Vacation Stories: Countries Where Tourists Get Hassled

Below are your fellow Mobal Members vacation stories that describe the countries where they have been hassled as a tourist (in alphabetical order).

If you agree, disagree, or have your own tale to tell, leave it as a comment at the end…

Mobal World Phone

Paul B Says:

“Freeport Bahamas…….locals driving you nuts with time share offers and hair braiding offers.”

Mobal World Phone

Margaret Deitrich Says:

“Bali, The locals were consistently in your face. You had difficulty even seeing the beautiful scenery. If you sat down in a public place, they sat beside you and wanted money for you to take their picture. The nice hotels were guarded and walled, and were the only place where you weren’t mobbed. I would never go back there.”

Ro Bushnell Says:

“Bali. They are determined to sell you something, or do a service for you (like braid your hair). They don’t beg, but they swarm with around you to show you their goods.”

Mobal World Phone

Ed Cleary Says:

“Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The street peddlers will literally follow you for blocks trying to sell you something. They will not take “no,” even in very French, for an answer. If you do buy something, all of the other peddlers say, “You bought from him, now you must buy from me.” Their idea of personal space is about 1 inch from from the end of your chin.”

Mobal World Phone

Michel Delving Says:

“Recently we were in Churchill Manitoba with a tour group. Had told the tour people that I am allergic to feathers. They told the hotels. At the one in Churchill, all the bedding was of feathers. I asked that we be changed to a room without feathers, or to have the bedding changed. I was told in no uncertain terms that they KNEW of my needs and that there were NO FEATHERS in ANY of the rooms. Lady answered with such anger and in such an intimidating manner that I was afraid to tell her that DOWN IS FEATHERS. I coughed and had asthma for the rest of the stay. (I guess it’s my own fault for being intimidated by her but had never before had that problem.)”

Mobal World Phone

Patrick Milligan Says:

“I was more hassled in China (every place in China). But I was very impressed with the friendliness of the Chinese people I met.”

Mobal World Phone

Phyllis Rizzi Says:

“Cartegena, Colombia. You can barely walk on the sidewalk without having locals literally in your face, from all sides at once. If you take a photo, even of an architectural site, they will claim to be in the photo and want money. I wish they’d realize it is a turn off and realize that if they were more polite, tourists may be interested in buying from them.”

Mobal World Phone

Rick Y Says:

“Cairo. Unbelievable pestering to sell things and to take pictures. They will try to take your camera out of your hands. They are deperate.”

Patrick Says:

“Luxor, Egypt, was the worst. It was horrible when I was there in 2001.”

Arlene Says:

“Egypt. Everyone wants baksheesh (tips) and everyone wants to sell you something. Vendors at monuments (like Abu Simbel) chase tourists to their buses. Some of them approach you with the “free gift” scam that ends up with a demand for a “tip” (at the pyramids). Crossing the street in Cairo is a nightmare (I recommend use a local as a shield, since the traffic doesn’t phase them).”

Dottie Nelson Says:

“For us it was Egypt, no matter where we went.”

Mobal World Phone

Robert Says:

“Simply really…. PARIS”

Marsha Vaughan Says:

“While recently in Paris my husband and I were continually targeted by Middle Eastern women begging for money. They were seeking out Americans; would not easily take “no” or just walking away as an answer. Some women would “pretend” to find jewelry on the ground and try to convince you to buy it.”

Mobal World Phone

Patrick Milligan Says:

My worst experience was in Fiji, where I wasn’t so much hassled by the locals, but I felt the resentment of the locals, which was worse. Fiji has a caste system with whites at the top, Indians in the middle, and native blacks at the bottom. I can understand the resentment, but I didn’t like it.
Mobal World Phone

Donald Bryden Says:

“Athens, Greece. II felt like a mark and needed to continuely be on my guard and occassionally rude to the offending persons.”

Mobal World Phone

Lynn Says:

“India which, by virtue of such inhumanity as the caste system, is full of beggars, thieves and cons.”

Larry H Says:

“Clearly the beggars in India make some areas difficult to enjoy. We learned in Peru to say “maybe next time” to the kids selling things in Cusco, and it was face saving for them and us.”

Mobal World Phone

Eric Feder Says:

“Treviso, Italy. My wife and I were waiting for a taxi to a B&B that was quite a distance from town. There was an empty cab at the train station but it was the driver’s dinner time. He wouldn’t drive us and he wouldn’t call another cab to come pick us up. The people in the station wouldn’t help either and the police officer wouldn’t help us get a cab saying that there was a cab out front. He totally blew us off.”

Bill Wilton Says:

“Definitely in Italy. We had a nsty experience with bedbugs in a very expensive villa (from Tuscan Villas). Their response?? Not terribly helpful; in fact, quite the opposite. They blamed us for bringing the bedbugs, even though we had proof the source was their own linens and pillows borrowed from another villa they managed. Ouch!”

Bruce Baker Says:

“Pisa, Italy. As expected at the Leaning Tower we were surrounded by Gypsys. One nursing her infant and pleding for money while the other crowded in to clean out our pockets. We literally had to chase them away.”

Val Says:

“As much as I love Venice, Italy the locals appear to detest visitors. The shopkeepers and restaurant staff are wonderful. I’ve learned to speak decent Italian and am quite gracious, so it is not me. Probably the citizens of Venezia are tired of the visitors.”

Johnny F Says:

“No matter where we were, the Italians were the rudest, loudest people of all, not just in Italy!”

Mobal World Phone

Debbie McCoon Says:

“Ochos Rios, Jamacia. The location was beautiful, but the locals, were intimidating, and constantly pestering us, either to buy something or braid my hair. It has been a few years since that trip, so hopefully things are better now.”

Amy Says:

“Jamaica! The vendors at the markets were so obnoxious, I left and waited for the others in the van. Two other couples with us did the same thing.”

Aydee Says:

“Duns River Falls in Jamaica. Leaving the falls you wind up in a maze of little shops with agressive merchants. We were pretty uncomfortable.”

Carol Bynum Says:

For sure Jamaica. This has to be the most frustrating Island. You cannot get a cab to go anywhere, they want to charge you extra to see the sites. They want to braid you hair at every turn. There is no wildlife left on the Island. They ate them all. If I won a free trip to Jamaica I wouldn’t even give the tickets away to a stranger.

Mobal World Phone

Arlene Says:

“Jordan, primarily Petra. Like Egypt, everyone wants to sell you something and they try to entice you with a free “gift.” Very manipulative people. However, we did not encounter all the demands for tips.”

Mobal World Phone

Bert Spann Says:

“Nairobi, Kenya. This place has the worst help anyone could ask for. There is one service desk for all the airlines and the locals know that if they want service they must cut in front of you and yell at the service workers. The airport personnel do as little as possible to accomidate your needs.”

Mobal World Phone

Denise Mumford Says:

“Cabo San Lucas. The locals were always bothering us while we were laying on the beach or just taking a walk. Even shopping at the local market. They kept bugging us about time shares and wanting us to take tours. when you say no they keep at you until they make you mad.”

Mobal World Phone

Ole Says:

“Tenerife, Canary Islands. Loaded with pickpockets.”

Mobal World Phone

Brent Measley Says:

“Istanbul. The locals act as if they are insulted if you don’t go into their store.”

christy daniels Says:

“Istanbul. You can’t walk more than a few feet without someone coming up to you to ask you to buy a carpet. If you stop to look at a map or take a picture they really come after you. They are nice enough but it is very irritating. They come up to your when you are looking at a map and ask if they can help you and then they try to sell you a carpet.”

Jeff Says:

“Istanbul, Turkey. So many rugs to buy, so few dollars…”

Linda Says:

“Turkey. We will never return. Our tour guide lied to us twice to get us to go to an over-priced leather shop and a rug shop. Shopping in the port of Kusadasi was impossible. Shopkeepers were out on the sidewalks and in our face, saying and sometimes yelling anything they could to get us in their shops. Like that would ever work! One woman even grabbed our arm as we passed. Not pleasant. The others returned to the ship and I walked further into the city to find better places to shop. I spent my money where I didn’t feel like I was being attacked. It’s too bad the people we met were so nasty because it’s a beautiful country.”

Agree? Disagree? Have your own story? Leave it as a comment below…

73 thoughts on “Vacation Stories: Countries Where Tourists Get Hassled

  1. Mike

    I’ve never found Mexico to be a big problem for vendors, then again I haven’t spent much time in touristy areas there either. I’ve spent time in La Paz, Mexico City and at Teotihuacan where the pyramids are. La Paz is awesome because it’s not a huge tourist area. It’s about two hours north by car of the tourist trap Cabo San Lucas. The people there are incredibly helpful. I asked a man (in Español) where the locals shop and he took me five blocks or so west of the malecón (pier) to where you can buy good quality items. The stall vendors were very friendly and inviting, with little to no pressure. For those intimidated by aggressive vendors, tell a person who is trying to sell something that you’re looking for only certain items (even tell him what you’re looking for ) and thank him, maybe even giving him a little tip if he directs you to the right people. That’s showing that person respect, something we all deserve????. Eventhough the Grounds at Teotihuacan have fairly aggressive vendors, they have some neat things to buy, like obsidian goods, clay whistles and other nice objects. It’s a good place to buy at for very reasonable prices. The stalls outside cost more. Mexico City wasn’t a big problem for me because I went where the locals go. You can’t go wrong then because there’s few tourists, meaning little pressure for the most part. It’s incredible how helpful and caring the people are in Latin America. I’ve had many very very nice experiences there. There’s a reason I keep going back-I love the people!!!

  2. Samantha

    Turkey is amazing, but that third language thing is very useful! When vendors try to speak to me in English and i dont want to be bothered, I speak Japanese back to them, just nonsense stuff. They leave very quickly as no one speaks Japanese here as its not a European language. Lol

  3. steve

    Egypt is dreadful, luxor not a good place to go, men are perverts, taxi drivers ripping you off saying one price then changing it, scamming, most people are bad.

    1. Elizabeth

      All over Egypt where the tourists are, up and down the Nile. I have never seen anything like it. You become callous, even rude. It is relentless. Hawkers nag you to death. They are endlessly inventive in their tricky approaches. Astounding. Mostly men and even children.

  4. Ben

    Agree with Boniswa re egypt. It’s not worth it…Luxor was the absolute worst. I know I should just role with it but I think I actually have PTS (Post Traumatic Stress) after getting back today. Valley of the Kings was my idea of hell – hot and full of people in your face at all times. There were so many beautiful sites but you could barley enjoy them as you had to be on your guard all the time since everyone is selling or after a backsheesh, from the police to the antiquities guards. Everyone in tourist areas is so aggressive and since the revolution it’s actually gotten worse, as people are more and more desperate. The place seems generally corrupt, since the concept of backsheesh pervades society from bottom to top. The revolution will never achieve anything with those kinds of morals. I’ll stop judging egypt based on only a few cities now :).

    Done bashing egypt, now to defend Turkey! Istanbul has some nightmare areas around the Haya sofia etc., but on the whole the Turkish are lovely and except in the real hotspots of cappadoccia, etc. they mostly leave you be. Maybe because they are not so desperately poor as some others mentioned here?

  5. location vacances piscin

    Spain and Bali are mine favorite destination of traveling.I enjoyed a lot during my Spain as well as Bali Trip.I have a bad experience of traveling at Ukraine.Spain and Bali both has enriched culture,beautiful beaches,awesome nightlife,luxury villas and many more things that’s why i like Spain and Bali………

  6. Connie

    In response to the unfortunate events for the folks who went to Turkey and had problems, I just got back from Istanbul and Cappadocia, Turkey, and I can only sing their praises. My husband and I went with a group, and we were toured by Sea Song Tours…it was fabulous. Our guides were knowledgeable and kind…we couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I know it’s crowded and when you go to the Grand Bizzare it’s wild, but everyone who wanted to sell to us did not do anything rude. I would go back in a heartbeat.

    1. Mike

      I totally agree with Connie, Istanbul is a wonderful place to visit????. I think the people are very nice and helpful. I had some people approach me, one offering me something for free, but I already knew that trick. I felt reasonably relaxed here. Even the Grand Bazaar was pretty easy to deal with. I couldn’t get over the fact those that approached me were so inviting in their kind demeaner. And that was just after the attempted government overthrow in June or July. The only problem I had was at the Hagia Sophia, where there was a guide who was INCREDIBLY persistent and rude!!! Argh!!! One person to ruin my attitude in a generally wonderful place!!! I would go back to Istanbul, simply because of the friendliness of the general public???? Where I had the worst experience was Tanzania. I went on a “budget” safari, where the owner tried to negotiate a higher price than we had originally agreed to. Then when I was picked up by a company driver, I asked them if they could “show” me where there was an authentic Tanzanian restaurant not eat my food with me FOR FREE! Then the next day, after getting to the wonderful, friendly village where tanzanite is mined, the driver and guide tried it again-NOT THIS TIME-my food from day one on safari was included. The owner had to pay for his workers stupidity. Then, the old bait and switch with wrapping something that you didn’t buy-of course to their advantage. And then this one woman at a food stall who intentionally didn’t give me the correct change-taking advantage of me having to get on a bus quickly. Then the hawkers mobbing you when in your truck. It was exhausting dealing with it everywhere you went. Not to mention bold faced lies the hawkers said to me. Don’t get me wrong, the general public in Tanzania is very friendly and inviting, but man, when it comes to deception and trickery by many, I’ve decided to never go back. I’ve been all over Latin America, and although persistent, compared to Tanzania, the street vendors in Latin America are paradise. Even Nairobi was easy compared to Tanzania.

  7. Dr J

    …perhaps forwarding all these and other complaints to the appropriate Country or City ministers of tourism in these countries might be of benefit

  8. Boniswa

    Egypt- Will not be going back. The constant harassment was too much. The place is beautiful especially Luxor however I could not take a walk down the port without being harrased by a taxi driver, ferry owner, post-card man… the list is endless. If you want to have a peaceful holiday don’t bother with Egypt. Rather google images of all the sites cause the lolcals won’t allow you to see them in peace! Go spend your hard earned money somewhere else.

  9. Anne

    Egypt. Just returned. EVERYBODY has his/her hand out. They want to be paid for everything, a picture, a tissue, answering a question, pointing to something. Sometimes they just ask you for money for no reason, just “give me money.” That said however, they are very sweet and friendly while they are hitting you up for cash.

  10. Cynthia Nasiatka

    China…everywhere people were incredibly happy and friendly! I read all the comments, and most of the ‘bothersome’ behaviors were of locals trying to sell their goods. I just can’t find that offensive, not when I’m traveling the world and seeing all there is to see….. and someone is trying to sell their clay pot for a few extra ‘bucks’ in their pocket… I don’t know. I’m not bothered anywhere I go… unless people are rude and offensive. Wanting a little of what I must look like I have…. is probably only human nature.

    1. Mike

      I’ve never been to China, but I 200% agree with Cynthia. I don’t see any problem with someone trying to sell a part of their authentic culture. If you’re not interested tell them maybe you’ll buy next time, which if they’re nice to you, it may be possible you will, who knows? But when the vendors are rude GAME OVER!!! Bullying tactics don’t work on me and shouldn’t on anyone else either. Overall, my favorite places to visit are Iceland, Istanbul and all over Latin America because the people are very friendly and kind. By the way, I have no problem with people who are genuinely poor begging for help. There’s a lot of pain in this world and no one deserves to be treated like dogs are in Latin America-they don’t deserve to live. Everyone should be treated with respect and dignity???? It can be a little hard to decipher the difference in some countries,though, like the US- there’s a lot of scammers where I live.

  11. Jamie

    I read the comments about both Greece and Turkey and i have to disagree. They do try to sell you EVERYTHING, but it is just part of their culture. embrace it!! You are in their country and that is the way they live. I never encountered anyone that was rude. most spoke english and were VERY helpful and nice. I would return to either place in an instant. Istanbul is one of my favorite places ive ever traveled. GO if you havent!!

  12. Paula Gjerstad

    Paris, then London. Only because of the pickpocketing. In London my wallet was stolen out of my purse in the underground by a jostling thief. I realized it and got off the train but he was gone. But the staff of the system were beyond wonderful in their treatment of me and my problem. In Paris my stay was pleasant enough, but my backpack was opened and rifled through twice in one day while I used the subway (nothing of value left there so no loss).

  13. chris armstrong

    Sadly, some of the worst experiences we’ve encountered have been perpetuated by the Ugly American tourist in many countries the above have complained about. Also, visiting the U.S. is a wonderful experience but often negated by some very ignorant comments from the “locals” regarding people from other countries.

  14. Anne

    We’ve never had any problems in Paris or cities in Italy. We found the people gracious and friendly. But we we hassled quite a bit in Mexico–Acapulco was the worst.

  15. KcK

    I experience mostly good and some bad every where I go. But as a tourist the Caribbean can be very annoying. I love Latin places such as Italia, they live with so much community, even in Roma. In Mexico the locals are so wonderful. Get away from Gringoville and you will get hassled less. I get hassled in any urban place in the US by beggars etc. I have learned to give $1 to the friendlier ones & we both feel better, if for a moment!

  16. Linda Cote

    LOVED Istanbul and the rest of Turkey. First time there I was a 50 year old woman travelling alone and felt safer than the states. Met kind, friendly, helpful people throughout the country and have come away with lasting friendships. I try to get back there a coople times a year. The experience will be what you make it. They are NOT there to re-create your life in the states. YOU are there to experience something unique and interesting. Learn the customs. Learn some of the language especially please and thank you, and have laughter ready. Use common sense with regards to safety but stay OPEN and stop judging or STAY HOME.

    1. Mike

      Couldn’t agree more with Linda!! The people of Istanbul are phenominal people!! I had learned a little Turkish and the people were so nice to me???? When on the trains, I had sooo much fun with the people. Some speak English quite well. When I was joking with the locals, they would translate it into Turkish and there were times half the train car was laughing. The vendors are very friendly and deserve great respect. They only are trying to put food on the table for their family, the same thing you want to do. Imagine the rudeness some of the vendors have to put up with from tourists-especially the arrogant ones!! I’ll never forget the experience I had when in Antigua, Guatemala. I was leaving the plaza at the end of the day and saw a young man with two children next to him sitting on some steps. The look in his face was one of desperation, saying “how am I going to put food in my children’s mouths”. Absolutely heartbreaking! If he would have had something I was interested in, I would have bought from him. He came up to me earlier in the day and was not pushy or rude, a very nice man. Again, show vendors respect????

  17. Chuck

    Egypt was everything others have said but…… Once we had been in the country for a few days the sellers and bak shish people did not bother us. They could tell somehow that we were not new to the country and that we were not intimidated anymore. Generally we found the people of all classes to be warm and friendly once we no longer were so tense.

  18. Bernadette

    There are rude people all over the world. Don’t let them color your opinion of any one country. I have traveled in Europe, Mexico and Canada without experiencing any of the reported incidents. To me, Chicago, IL has more people begging for money or bothering you about their cause than I have found in any other place. Travel, enjoy the world and all the cultures.

  19. Kathleen

    People are pretty much the same the world over; some are nice, some are grumpy, some are greedy, some are criminal. If you use a gracious manner you will have a far better experience. We have spent a great deal of time in Italy and France in the past few years and using the appropriate words for “good morning”, “good evening”, “excuse me”, “please” and “thank you” almost always makes for a more pleasant encounter. And you know, that works here in the US too! Manners, people, manners!
    As for the aggressive beggars and vendors, you can get your training here in the US in any big city with a lot of panhandlers. Act like you are a native, not a deer in the headlights, keep on moving briskly and say “no” firmly and repeatedly if necessary. Also, if you can, travel off season and to the less touristy (and just as charming) places.
    Expect it to be different, keep an open mind and your sense of humor and you will have a far better travel experience.

  20. Valerie

    We love the people of Grand Bahama. Always very cordial and polite. While we have, on occasion, been approached for hair-braiding, timeshares or tee-shirts, these people have been hit by the recession worse than most of us, and so you can’t blame them for trying. And, even in denying their services, we have also been answered in a pleasant manner “no problem, mon”

  21. Jon A

    Knowing words in a (third) other language helps a lot. In China if the street vendors approached us, if we spoke Spanish back to them they usually walked away from us. Of course they might know more languages than you, but sometimes saying “Ya Nee Panimayou” Sort of Russian for I don’t understand will often turn them away also. Often times it is best to say nothing, totally ignore them and keep walking.

  22. John Rogers

    Come on people, get a grip! You’re not in America when you travel to those places – that is supposedly why you go to see other cultures. If we were struggling as most people in the world are, you would be out there doing the same thing – trying to survive. Get some backbone, realize that we have a far larger personal space than the rest of the world. Keep valuables in front pockets, keep hand near the pockets, secure valuables and enjoy the reason you went there – to experience something other than what you know.

  23. Wendy McIlroy

    I think a lot of the hassling is not so much the country but a particularly touristy area–Luxor and Giza in Egypt, Kuta in Bali…in my experience, if you get off the beaten track, people are lovely and generous.

  24. David Bird

    Senegal , at the airport and going overland from Dakar to Banjul by private car. The government people were the worst, seeking Bribes to get thru checkpoints , and the checkpoints were many , every few miles. I had my bags searched several times and theyy were asking me if I had drugs because they saw my prescriptions. I was only allowed to leave when I tried to call the US Embassy with my cell phone.They took that as a sign to let me go.I was told by the Embassy to watch my Bags as they may plant something illegal on you and arrest you or ask a Bribe.I understand tis is no longer considered a free country.

  25. Merle Ohlhauser

    I have travelled to most of the places that the people have complained about. I also had been hassled in some of these places but not to the point that I didn’t enjoy the visit.If you have a tour guide, which I always have, they will usually take care of the problem for you if the situation gets to bad. There are always people that will complain no matter of the situation. To these people I suggest that you stay at home so that you can complain to your local oficials when you get hassled in your own home town.

  26. Eric

    Visited Paris, France last week of December 2009. People were very friendly overall with only two exceptions. Women would approach us in lines asking if anyone was an American. They then held up a card asking for money. But if you didn’t admit to being American they didn’t bother you. Vendors around the Eiffel Tower were selling miniature Eiffel Towers. A firm NO and walking away made them bother someone else. Occasionally police would come by and chase them away. In one case the police got the items (but not the person) and gave the stuff away to whoever wanted it.

  27. jack bicknell

    I have been to many of the cities in europe that you site as being a hassle with the beggers.I have never really had a problem in any of them. i have one word of advise for you.Do not dress like you are at the beach. Shorts and t-shirts are a big no-no and no cameras around your neck you might as well wear a sign saying i am an american tourist so please bother me. dress like the locals. Jamaica is a different story i will never step foot on that island again the people trying to sell you something are relentless.

  28. Caroline

    USA: On the Big Island of Hawaii, we honkies were ignored in two restaurants, no sign of service for 30 minutes. Both places we finally left. One was a “local” casual eatery with very few customers. The staff just glared at us after seating us. The other was an upscale Asian restaurant. They had one large party, otherwise the place was empty. Personally, I think it was discrimination based on our Caucasian race. We finally ate that evening in a friendly pizzaria (which had excellent service.)

  29. Luis R


    At Rome and Florence I was constantly bugged at most public places such as piazzas and other attractions by people of seemingly indian origin trying to sell you anything from flowers to mini-tripods to souvenirs or trying to sell a picture of you at the place. They were like mosquitoes… you wave them away and they come back at you and won’t take no for an answer.

  30. Dave Lamb

    China – I have been there three times now (in different cities and provinces), and NO one has ever ‘hassled’ me. The local people are nice and friendly (even though there is a language barrier). I plan on returning again in March. Enjoy the foreign country you travel to and learn to ‘live with the locals way of life’.

  31. Richard O.

    So far, including a trip last year to northern Mexico, I’ve had very little trouble similar to what has been described.

    The closest bad experience was 15 years ago at Chechen Itza when the Mexican locals would send their three year olds to beg from us and spank them if they returned empty handed. That was a heart-breaker!

  32. Susan McNeely

    It seems to me that you can run into hassles anywhere – including here in my home town. Customs are different in other countries, if you can’t deal with that, or more to the point, you don’t enjoy differences, you should stay home. You can’t let one or two bad moments spoil the chance to see how the rest of the world lives. You might learn that in some areas, these folks are way ahead of those in the place where you live.

  33. t smith

    I think this is an “Ugly American” syndrome. we are not used to countries where the economy requires the “hard sell”. No eye contact and a firm “no” in whatever language is appropriate, works well.

    Accept the real, rest of the world.

  34. Mark

    Wow! Talk about ignorant, xenophobic westerners! The comments posted here are just plain stupid. Here’s a solution: stay the hell home.

  35. Jeff Staffa

    Barcelona is beautiful but the pickpockets have it down to a science. Two men pretended to assist me with my luggage going into a hotel. They looked as if they were coming out of the hotel. During the distraction of trying to tell them I didn’t need help my wallet was lifted out of my front pocket. I chased them for blocks until they threw my wallet down. Got the wallet and credit cards but the cash was gone. My wife was left standing in the hotel lobby with the bags and on relating the incident to the desk clerk found he could care less. Not a good experience. We sure won’t go back there.

  36. John Lee

    With respect to France (#8 above), they are not “Middle Eastern” women, but Gypsies, that hassle tourists. The typical come-on: “Hey, do you speak English?” (Me to myself: “Shouldn’t I be the one saying that?”). Once in the Paris metro, I got rushed by a group of 7 or 8 11-12 yr-old girls as I was boarding a train (one was even carrying a younger sibling on her hip) – they literally wedged themselves in the doorway with me. When they realized they weren’t going to get anything from me, they got off at the next stop. They are a problem in many European cities. The “French” French are very nice, and very polite.

  37. christy daniels

    Puerto Vallarta Mexico is definitely a place to get hassled. The second you walk through the airport terminal people are trying to sell you a time share. If you stay at a nice enough hotel they aren’t allow in but anywhere else you are fair game. Don’t talk to or make eye contact with anyone.

  38. Michael Lewis

    We have had wonderful experiences and never been hassled in France (esp Paris), Canada, Greece, Italy, Spain, or China. India & Mexico take a little getting used to. I had a camera stolen once on a vaporetto in Venice. We are generally more apprehensive traveling in the US with all the guns, gangs, etc.

  39. Leslie Horst

    Agree about the Bahamas. Went to Grand Bahama Island too soon after a big hurricane. Many things went wrong, but as I paid for a small order in a supermarket someone went away with my credit card for a long time, so I wasn’t much surprised when I found a very inflated grocery bill on my next statement. (Fraud reporting did take care of it.)

  40. Chet Pryor

    In relation to the comments on Canada, I’m allergic to cats. But when it’s minus 37 (celsius) outside and the hotel has plenty of heat, I’ll learn to love any cats there.

  41. Gene Brandon

    I found that Figi had the most frendly people in the world. Bula!

  42. Katherine Magrini

    Without a doubt it was the Bahamas. One vendor when I was at the Hay Market said, ” F—— Americans.” Of course, I walked off and the second would be Italy. Rip Americans off. Let them have their antiquities. They need a lesson in manners.

  43. Diane Pankratz

    Definately Italy!
    Pickpockets and beggars…. Three women with babies ATTACKED my husband
    and literally had him backed up into the street trying get away, Finally
    he had to push them away as I shouted policia! Little did they realize I
    held the cash! Bus driver played dumb, couldn’t understand the request for
    the Pantheon! Sounds quite similiar in Italian and english, but no… Duh
    and people let their dogs poop on the sidewalks and leave it
    just goes to show that there’s No place like America! We are truly

    1. Sam Evans

      Yeah, we’re truly blessed in places like Harlem, North Philly, Newark, East LA, East St. Louis, etc, etc. Last time I checked, those “blessed” places are in the USA (America) Why don’t you take a walk through some of those neighborhoods. Oh if you want some dog poop come to where I live in beautiful West Chester – watch you step!!

  44. Jamie Pittman

    THE NETHERLANDS: I have been there a dozen times or more, and have been given incorrect directions mult times by locals in Maastricht. Some get angy and disengage with me if I do not speak enough Dutch to communicate with them in the shops. Even in church, the pastor admitted to me that his 20-something son hates Americans and loves Arabs.

  45. Lynn Glover

    You can be hassled or worse anywhere or any time in the world. Behave yourself accordingly or be a victim!

  46. George Rothweiler

    I have been to 11 of 18 locations and I have seen most of the scams/aggressive behavior. I have a few simple rules. 1. Situational awareness. Always look like you know where your going. 2. Project strength. The weak are preyed upon. 3. Try to blend in. If you look/act like a tourist you are a target. 4. Be firm but polite. 5. Avoid “tourist” group travel.
    One trick, I buy a few souveniers and keep them with me to show I have already “got it” to ward off street vendors.

  47. Harry MckKone

    Barcelona, without a doubt. I was robbed on the Metro, and and was almost robbed in broad daylight by three guys pretending to be cops. They wanted to see my passport, having accused me of selling drugs. When I said that I was Canadian, not American, they lost interest in my passport and walked away. Great city, great food, great sights, but be on guard at all times! Jamaica would be second. Everything negative you hear about Jamaica is true. Ironically, everything positive you hear about Jamaica is also true.

  48. MC

    I’m surprised Morocco didn’t make the list. There was no such thing as just catching your breath to take in the scenery, because within 10 seconds somebody was in my face trying to sell me something. Even if I was polite and said no thanks that would make the person even more aggressive. If I walked away, then they followed me. I realize that the locals are just trying to make a living, but the constant sales pitches got to be much after awhile. Morocco is a beautiful country and I met so many wonderful people, but the hassling will likely keep me from going back.

  49. Doug Weier

    We cannot agree with comments regarding France in general and Paris in particular. We have visited France
    8 times at different times of the year and find it to be very hospitable and in fact one of our very favorite cities in the world. If one takes the time to learn a few conversational phrases in French and takes the trouble to learn a little local etiquette before traveling they will not come across as typical “ugly Americans”. We have always found when in France that everyone from locals to shop keepers to gendarmes will go out of their way to help you with problems or questions.

  50. Joe Vrabel

    Pestering can happen anywhere. Worst lately for me was Khaosan Road Bangkok. Just annoying. Don’t ever open a map. Funny this area full of poor backpackers (what do they think they will get from them?) while other areas of Bangkok were fine. Some advice if this bothers you is to look around and hire the “guide” who looks like a pit bull. This has worked well for me in many places. A tough guide will keep them off you and you only have to worry about being hustled by him/her. Places where there was hustling lately but it was not really annoying were Laos, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. But I don’t mind leaving a few bucks here and there. They are very poor and its just part of the negotiating.

  51. Jas Justeson

    The subject matter here is the major problem; asking folks to list their bad experiences somewhere and ascribing that to the country as a vice of same.

    Some writers just sound discontent about travel. Have spent months in Italy about a dozen times. Have never had any bad experiences, except for the place where breakfast never appeared as we all sat and waited. She had overslept and we all laughed about it later . . . well, maybe the older German couple waiting to go hiking early didn’t think it very funny, but otherwise, relax people.

    Many of these same complaints or similar can be found in most major American cities if one looks hard enough, can’t they?

  52. Patricia Ann Abraham

    ISRAEL is the worst, especially for anyone who is not blond and blue eyes. And it isn’t anyone trying to sell you something,under the guise of ‘security’ it is women customs officers. They are especially offensive to anyone they suspect might be sympathetic to Human Rights, especially as violated by Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

    Do I sense a touch of racism in many of these criticisms, especially of Muslim countries where bartering is a way of doing business. Perhaps those Ugly Tourists who are oh so sensitive and bothered by ‘locals’ should just stay home.

  53. suresh kotagal

    Two things:
    1. To the extent possible, keep both of your hands free when entering or leaving crowded places, because otherwise you might become an easier target for pickpockets.
    2. In India, avoid eye contact with beggars. If you have connected with the person emotionaly, it is hard to walk away without giving.

  54. Shar

    I go to the Maya Riviera ( Mexico)to all-inclusives. Never had a problem. People are very nice and friendly. I did have a very bad experience at the Atlantis Hotel in Bahamas though. There were 6 of us (3 couples) on the Atlantis Beach…thought all was well and that the Atlantis would be only upscale. The women bought coconut drinks from one of many vendors. Little did we know that we were given date rape drugs. I woke up face down in the sand ..couldn’t see, speak or walk. Apparently we all were acting normal until then. Very frightening. Thankfully the guys only drank beer and were able to save us. I will never go back.

  55. Andy Graham

    Although Ethiopia is friendly, the locals will sometimes throw stones at you when you refuse to give them money. Hehehe, Ethiopia is a good place to not get hassled by the Tourist, there are almost none.

    Andy Graham – Travel Blog

  56. David Ballou

    I agree about Barcelona. Five of my friends were robbed in a single day. I kept my hands in my pockets whenever anyone was within touching distance, and I used a money belt. It is a shame because the city is lovely and highly interesting. The pick-pockets spoil the city and encourage me to spend my touring dollars somewhere else where a vacation can be relaxing and interesting.

  57. CPH

    Sounds as if we should just stay home, especially if we can’t ignore a lot of the pushiness of the gypsy families or the poor people wanting to braid your hair or sell you their wares. We learned a long time ago to ignore them.

  58. Bill M

    This question is designed to elicit negative answers, no?

    If 10,000 Mobal users have a great time in Bali but two don’t, the two bad ones are the only two published in answer to this question.

    I live and travel in Italy, France, Mexico and was sorry to see all the negative comments about some of my favorite places.
    Couldn’t get a taxi in Italy because the driver was at lunch and the police couldn’t care less? Too bad – it’s Italy for goodness sake. Stay home if can’t work around or at least appreicate that you’re in a foreign culture.

    Another thing is that we don’t know where the people answering this question are from. Is the personal space of an Englishman/woman the same as that of an Italian? Would they not react differently to situations described?

    Poor survey, I’d say.

  59. martin kavicky


    Comments on Jamaica are basically true, however one would be hard pressed to find a better deal on a Caribbean vacation.

    Rule 1. Air Jamaica’s tour desk has the best deals and is the most accommodating of all the options. You will get a personal assistant who you can call back and talk to until you have finally decided on the vacation you want.

    Rule 2. There is one tour guide, who will not rip you off and will show you what ever you want to see. He will accompany you everywhere and make sure you are safe and not ripped off.


    We have stayed at the Ritz Carlton, 5 Star, every time on an “all inclusive” deal that Air Jamaica, had arranged for us. There are no limits, you do not have anything that shows the rest of the high paying guests that you are all inclusive. Nothing, save the spa, is extra. My daughter ordered 28 bottles of beer from room service for a group of young people she met after the bars had closed. “No problem ,on”

  60. Rory

    Athens ~ the pushy guys trying to drag you into each taverna. Rome ~ the immigrants with their blankets laden with contraband & the young men who crowded me relentlessly at the Trevi Fountain. Cabo San Lucas ~ yes, yes.
    The souvenir industry seems mostly to blame & the authorities for allowing it to occur.

  61. Stephen Sopko

    Fellow Americans..

    Quit Whinning !!!! I have travelled to many of the places listed and that is just the culture.

    When an Italian is rude to me I get rude and loud back. Its like foreplay with the Italians

    The French will will say no no no.. Keep at them and they will say yes. Its there nature to say no and you just have to know how to press them into yes.. 🙂

    The gypies are thiefs most of them. Keep a couple coins and throw them a couple at a distance and then walk away fast 🙂 hahah

    My point is this is the culture so deal with it and quit whinning !!!


    1. Charles

      Hi Stephen..I travelled a lot especially in the middle east and Europe. I am Australian. I find MOST Americans are Loud and want to tell the world . that they are here, look at me, I’m American!! Besides americans need to take a low profile as , especially , in the Middle East Americans due to their Political Agenda which is WAR and in bed with Apartheid Israel, are amongst the most despised and hated people in the world today.. so they get heckeled and given a rough time in these places.. Most American travellers unlike the few like yourself think BIG and do not try to adapt to the local environment.

  62. Vivien

    Totally disagree about Italy and Fiji. I have been to Italy many times and as long as you visit Southern Italy, South opf Naples, you will meet the most friendly people ever. In Fiji, I believe I met the sweetest people on Earth, the most naturally happy and content with their life. I think the worst place for tourists is Egypt where you will be plagued by beggars and thieves wherever you go. Honestly, and no surprise, poverty makes for bad behavior anywhere on this planet.

  63. Andrew Johnson

    Morocco would be tops on my list. Not only do the locals pester you constantly in developed areas, but if you stop in what looks like barren desert the mobs of kids begging for money come from nowhere. There is no way to avoid them. If you give a penny to one person, they will all demand equal treatment.

  64. Judy Nylen

    I find all of these comments somewhat off the mark. I want to say, what did you expect? The cultures and economic issues are different. My first trip to a third world country was similar to all these but it is part of the experience.

    The only useful comment in all this was Larry commenting on India: Say not now, maybe tomorrow, next time, later. It may not quell the intensity but think of our US homeless, particularly at the bottom of the cable cars in San Francisco. Not too different, right. Although not all the countries listed are developing, aggressive sales and solicitation is cultural too.

  65. Alfred Michaud

    France, Mexico, Italy, in that order; merchants and beggars trying to get you to give them either money or your time. No matter what you say, they persisit and hope you give in.

  66. Andy

    Bad experience in Barcelona, Spain. Fell for the bird poop scam where you get splashed with a liquid that looks like bird poop, then a stranger offers help. Took my wife’s purse. Locals have no incentive to do anything about it

  67. Jeff

    Absolutely no question about Mexico! Time share pressure is rampant all over, particularly in Puerto Vallarta from the moment you get off the plane. Try not to talk to anyone at the airport if you do not want a timeshare presentation. You’ll get hit with timeshare or sales pressure walking down the street or walking past (or into) a store. Salespeople at most stores are quite agressive. There are a lot of beach vendors but they do not bother me because if you tell them “No, gracias”, they will leave you alone and walk away.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.