It’s January 26: Australia Day 2015, a perfect time to examine the subtle and not so subtle ways of our Aussie mates. With the Australian dollar hitting new lows against the US dollar, now’s a great time to extend a business trip…. or just head down for a nice vacation.
Let’s jump right in with five ways to behave in the Land of Oz:
Tipping Point: The debate on tipping versus no tipping in Australia is ongoing. However, more often than in the past, tipping is now accepted even though that was not the case back ten or twenty years ago. In fact, in business and especially while hosting a meal at a fine restaurant, the act of leaving a tip is increasingly common.
As one Sydneysider told TravelSkills, “If you love the service, tip as much as you want. If you don’t, really don’t bother.” She added, “The minimum wage is a lot higher here, so there is no need to tip as a matter of course. Even if you are trying to impress a room full of business contacts, I would still follow this policy. After all, Aussies won’t respect someone for tipping bad service.”
Riding Along: Australian taxi riding is played out in a much different way than in, say, New York or San Francisco, where getting into a cab means getting in the back seat unless more than a couple people are riding with you.
In Oz, the opposite is true. If you’re sharing a taxi with a colleague, by all means sit together in the back but if you’re flying solo, choose the front seat beside the driver. And expect a good gab session out of this experience as well since cabby’s are happy to chat about almost anything with the person paying the fare.’
The Language Beat: Talking to another an Australian can test even the most acclimated traveler’s verbal knowledge. Those of us who have traveled to Australia before [See Chris’s BBC Business Trip Sydney] may have found out the hard way that if you want American coffee, you need to order a long black- a combination of espresso and hot water.
Other words and phrases to get know so you can act like a local are numerous. Some include “aggro” which is short for aggressive, and “arvo,” short for afternoon. A “bludger” is a lazy person, a term no business traveler wants to be tagged, and a “bogan” is a person without class or good taste (also not good if you want to conduct business with the person calling you this).
Meanwhile, “strewth,” which rhymes with “truth,” means just that and “on the piss” indicates it’s time to leave work and go out to a bar to drink together. The latter can be a very bonding experience that could put your business acquaintanceship into the friend category by the end of the evening.
Rude Reactions: Learning to avoid certain offensive silent expressions in Australia might come in handy during a business trip to Oz.
So, keep in mind that although a thumbs-up signals a positive, happy meaning in the United States, and is almost universally used around the world and even down under, this same signal is traditionally unacceptable with older Australians. In fact, the gesture is often interpreted as being downright obscene among older generations while younger nationals will probably not care at all or else will just let it go in short order.
A Good Day: Finally, Australia is a very friendly place where saying hi after offering a semi-hardy handshake is just fine when meeting a business associate who hails from this chummy nation. However, don’t try to be a good business mate by saying “G’day” because that overused and, yes, abused way of saying hello is just for tourists — and, even then, only tolerated.
What are the two best all-around credit cards? Both currently offer 40,000 mile sign up bonuses!
Like what you just read? Then say so! Scroll back up to the top and LIKE the post on Facebook, post it on Linked In and/or tweet it!
Would you rather get TravelSkills Weekly instead of Daily? No probs! click here to sign up for TravelSkills Weekly.
Please join the 85,000+ people who read TravelSkills every month! Sign up here for one email-per-day updates!