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Traveling Internationally? Avoid These Gaffes

When Mark Zuckerberg failed to tip for a meal or two in Rome on his honeymoon, it set the media abuzz. Although tipping is not required or expected in Italy, Americans are known to tip. Furthermore, Zuckerberg is known to be worth quite a bit of money, although not as much as he was a few weeks ago.

Did Zuckerberg goof by not tipping? That’s hard to say, according to Daniel Post Senning, the great-great grandson of Emily Post and co-author of “The 18th Edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette.”

“It’s literally a cliché: ‘When in Rome...’ That is the larger concept—when you’re a guest in someone’s home, you operate under their rules. Certain expectations are incumbent on a guest. Maybe Mark got himself in a little trouble, maybe he researched ahead and [tipping in Italy is] about the level of service, not as firm a part of the social contract as it is here in the States. It is a subtlety…[although] as a very prominent American he might want to err toward more familiar territory.”

Obviously not all Americans face such scrutiny when traveling abroad, but it’s still advisable to avoid playing into the stereotype of the Ugly American. Here are some of the major ways American travelers can avoid unintentionally offending the locals.

By Colleen KanePosted 31 May 2012

Grant Faint | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images