Should you split a bill in Beijing? Should you give a tip in Tokyo? Should you say Merry Christmas in Maryland? As Indians increasingly travel abroad — to both East and West, for business and pleasure — they have to navigate a minefield of manners and be mindful of local customs. India Inc tells you what to do and lets you in on its own learnings.Thou Shalt Not Order One-by-Two Soup: Shiladitya Mukhopadhyaya knows the old Indian soup trick: order a bowl and say 1 by 2, that charmed code word for the server to divide one portion for two people. The 35-year-old sales director at mobile marketing platform Clever-Tap knows that is par for the course in India where dishes are shared in a spirit of casual camaraderie and congenital thrift.Last month, he was introduced to a set of Swedish rules while he was out at a restaurant with his friends in Stockholm. “We got seven bills for our table,” he recalls. The server asked each one of them what they had ordered and issued separate bills.In countries like China, Japan and South Korea, however, the most senior or the richest person at the table often picks up the tab. Sometimes it is even considered impolite to offer to pay in the presence of a senior person.What to Do: Get a sense of the restaurant etiquette of a country before you traipse along for dinner. Have a split pea soup but do not split the pea soup.
By Shipra SinghIt was the perfect spring break in Tanzania for Delhi-based professional Priya Nanda. That is till she was duped out of Rs 9,000 by a smooth-talking scammer. This was in 2010. Since then, thousands of people travelling abroad on work or pleasure have been robbed of their money and valuables by frauds who only seem to have become more innovative with time.Nanda was cheated as she looked for a money changer. A tourist suggested a commission-free place he claimed to have used himself. He introduced her to a “cashier”, who handed her a wad of notes in exchange for dollars. “He counted the money really fast and counted twice. Since the pile was big and I wasn’t familiar with the local currency, I left without recounting it,” says Nanda. What she got was actually half the amount she should have. While you can be cheated anywhere, the chances are more in some countries. “The most notorious destinations are those with a high footfall like Thailand, Singapore and Europe,” says Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.So how do you protect yourself? To start with, carry a photocopy of your passport instead of the original when stepping out. Don’t hand your card to strangers at ATMs and acquaint yourself with the place before the trip starts. This will save you from the most common frauds. Remember, no insurance policy will cover travel scams.