Most tourists are well-behaved and respectful. But try telling that to someone who lives or works in a major destination. The sad truth is that it’s the bad ones who stand out — the loud tour group, the guy who yells about how much better his country is, the ones who maybe have a few too many wobbly pops.
Below, people from all around the world share the most annoying tourists they’ve ever encountered. Don’t worry; I’m sure they’re not talking about you.
22. You Must Have Great Vision
21. Amish Paradise
20. For The Birds
I was in a cafe off the Piazza in Venice when a family of British tourists caused an incident. My family was eating at one table, theirs at another (it’s not relevant here, but they were all wearing identical Euro Disney Goofy hats). They were throwing bits of bread to the pigeons.
Pigeons on the Piazza San Marco are quite a thing to have to deal with, and the cafes have strict rules about feeding them. Vendors selling bird seed further toward the center of the square have taught the pigeons that presence of humans plus the presence of food equals pigeons getting food, so the birds are very bold near the open-air cafes. It’s a constant battle to keep them from hopping and flying right on in.
The waiter came out and asked, very nicely, in perfect English, if they could please stop. They stared at him as if they didn’t understand a word he said, and went back to tossing bread as soon as he left. Pigeons got closer and closer. Patrons looked down, startled, as they felt birds around their ankles. Others tried to shoo them off tables and chairs.
The waiter tried again, a couple more times if I remember correctly. I know the family were English speakers, because they spoke to one another every time he left. They just chose to ignore him, and you could see he was getting very frustrated. At the time I got the feeling that he didn’t want to make a big deal and kick them out because the family had children. Each time, they stared at him blankly, but then kept tossing. I guess seeing the pigeons go after the bread was just too much fun for them to stop. I believe at one point the waiter actually took away the bread, but the children found little rolled bits they’d dropped on their chairs and clothes and kept going.
Long story short, from there it was a very short jump to the patio being swarmed with pigeons, who perched on the tables and ruined the place settings. Spoiled the meal for everyone, especially that poor waiter.
19. Picking On The Poor
My husband and I traveled to Vietnam for our honeymoon, but we also traveled to various cities in the northern half of the country while there.
It was in Hanoi of all places where I witnessed something so wicked and horrible that I will never forget. We were enjoying drinks outside one of the city’s little cafes/ Basically, you sit around on little plastic chairs (like the ones from elementary school) in front of a restaurant or bar and drink until it’s gone. It’s SUPER cheap. Like, 30–50 cents a pint cheap.
It was at one of these corners that I saw a group of lads from the UK. They were probably in their early 20s and they were going out of their way to be obnoxious. They flagged down a guy walking by selling fans, bracelets, and other trinkets. The ringleader of the British guys picked up almost everything the guy was selling like he was interested in buying, then laughed and rudely shooed him away. The vendor didn’t leave immediately and tried to encourage a purchase, and the guy replied with a raised voice, “I don’t want any of this crap and I told you to leave! Go!” They all laughed and then another one loudly screamed for the waitress to come over and serve them more drinks.
Their next victim was a very old woman selling bread and croissants and other pastries and baked goods.
They waved her over and asked her how much it was for a croissant. She named a price — about the equivalent of fifty cents. “That’s outrageous!” the ringleader yelled. “You really think you can charge us that much?” His friends snickered while she lowered the price by a few cents and the guy continued harassing her. “What do you think we are? You think I want to give you that much money for this? I’ll give you [the equivalent of ten cents] so take it or leave it.”
He then proceeded to take out his wallet, withdraw several large bills, flipped through them as if he was counting them. He stuffed them back into his wallet, then turned to the woman and said, “What are you still doing here? I don’t want this — go away.”
I just about had to pick my jaw up off the sidewalk. The guy has more money than she will probably see in a year and he’s still trying to haggle with her and rip her off. I was incredulous that I had actually just witnessed this! We left shortly thereafter because I couldn’t take watching him anymore.
I used to work as a lifeguard at the beach. One time, three French Canadian tourists climbed onto a super cheap, thin, plastic, inflatable boat and began paddling out. They did this when no one was on duty, early in the morning.
When we arrived at the beach to set up, a guy came up to us and said he saw them from his hotel balcony and he was concerned for their safety. They were so far out at that point that we couldn’t even see them from the shore. Long story short, the Coast Guard had to get them. When they were rescued, the “raft” was almost completely deflated. They were lucky they survived, since two of the three guys couldn’t swim on top of everything!
17. Close Call There
Late at night, I was sitting at a monument on Las Ramblas in the heart of the tourist district of Barcelona. In the distance I saw this huge Scandinavian guy stumbling down the boulevard with an anxiety-riddled friend that was desperately trying to lead him down the street. The big guy was out of his mind.
“Come on, come on! Let’s go, move it, move it! We got to go back to the hotel!” his friend kept repeating.
The big guy was constantly distracted and would yell random, aggressive epithets at people passing by. We suddenly made eye contact and he started running toward me. I knew there was about to be a messy altercation.
But when he was a few feet in front of me, two cops came out of nowhere and surrounded the two men. In broken English, they explained that the big guy was under arrest. The tourists began to protest, saying there was no problem and they were on their way home. Suddenly, two young men ran up to join the group; one was covered in splotches of ketchup and bits of food.
In Spanish (or was it Catalan?), the young men explained that this was the guy the police were looking for. They had called the police to report a random stranger had physically assaulted them for no reason; in addition to a punch in the face, the big guy had thrown the young man’s after-bar snack of french fries all over him.
After a ridiculous attempt to discredit the two young men, and a distasteful refusal to comply with the police — claiming they could not understand the cops’ English, so their arrest was thus “unlawful” — the big guy was handcuffed and lead away.
I was still seated while watching this drama transpire before my eyes. I felt an immense sense of devilish satisfaction watching this ill-behaved tourist get hauled off to jail. Also relief that I wouldn’t have to fight him.
16. Almost Lifelike
When I visited Italy, I took a tour of Pompeii. There are wild dogs living all over the city. Also, many people (unless you’ve visited) don’t know that all of the preserved bodies are relocated to one place; they aren’t still strewn about the city.
So anyway, our tour group was walking through a house and the roof had collapsed in part so the sun was streaming in through the middle. There was a wild dog napping in the sunlight (an obviously alive and breathing real-life dog). This super unfortunately-stereotypically dumb tourist woman excitedly tapped her husband on the shoulder and said, “Hun! Look! That dog is so well preserved you can still see its fur!”
This happened just a few days ago in Bangalore, India.
If anyone is familiar with the bus system in Bangalore, you would know that there are certain seats in the front of the bus which are reserved for women.
There was an American couple sitting in two of the ‘ladies’ seats. When they first sat down, nobody really asked the guy to get up even though there were many women standing. Soon, a pregnant woman entered the bus and asked the guy to give up his seat since he was sitting on a seat reserved for women. We were all shocked to see him blatantly refusing. Finally, he got up only when the conductor threatened to throw him out of the bus. Trust me. If it had been an Indian man, he wouldn’t dare to fight so much with the conductor.
That’s when it started. The woman started abusing India and Indians. She even went as far as to call us “uncultured dirty idiots who can’t speak English.” After five minutes of her shouting about how Americans were so much better than us, the bus driver calmly stopped the bus on the side of the road, went up to her and told her in perfect English:” You have one minute to get out of the bus or I will throw you out myself.” I guess she was quite scared because she and her friend got out immediately.
And these are the kind of people who go back to their home country and tell others about how we Indians mistreat our tourists.
14. What Country Do You Think You’re In?
A coworker and I climbed into a natural hot spring in the Rockies of British Columbia, Canada, on our way back to the hotel after a day working in the bush. We were grimy, exhausted, and a wee bit grumpy.
There were already two couples there, one British and one American. The Brits looked totally respectable, in modest swimsuits. The Americans… not so much. They were obviously in street clothes; she was wearing a white blouse, wet of course, with every detail of a bright purple lace bra (and what was under it) showing through. I never saw the details of her bottom half since the blouse was long and swirling about in the current.
She was telling everyone how she and her husband had been driving around looking for private hot springs to “make LUUUV” in (while rubbing her groin), and she just couldn’t understand why on earth were they all so public. Why were there so many tourists?
Shortly thereafter, the British couple (who were lovely to chat to), got up to leave. So the American woman said, “Goodbye! And welcome to America!!”
While I can’t fault the sentiment, it’s time to buy a map, lady, and see that you’re actually in Canada!
13. How Can You Smile?
I went to Dachau concentration camp and there were these groups of tourists posing, smiling, taking photos complete with cute little hand gestures.
I had heard one of them speaking English, so I went to him and just reminded him that people were murdered here. Maybe show a little respect.
12. I Saw The Sign
11. Bing Crosby
An American asked me, “Do you have Google in England?”
10. No Place To Take A Selfie
Many years ago, my family took a vacation to Hawaii. Of course, we had to visit the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. You can clearly see the sunken ship and the oil still leaking to the surface. Most of the crew of the Arizona are still trapped inside the sunken ship. There’s an entire wall with the name of every soldier killed in the Pearl Harbor attack written on plaques. It’s a very powerful experience.
It was off-season so there weren’t many people there. A group of tourists — I think they were Japanese, but I’m not really sure — stepped on the Memorial and began to celebrate. They were laughing, pointing at the sunken ship and smiling, then standing in front of the wall of dead soldiers and taking pictures.
I understand that the Pearl Harbor attack meant different things to different countries and they are free to think any way they choose about it — at home. But ultimately there are no victors in war and the fact that they were literally standing on top of hundreds of people who lost their lives in battle should have been sobering to anyone with a conscience. I cannot imagine celebrating the death of any soldier in any war. I have been to many countries and I have never celebrated the death of anyone. It was a shameful performance.
9. How Touching
8. Fence Hoppers
I served one year in the Norwegian Army, as a royal guard, so yes, I’ve seen and dealt with quite a few annoying tourists. In Scandinavia, the most obvious (and often the most annoying) are large groups of foreign tourists. They tend to travel in packs, can be exceptionally loud, and often assume their privilege. Like as though they’re allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want.
Here’s a particularly annoying incident.
I once had to confront a 40-something female tourist because she actually crossed a fence blocking off a very obviously fragile sculpture, and sat down on it to pose for pictures. Her group of friends were all standing around laughing loudly, just a few feet from where I was standing guard. This complete disregard for the fact that the area was obviously blocked off (it literally had a waist-high fence all around it) and the complete lack of common sense… it just really got to me.
7. Nosey Parker
I have several that come to mind, but this one will always stand out.
I live and work in a very touristy destination. This area sees thousands of tourists through the summer months, and because of the size of the town, parking can be VERY hard to find. My house is very close to town and my driveway looks inviting if you’re desperate.
I had just finished my shift on Saturday of a long weekend. I was just sitting outside of my house, enjoying the sun in only shorts with a drink in my hand. Suddenly, someone pulled into my driveway. I figured they were turning around to go the wrong way down the one way street (exceptionally common). Then I heard a car door open and a few people in their mid-20’s climbed out. I asked them what they were doing The driver, evidentially the “leader” and exactly the opposite of the person you want to talk to at the end of a long day, set me straight.
“We’re parking here,” he said.
I was very unhappy with that answer, but calmly explained to him that he can’t park here and he’ll have to find somewhere else. I even went as far as to recommend some spots.
“No, we tried those. We are gonna park here. But don’t worry man, we won’t be here for more than an hour or two.”
I was annoyed that he wasn’t appreciating what I was saying. I was also tired and a little bit angry that this was even happening. So I continued to say no, that I’d get him towed, or that I’d charge him with trespassing. We got to the point where I was very near screaming at him.
Before it came to that, a good friend of mine pulled up in his truck and blocked the driveway. Not because he knows what is going on, but because the driveway was full of vehicles and he knows that anyone parked at my place would be with me and therefore not at all bothered by being blocked in.
I had a brand new deterrent and I told my antagonist, “The guy in the truck is going to have a few drinks with me. He is not going to move his truck until tomorrow afternoon unless he needs to move it in the next 5 [minutes].” The driver promptly left with a very clear middle finger.
6. Disney Used To Be Cheap?
When my kids were little we went to Disneyland all the time. It was a few minutes from our house and not so expensive back then. You see lots of annoying tourists at Disneyland like the people who fake a handicap so they can get to the front of the line and the families that use their baby stroller as a battering ram to get through crowds and the families that control their toddler kids with a leash. I mean can’t you keep track of your kids?
But that is not what this answer is about.
One afternoon we went into one of the Disney restaurants in mid afternoon on a quiet day. It was very slow and I think we and two business men at another table were the only people there.
The restaurant was quiet and so were the servers, I remember waiting a minute or two before anyone approached us. One of the business guys got the attention of a server and loudly announced across the room “Do want us to come back when you are not so busy?” In the almost empty restaurant I must admit it was funny and not entirely undeserved. He then loudly told her how he was representing a major restaurant chain and they were checking the place out I guess implying that someday he might own the place.
He was almost as funny as annoying.
5. To Boldly Go
4. Less Annoying, More Super Dangerous
At Yellowstone. I saw numerous Chinese tourists step off the boardwalk to have their picture taken next to an erupting geyser. The park rangers were yelling at them, but the tourists didn’t speak English.
3. I Want My [Bleeping] Respect!
2. Children Of The Korn
I had only been in Iceland for a few hours and was on a full bus heading to the epic Blue Lagoon spa. In front of me was a Russian couple; in front of them, two young Icelandic women. You could take one look at this Russian guy and tell that he was trouble; he radiated creep vibes.
He pulls out his cell phone and at maximum volume begins playing Korn and other death metal-style music. This was before smartphones became ubiquitous, so the low-quality sound emitted from the cheap cell phone was extra obnoxious.
He was revelling in delight listening to his music, making the occasional “Oh yeah, this is awesome!” head bops and glances towards his partner sitting next to him. She looked mortified but didn’t dare say a word.
The two Icelandic women became annoyed and asked politely for him to turn down the music. He pretended they didn’t exist. The women became more and more insistent, reaching over their seats to forcefully tell him to stop. He shook his head “no”.
At that point I lost it and yelled really loud, “Turn off your [bleeping] phone!”
Time stood still.
He turned to give me a look of death, but to my surprise, he turned the music off.
When existing the bus I caught a glimpse of the Icelandic women; they flashed me a smile that said: high five, team effort!
Several years ago, my son, his fiancée and I hiked the West Coast Trail in the Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island. The West Coast Trail. This is a magnificent 75 kilometre (47 miles) trail, and we had a great time during the seven days of hiking. We arrived at the trail end around noon on the last day, thoroughly exhausted, but high on mother nature and her beauty.
We had arranged for seats on a shuttle bus which would take us from the north trail end near Bamfield back to Port Renfrew to our car. Did I mention how arduous the trail was and how exhausted we were?
In any event, we had our lunch, found the sign telling us where the shuttle bus would be waiting, and shouldered our packs one last time to get to the pickup point. The bus arrived, and just as we were about to leave, we met our “really annoying tourist (r-a-t)”.
He came rushing up with his family, swearing at the shuttle driver for not picking them up at their hotel, for not having anyone tell them they would have to walk to the pickup point, for not meeting them at the park office, for not arranging for someone to carry their packs, for forcing them to stow their packs themselves in the baggage compartment, for not having seats at the front of the bus waiting for them, in short, finding fault with every thing he could, and pointing it out loudly to the driver and all the rest of us.
He and his family had spent the night at a motel in Bamfield, walked up the trial a couple of hundred metres, turned around and spent their time on the beach watching for whales and enjoying the Pacific Ocean. Well, perhaps his family enjoyed it, our newest acquaintance was full of complaints, the gist of which was that his sense of personal entitlement had not been satisfied, that it was all someone else’s fault and that he intended to take it up with management and make sure, starting with the driver, someone was fired for this excessively calamitous turn of events.
I had the privilege of being one seat in front of the r-a-t, with his family spread out across and behind us.
Sleep was difficult. The diatribe continued. I learned considerably more about his capacity for believing in self entitlement, his incapacity for accepting personal responsibility for anything which happened to him, his belief that his children should not only emulate his behaviour, but also provide moral support for his view of the world, and many other opinions related and unrelated to the world around us. I was able to ignore most of it, until I heard, “And that son-of-a-[bleep] in front of me has his seat leaning back against my knees and I can’t relax.”
That was one comment too many. I turned around and said, “If you are referring to me as a son-of-a-[bleep], then it is time for you to shut up. I have been listening to you since you arrived at the shuttle, listened to you blaming everyone else for what you see as your problems, listened to your beliefs that you don’t need to take any personal responsibilities, and I’ve heard enough. Honestly: I feel sorry for your family for having to endure your behaviour, but right now, I suggest you put a lid on it.” Or something like that; perhaps I was less diplomatic than this last paragraph would indicate.
I surprised myself. I obviously surprised him as well, because he assured me he hadn’t been addressing me and then actually shut up for the rest of the trip. My friends applauded, my son gave me a thumbs up, and the rest of the trip was made in relative silence. At our destination, the driver thanked me and helped me with my pack.