Travel Etiquette Series: Spain

by Adam Barralet

spain flag

Our Flightie Adam Barralet has been all over the world and has learned a lot of valuable tips along the way. Each week he takes us to a different country and offers his tips on what to expect and what manners are acceptable. After taking us to France, China, and Germany, today he takes us to the beautiful country of Spain:

Welcome to Spain where you are likely to be greeted with much joviality. In social situations men will often greet each other with a big bear hug involving lots of back slapping. Women will greet both men and women with a kiss on both cheeks. In more formal or business situations a handshake with eye contact at both greeting and departure are fitting. The Spanish are big on physical contact and close contact. Pull away and you will be closed off as quickly as you are welcomed.

The Spanish are passionate about their friends and family and this comes across in their interactions. Conversations in Spain are often loud and animated so make sure you getting into the swing of it. Just keep in mind that the Spanish don’t appreciate showing off, individuals who try too hard, criticism of Spanish culture and racism.

In Spain they work to a different clock to what you may be used to. It is not uncommon for dinner reservations to be made for 10pm as Spaniards love to take a stroll before dinner. Night clubs often don’t open till midnight. I hope you are not in a rush to experience Spain as you are likely to come across manana, which means tomorrow. It’s a common response if you try and rush someone for when something will be finished. In Spain buses aren’t likely to run on time and don’t be surprised if everyone shows up thirty minutes late.

At dinner, in formal situations, the host and hostess will sit at opposite ends of the table with guests of honour of the opposite sex sitting to their right. When invited to a home for dinner it is polite to bring a small gift such as flowers or chocolates. If you are given a gift, it should always be opened in front of the giver. Clear your plate as leaving food is considered wasteful.

Finally, the lively interactions, the late nights and all the waiting for manana may be tiresome but don’t make a habit of yawning and stretching as it’s seen as rude.

Want more tips from Adam?

Let us know where you’re travelling next and he’ll write about it! Adam Barralet is Assistant Manager at our Flight Centre- Sheppard Centre in Toronto and can be reached by E-mail or by calling 1-866-828-1390.

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