Have you ever found learning geography to be rather difficult? You’re not the only one. Geography is difficult. There’s so much to remember not just in terms of locations but in the terminology as well. This is where the complication begins especially in the case of the modern day traveler. Most travelers carry a country guide book with them so as to travel as independently as possible. But even then, most are not aware of the fact that they use terms incorrectly. Although some such mistakes can be easily forgiven as a minor first time error, others can have some serious repercussions. Travelers beware! Here are some confusing terms that make you look ridiculous:

1. The Obvious “Hispanic VS Latino” confusion

This one seems to come up a lot these days and even invite judgments of racism if not handled right. Let’s get this straight; Hispanic refers to a person that’s Spanish by nature. This means that the person and their ancestors are pure bred Spanish from Spain.  Latino on the other hand, refers to a person from Latin America. This means the person and their ancestors are born in areas like Brazil and so on where the language spoken is not Spanish although the confusion is understandable sometimes in this case. It’s important to understand this difference as it’s a mistake commonly made by travelers. So watch out.

2. England VS Great Britain VS The United Kingdom VS British Isles

This one’s a doozy and requires some serious understanding of both British culture and well, your basic geography. This is the best way to differentiate the different terms without looking like a complete fool on your travels. England is a constituent country of The United Kingdom. It is the homeland of the English language. Great Britain refers to the island on which England, Scotland and Wales are all situated, hence the phrase “The island of Great Britain”. The United Kingdom on the other hand is the political entity ruled by the Queen which includes Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and other overseas territories. The British Isles are a set of islands that include Ireland, Great Britain and the Isle of Man. It’s a brain tingle but very important to remember when traveling.

3. Chinese VS Mandarin

NOT THE SAME! Period! Mandarin is a native language most commonly spoken by Chinese people. Hence it is wrong to ask a person to speak in Chinese but rather speak in Mandarin. Chinese on the other hand is the “ethnic” term used to describe most people in the providence within the national border or rather referring to anyone granted citizenship by the People’s Republic of China. This is something that needs to be remembered as it invites serious consequences if used mistakenly.

4. Arab VS Arabic VS Arabian

It’s quite common to confuse such terms together especially for the first time traveler. An Arab may be referred to as a person belonging to an ethnic group that forms a majority of the population situated within the borders of Middle Eastern and some North African countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and The United Arab Emirates. Arabic is the language spoken by an Arab. It is therefore; wrong to refer to a person as Arabic. Arabian on the other hand refers to anything that comes from within the borders of Middle Eastern countries and so on. For instance a particular species of plants or animals may be referred to as Arabian but not a person.

5. Netherlands VS Holland

Everyone tends to refer to The Netherlands as Holland and vice versa. It’s not! The kingdom of Netherlands comprises 12 provinces, 2 of which, North Holland and South Holland, together comprise the historical region called “Holland” which rose to prominence under the Holy Roman Empire and its subsequent Dutch Republic. Fellow travelers, please keep this in mind.