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  • Writer's pictureErin

Common Greetings From Around The World

Updated: Apr 17

One often overlooked aspect of traveling is greetings. Somethings are relatively common gestures, including handshakes, air & face kisses, and bows. These have developed over the years to signify respect, honor, and dignity. When traveling, it is important to understand how to greet hosts and new people you meet properly.


The handshake is one of the most common greetings across so many different cultures. The history of the handshake is thought to have its roots in showing opponents and people that you encounter that you didn’t have any weapons by extending your right hand and offering to the person you are approaching. Today it has shifted quite a bit, but it still shows a sign of an oath or bond. One important thing to note is that though a common greeting, a handshake varies from country to country. In China, a soft handshake is a great greeting, whereas a strong, firm handshake is expected in countries like Germany or the United Kingdom.

Air/Face Kisses

This is probably the second most common greeting you will see throughout Europe and Latin America. The origin of this greeting dates back to the Anglo-Saxons and is tied closely to the emotional bonds of a tight community. This greeting varies quite a bit and can consist of one kiss or a combination of two or three, depending on your country. This typically only applies to women greeting other women and occasionally women greeting men.


The greeting found in many Asian countries is bowing. The history of this type of bowing stems from the Buddhist religion as a way of showing respect. After 1600 bowing was introduced into the overall cultures. This bow varies from region to region. In Japan, the bow differed in angle and time depending on the person their greeting and their social status. In some countries, pressing hands over your heart and bowing is a greeting.

Now that you know how to greet people no matter which culture you visit, you know the right way to greet new friends when traveling. It is time to put these skills to use. Schedule a consultation with me today to plan your trip, find the best way to travel, and greet others like locals.

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