There is a proverb that says, “When in Rome, be Roman”.
While it's very easy to travel down-under, we'd similarly say, "When in Australia, be Aussie".
Australia probably has the most casual cultural ethics. People here are more chilled out ... they'll call you by your first name, and wear slippers and call them thongs.
So, to get more comfortable with the locals and the environment, it's probably best to adapt or be aware of some Do's & Don'ts. Some are for your safety, some may save you unnecessary mis-understanding.
Here we’ve noted down some of the basic Aussie do’s and don’ts to better help enjoy your trip down-under.
· Do carry a list of emergency phone numbers.
· Do make sure to wear waterproof sunscreen lotion when outdoors.
· Do keep valuables in the safe deposit of your hotel room.
· Do change currency with a recognized money changer.
· Do use seat belts while driving in Australia, it's mandatory for everyone. (BTW, if cycling, you must also wear a helmet).
· Do sit in the front with the taxi driver. While it's customary for men, women traveling alone can sit in the back passenger seat.
· Do wear casual clothing if not going to a business function.
· Do greet with a smile and a handshake. It's customary to shake hands at the beginning and end of a meeting.
· Do keep eye contact when speaking, and maintain personal space.
· Do get some knowledge of major sports and how the local team is getting on. Sport is supreme in Australia.
· Do offer to buy the first round of drinks at the pub. This will also mean that you won’t have to get up for the next couple of rounds.
· Do take warning signs seriously for your own safety.
· Do be careful when driving at night in less populated areas as wildlife may abound.
· Do remember that tipping is not mandatory in Australia. You won’t get terrible service or be frowned upon if you don’t leave a tip. However, you may tip for exceptional service received ... but again it’s not compulsory.
· Do remember to hold on to your rubbish until you find a bin. You may be reported if seen tossing rubbish on the streets ... and can be fined up to $600.
· Do not forget to carry photocopies of essential documents ... and leave copies back home.
· Do not bring prohibited items with you, such as meat, packaged food, dairy products or fresh fruits and vegetables.
· Do not eat, drink or smoke on public transport, or in public buildings.
· Do not swim outside the red and yellow flags at beaches for your safety.
· Do not hire from unlicensed operators.
· Do not be surprised by what's worn (or not) on beaches.
· Do not be offended being addressed by your first name. In Australia first names are used both in personal greetings and business correspondence. Professional titles are not prominent and are sometimes dismissed as pretentious
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· Do not visit unannounced. Unexpected visits are not part of Australian culture.
· Do not be surprised if you're asked to bring your own beer and meat when invited to a barbeque. BBQ is a big part of Australian culture.
· Don’t go off the track while traveling in Australia. While it’s always better to travel with a local guide, if traveling alone don’t experiment with directions.