is the norm instead of a handshake. Deeper, longer bows indicate higher level of respect. Conversely, small nod with the head is understood to be casual and informal.
Selamat Siang (Suh-la-mat See-ang)
Handshakes are a common way of greeting the other; however it may not be the same when a man greets a woman. In unsure circumstances, it is acceptable to bow in place of a handshake or to wait till the other initiates contact.
9. Middle East & North Africa
Ahlan wa Sahlan (ahlaan-w-sahlaan)
While meeting someone for the first time, greet one another by a handshake. It Is customary to shake hands and kiss each other on each cheek when meeting with family, friends.
It is expected that you share a good handshake, make direct eye contact and accompany that with a smile.
Between acquaintances, a kiss is exchanged on both cheeks however if meeting for the first time, a handshake and a nod should suffice.
Shake hands with everyone present, starting from the eldest. It is usually coupled with a kiss on the cheek if there’s familiarity established.
With palms pressed together in pa prayer-like fashion and a slight bow, this gesture is common with that done in India.
*The above list is not exhaustive as gestures and greetings differ based on gender, social setting, occasion, etc. It’s best to get more information about them before assuming a standardized form for both.