Anytime you go to a new country, there is always lots of exciting things to do and see! However, there are also do’s and don’ts. What is acceptable in some countries may not always be okay in others. For example, at most sushi or Chinese restaurants in the United States you are given a cheap set of wooden chopsticks. Most of us rub the sticks together before eating and this is perfectly acceptable unless you are in China; rubbing the sticks together is a sign of disrespect and tells the hosts that you think their silverware is cheap. Keep in mind when visiting the country that Australia uses British English, so for non-native English speaker, I would advise you to learn a few English words to start with. So before you jet off to beautiful Australia, check our list of do’s and don’ts!
Don’ts in Australia
By following these simple rules, you will have a good, safe time in Australia without offending anyone or embarrassing yourself!
1. Flip people the bird
Just like in the United States, an extended middle finger is a rude gesture. Although you may want to give it to at least one person during your trip, avoid doing so!
2. Blow your nose in public
Blowing your nose in public is considered to be extremely unacceptable in Australia, so excuse yourself to the bathroom before clearing your nostrils!
3. No touching other men in public
This rule extends to hugs, pats, or touches of any kind. It is considered socially unacceptable.
4. Do not put your elbows on the table during meals
You probably remember your mother saying this throughout your childhood: putting your elbows on the table when eating is rude. The Australians feel the same way! So do not be surprised if you are reminded to take them off the table when you forget.
5. Check warnings before swimming
The ocean can be a dangerous place, especially in Australia. Before getting into the water, make sure you check all of the warnings first. Sharks may have been spotted or the tiny, deadly jellyfish might be making its rounds so play it safe!
6. Appointments only
Do not visit without an appointment or announcement. Showing up randomly is not something that is part of Australian culture, so if you wish to see someone, make sure you call and make arrangements first!
7. Bring your own beer and meat
If you get invited to a “Barbie” (barbeque) do not be surprised if you are asked to bring your own beer and meat. These are huge social events for Australians and are similar to American potlucks in nature.
Do’s in Australia
In addition to having lots of fun and the perfect vacation, there are some definite do’s to follow!
1. Convert your currency
Upon arrival, you should convert your money to the current Australian currency. There are several money converters conveniently placed throughout so make sure you stop at one!
2. Taxi etiquette
In the United States, we tend to sit in the back when riding in a taxi. In Australia however, you should ride upfront with the driver unless you are a woman traveling alone. If this is the case, ride in the back.
3. Interacting appropriately
When conversing with a local, make sure you maintain proper distance (breathing room) and hold eye contact. This is incredibly important to their culture and you can easily offend them by not doing so!
4. Bring your own beer
When you go to a restaurant, you are permitted and in most cases encouraged to bring your own beer. Although you may feel like a cheapskate, it is perfectly acceptable! Plus, it saves you money! However, this is discouraged from upscale restaurants.
5. Shaking hands
Just like in the United States, it is customary to offer a smile and a handshake when first meeting someone. At the end of the conversation, you will also be expected to repeat the process.
6. Address locals by first name
You might be surprised at first when you get to Australia and learn that everyone addresses each other by first name rather than Mr., Mrs., or Ms. And their last name. However, you should definitely join in on the local tradition unless specifically told otherwise.
7. Tip if you enjoyed the service
Although tipping is not a general custom when it comes to Australian culture, it is definitely appreciated. Waiters, taxi drivers, and such do not expect tips but appreciate the gesture.