Bacall Associates Travel Singapore: Innocent Hand Gestures You Should Never Use When Traveling Overseas

Several gestures are cool and fun in the United States that mean something completely different and offensive in other countries. Avoid these 10 hand gestures when traveling abroad!


The thumbs-up connotes approval or like in the U.S. and on Facebook. However, in Afghanistan, Iran, parts of Italy, and Greece, it means up yours. Next time you are trying to hitchhike in, Tuscany, you should reassess before sticking out your thumb.

Peace Sign With Palm Facing Inward

The peace sign gesture is what we often do when we want to wish someone peace, or when we want two. In the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, or New Zealand, make sure that when you do the peace sign, you have your index and middle fingers pointed up in the V shape and your palm is facing outward. Or else, you are giving the equal of the middle finger.

The OK

Making a circle with your index finger and thumb is not OK in several countries. In France, the gesture, for example, connotes zero or worthless. In Venezuela, Turkey, and Brazil, it symbolizes a vulgar slang that will insult anyone you show it.

Finger Summoning

The finger summoning gesture is what we do when we want someone to come closer or come over. In the Philippines, doing this using the curled index finger is perceived as rude. People there view the gesture as reserved for calling dogs. In places like Japan and Singapore, this act signifies death and calling bad luck.

Left Hand

In the Middle East, Sri Lanka, India, and Africa, people who are left-handed are traditionally viewed as filthy or unclean. The people in these places associates left hand as the one used in cleaning yourself in the bathroom, says Cracked.

Crossing Fingers

Crossing your index and middle fingers will not bring you good luck in Vietnam. In Vietnam, doing this gesture is very rude. Traditionally, this connotes a part of the female anatomy and is considered as very impolite when flashed at another person.


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