In Greece, don't wave to anyone with an open palm -- even when greeting a friend. And don't show your palm, though you might think to do so when gesturing for someone to wait or hold on, or showing the number five. "It is essentially the way one flips someone the bird in Greece, but more than that, it states, 'I reject you,'" Lonely Planet says.
In Asia, It's bad etiquette to point at objects or people with your feet, and don't prop your feet on chairs or tables while sitting. Never touch any part of someone's body with your foot, "which is considered the lowest part of the body," the guidebook publisher says. "If you accidentally do this, apologize by touching your hand to the person's arm and then touching your own head."
Refrain from touching people on the head or ruffling their hair. "The head is spiritually the highest part of the body," Lonely Planet says. "Don't sit on pillows meant as headrests, as it is a variant on this taboo."
In Thailand, monks are not supposed to touch or be touched by women. If a woman wants to hand something to a monk, the object should be placed within reach of the monk or on the monk's receiving cloth.
Travelers to Thailand shouldn't be alarmed if locals pick their noses while talking to you. "It's considered a natural act of good hygiene," Lonely Planet says.
Business etiquette: In Brazil, expect clients to answer cellphones during meetings -- even in mid-conversation. It's considered rude to not answer a phone call in Brazil to at least say you will call back and interrupting a meeting for this purpose isn't considered rude, Lonely Planet says.
Punctuality is uncommon in Brazil, the guidebook publisher says, so anticipate that appointments will be up to 30 minutes early or late.
In the Caribbean, address people with titles such as mister or professor "until a first-name is explicitly offered," Lonely Planet says.
Inexperienced North American business travelers commit etiquette blunders more than 70% of the time when doing business abroad, says Ann Marie Sabath, author of Business Etiquette: 101 Ways to Conduct Business with Charm and Savvy.
Common blunders include not bringing a gift made in the USA for a first meeting with a client, not saying "good morning, good afternoon or good evening" and not expressing interest in a country's history and culture, Sabath says. Other faux pas are taking a foreign client to lunch and talking about business, and assuming that a handshake rather than a kiss or bow is an appropriate introduction, she says.
Syndi Seid, an etiquette trainer and speaker, says it's "common and inevitable" that business travelers will make etiquette mistakes in a foreign country.
The key, however, is to minimize the mistakes and know how to recover from them without compounding them into something much worse," she says.
Business travelers often give inappropriate gifts when they visit Chinese businesses, says Rob Collins, co-author of Doing Business in China for Dummies. Gifts considered inappropriate include clocks, hats, handkerchiefs and umbrellas.
Collins says it's also common for American business travelers to make such etiquette mistakes as being late -- "the Chinese are usually very punctual" -- or arrogant.
"The Chinese are humble people, so being pompous won't get you very far," he says. "Check your ego when you check your bags at the airport."