A Global Guide to Cellphone Etiquette

It’s a given that etiquette rules will vary depending on where in the world you are; naturally, the same goes for cellphone etiquette, too. But how’s a novice world traveler to know what’s polite or impolite from location to location? To help you out, phone repair company RepairLabs (via LifeHacker) has put together a handy-dandy infographic featuring a few important cellphone etiquette rules from each of 11 different countries. True, 11 is a small number when you consider exactly how many nations there are (196, to be exact); but the infographic offers a pretty broad spread across the continents, so hey, it’s a place to start.

A few highlights:

  • Brush up on your small talk. In Egypt, it’s the norm to chat about pleasantries for about five minutes before getting to the meat of the call.
  • Don’t screen your calls. It’s considered especially rude in Brazil — although it’s worth noting that if you pick up during a meeting or a movie or something, it’s also polite to step out of the room to take the call.
  • Read the signs. In Japan, it’s frowned upon to talk on the phone in public places. Signs posted will often tell you not to do it, so pay attention.
  • Avoid eating while you’re on the phone. They really hate that in the UK.
  • Don’t talk or text and drive. Car, bus, bike, whatever, and wherever — if you’re piloting a vehicle of any sort, leave your phone in your pocket. Safety first!

Of course, beyond just etiquette, there are a lot of technical things to bear in mind when it comes to international cell phone usage; if you want to avoid running up your bill, though, Travel and Leisure has a whole bunch of solid tips for traveling with cellphones. A word of advice: If you can get away with using anything other than a roaming U.S. phone, do. Trust me. Your wallet will thank you.

Images: Monkey Business/Fotolia; RepairLabs