The Czech Republic, specifically Prague, is a popular destination for travelers, and, unlike the USA, there’s no worry about applying for an ESTA visa or the Czech equivalent! Members of the EU, the U.S., Canada, Australia etc. don’t need a visa to visit the Czech Republic, so book your flights, get packed, and read up on some of our culture tips for your trip to the Czech Republic.
The main thing to remember when traveling to the Czech Republic is that, in general, the Czech people will appear quite hesitant at first. Initial meetings may be filled with small talk, and you’ll often find that in more formal situations, a handshake is likely and sometimes even expected from both men and women. Wine or flowers are suitable gifts when bringing a gift to someone’s home, and expect to have to take your shoes off! Some families may provide their guests with ‘guest slippers,’ which you can wear around the home until it is time to leave. If you decide to go out for dinner rather than visit someone’s home, however, expect to pay a 10% or 15% tip, if the restaurant is more upmarket.
Domestic culture in the Czech Republic is heavily influenced by and revolves around family, and you’ll often find that it can and will take precedence over a social life. Some Universities even close their campus and dormitories on weekends so students can visit their families rather than stay on campus. It’s common that you’ll find two or more generations within each family home, and within the household, the roles are very clearly defined.
The men are usually the breadwinners of the household, bringing in the main and doing practical jobs around the home. Women, on the other hand, are encouraged to priorities childcare over work. This is made easier by the country’s generous maternity benefits, including up to four years maternity leave per child, but this way of life has led to inequality in the workplace. With a pay gap 6% behind the rest of the EU, the struggle for equality is clear.
If you happen to be traveling for work, it’s important to remember that business meetings in the Czech Republic are always formal affairs. Business dress is always worn, and there’ll probably be an exchange of business cards too. Polite, non-confrontational attitude is typically adopted by everyone there, and it might even seem hesitant at first. But don’t worry, while hesitancy can be an indirect way of saying no in these situations, it can also be a form of politeness.
Don’t turn up ridiculously early, and make sure you’re invited before you do. Turning up early or at all if you’re unexpected can be considered a major faux-pas, and should be avoided to save the embarrassment of not only you but of your peers too.
It’s also important to consider that if the person you’re doing business with doesn’t speak English fluently, it’s likely that they’ll prefer communication by email. Give the recipient time to fully digest what has been said, rather than call them and force them to face the on-the-spot of trying to translate and understand the language immediately.