Take Care With Your Gestures and Words While on Vacation

Daniel Ganninger
June 14, 2024


Certain gestures you might make in your own country could take on a completely different meaning in another country. Here are just a few examples.

In Bulgaria, a nod of the head means no, and shaking it means yes.

In Greece, “ne” means yes.

In India, a loose shake of the head can mean yes, no, or maybe.

In the Balkans, you’ll get a tongue click only that means “no.” To make things even more confusing, the people there will give you a tongue click with a head toss that also means “no,” or “no, we don’t have it.”

Take care when getting directions in Hungary. If the person is telling you to go straight and turn left, they will put out their index finger in a bent position, thereby telling you to go straight and turn left using only one finger. The bottom line is, just watch yourself while on vacation.

In Malaysia, pointing with the index finger is considered rude. An alternative is to point with the thumb, preferably the right thumb.

The thumbs-up sign, meaning everything is “good” or “ok” in the United States, has a much different meaning in countries in the Middle East and West Africa. In those countries it’s taken as an insult and is the equivalent of the middle finger gesture in the U.S.

Sources: ASWE Travel, Reader’s Digest, Business Insider