Be hospitable in China: Tips for American travelers and athletes

One of the best things a person can do before traveling to a new country is to find out cultural norms in order to know how to be polite. It’s a great way to make friends, get the best prices when bargaining, and to not create a situation where someone is mad at you because you’ve made a faux pas without realizing it.

Jim Wells at behospitable of the Hilton Hotels hooked us into travel tips to help Americans (or anyone else for that matter) know how to behave when heading to China for the Olympic games.

This is part of the Hilton Hotels’ campaign to help people be the stellar travelers we love to love. Hilton Hotels is one of the sponsors of the games and have been getting involved big time. (No, I’m not being paid to say that, it’s just an observation.)

Whether you’re one of the athletes or a couch potato, follow these tips and you’ll leave China happy and the Chinese will be happy to have had you as a visitor.

The tips are presented by athletes in videos and print form. These are a good read whether you are going to China or not since they offer a glimpse into the Chinese value system. From this link, click on the hospitableTraveler: A call to Act box. This will lead you the tips. Click on the learn more tabs to “Thoughtfulness,” “Character” and “Awareness.” If you have problems accessing that link, try this one. Under the heading “Dining,” you’ll even find rules for using chopstick rules.

There is also a link to helpful Mandarin phrases like “Where is the bathroom?” When I was in Beijing, I used the bathroom at McDonald’s several times. I bet that by the time the Olympics start, Beijing will be flush in Western style toilets.