I was told not to leave home without it. No, it’s not my American Express card (although that will certainly be making the trip.) Nope. When I board Continental’s extended range Boeing 777 on Sunday for Delhi, a smallish book entitled Culture Smart! India will be securely fastened inside the backpack behind me. Move over Fodors. Eat dust Lonely Planet. Rather than the smartest hotels on a budget or best places to dine in a foreign city, it’s insight into local customs and etiquette in this latest must-have travel guide. Now granted, I have the ultimate version of this in my friend Mukund, whom I am visiting. But hey, it can’t hurt to get a leg up before setting foot in Asia for the first time.
Culture Smart! guides were conceived by people whose business it is to know the ins and outs of cultural buoyancy, Culture Smart! Consulting, a UK firm specializing in international management skills and cross cultural training. You can get yours at Amazon new for about $10 US, that is, if you don’t have an attentive friend in-the-know to give you a copy on the house. (Thanks Lily!) For a full list of guides, visit publisher Kuperard’s homepage.