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The 8 most annoying things you can do as a tourist

It seems nothing can infuriate us more than dealing with our fellow countrymen overseas. Here are the most annoying things about tourists in all their clichéd glory…

(And I hope you’re guilty of none of them!)

1. Think everything should work like it does back home

Stephen Kosciesza says:

Americans who think everyone should do everything the American way. I’ve seen tourists go into a store (NOT a tourist store), ask the price, and then ask “How much is that in dollars?”

Everyone’s supposed to know. Everywhere is just an American colony, so they should all be conversant in both their own “funny money” and in dollars. If we were in America, and I asked them how much a thing is in Polish zlotys or Vietnamese dong – or even in Euros or Pounds, they’d think I was crazy.

Marie says:

Travelers that don’t want to try any of the local cuisine. Often they are disgusted that they can’t find American style food on the menu, or worse, that there isn’t a menu.

2. Crank the volume up to 11

Linda Morgan says:

What annoys me is when U.S. tourists are so loud.

Rob Morrison says:

Arguing in places where others can not leave to avoid listening to them like on planes.

Susan Nelson says:

On an organized tour, people who ignore the tour guide and talk so loudly to their friends that others on the tour can’t hear the guide. It’s not only rude it totally obnoxious.

Gillian McBreen says:

I have to agree – the American tourists are the worst. Talking loudly even though sitting next to each other, and forcing us all to hear all their personal information.

3. Think the rules don’t apply to you

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Linda Morgan says:

When they assume the rules do not apply to them and show no respect for local culture.

betty baker says:

Wearing immodest clothing in countries where women cover their legs with skirts.

4. Constantly pick faults


Rob Morrison says:

Disparging the country they are in. Yes, tourists from Europe, this applies to you too.

5. Forget the world does not revolve around you

Susan Nelson says:

Tourists who monopolize the tour guides time with personal questions about totally unrelated matters.

betty baker says:

People who are in a tour group and return late while everyone else is waiting on the bus.

Sharon says:

On tours, passengers who don’t return to the bus by the time requested.

6. Think English should be default


Neilus says:

Insulting locals who don’t speak English.

Judy Guffey says:

Hearing “why don’t they speak English” when you’re obviously in a foreign country with its own language.

7. Wear the ‘tourist’s uniform’


Neilus says:

The hideous American tourist ‘costume’ consisting of sneakers, fanny packs, and inappropriate clothing such as shorts and tank tops.

It’s better to try to behave and dress like those whose homelands you are visiting. Look around you and absorb. There is absolutely no need to stand out like Ronald McDonald.

8. Travel as part of a herd


Jeremy Powers says:

Tourist buses/trains/ships. I was in Bar Harbor recently and saw three cruise ships pull in. Within two hours everything was packed with loud, ignorant Americans and throngs of Europeans, too. You take a small town like Bar Harbor, which is already filled with tourists, and dump several hundred more in and it looks Saint Peter’s Square on Easter.

And finally, we know it’s not every tourist who behaves  like this…

Dina says:

Well, as an American I was somewhat dismayed at how American tourists are stereotyped into one dimensional caricatures. Please, when I traveled in Europe I wore conservative clothes and made sure to at least know how to greet and show appreciative in the native tongue of the country I was traveling. Americans are not one people, we are a land of immigrants, and many of us travel to other countries to have a better understanding of our roots and heritage. Believe me there is plenty of obnoxious stereotypes in just about every country to go around.

Jane says:

One thing though, I have met Americans who are this way, but I have also met really nice Americans too and rude Europeans who are rude to you until they find out you’re not American, then the attitude changes.

Kat says:

Hey! I have to stick hp for the Americans! Not all of us are loud and obnoxious and dress for the gym when traveling!

When we travel we dress in the basics. No tennis shoes, no fanny packs (which I found out refers to stomach fat in some countries, but I mean the other kind.) We are polite and speak softly and try to approach people politely in the manner of the country we are in.

The French say that Americans smile too much…I suppose that’s one thing I don’t really care if people notice!

So, not all Americans are obnoxious! (Although I confess it bothers me when I see those who are.)

C. Bruton says:

There are obnoxous people everywhere. Americans don’t claim that prize by themselves. And yes, Everyone likes American Dollars! So stop blaming Americans. You just see more Americans because more Americans can afford to travel.

Agree? Disagree? Have another example to add? Leave your comments below…

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23 thoughts on "The 8 most annoying things you can do as a tourist"

  • Rose says:

    I’m Australian and have met some wonderful Americans, but I have met some pretty obnoxious ones too (and obnoxious people from all countries, including my own). Most of the time they are loud but harmless but one example just sticks with me. I was in a town in Italy which had a site from WWII close by, and I overheard a group of Americans in the cafe I was at talk very loudly for the duration of my lunch about how this and that and the other were not America’s fault. I look European and was just sitting there eating so they probably couldn’t tell that I could understood them (they were the only other tourists I noticed while there). I found it extremely rude that people would visit a war site and just talk about how your country wasn’t to blame (they were saying it was all Britain’s fault). In Australia, war memorials/sites are very serious no matter the cause of the war or who did what. We are taught that at memorials you go to pay your respect. I also find it odd that whenever I’m overseas and Americans happen to hear me they look completely puzzled and sometimes even can’t understand me. I suppose that’s just because we’re saturated with American culture down here so I’m used to them (not bad or good just a comment) but no one else is really that exposed to Australia maybe.

  • Alyssa says:

    The last part sounds like the ‘not all men’ arguement.

  • Pat Jones says:

    I don’t understand the issue about taking a cruise to Bar Harbor, Maine? I don’t think I can take a bus or Amtrak Train to Bar Harbor. Not everyone has a drivers license and can drive to rural towns and National Parks. I might as well take a cruise from Boston, thank you.

    • Doug Feight says:

      Haha sounds like you are part of the problem…self deserving and probably rude to people

  • Erin Lawson says:

    I don’t mind tourists who wear what they want. I just don’t like it when they complain about being stared at. Obviously these people are attracting attention to themselves for a reason and if they don’t like the attention – then wear clothing that is deemed more acceptable.

  • Anonymous says:

    americans can be annoying though

  • louise says:

    Completely agree!! I have been travelling through europe and asia this year and 99% of the annoying tourists i have seen are ALWAYS american! they are so effing loud and say obnoxious things to people its like just shut the eff up and go home this is why the whole world hates you! the other 1% of tourists i hate are bloody asians and their cameras cant even walk around a tourist area without stopping every 2 seconds to wait for someone to stop taking a stupid picture! i always wait until its clear of people to take my pictures i dont understand why people expect others to halt just because they want a photo, if you want a photo, wait until the coast is clear idiot! HOWEVER, most the the american backpackers ive met have been lovely people and do try to blend in, its just the ones i see in public that look ridiculous and a prime target for pickpocketing and scams. and agree that the japenese are very kind, considerate people. to the australian comments, i am australian and the drunk stereotype is very true and embarrassing but hey at least its only on weekend nights and not in your face when youre going about your day. and busabout is stupid you may as well admit youre on a tour.

  • Roberto says:

    In all my travels I can say with absolute certainty that Americans have no monopoly on rudeness. Loud, obnoxious jackasses hail from all parts of the world. Anyone who rings up the old American stereotypical tourist is just putting their own frustration up on display. That means you Stephen Kosciesza, Linda Morgan, Gillian McBreen.

    Neilus, why do you care how others dress? If you are on holiday, pay more attention to enjoying it rather than what the Yanks might be wearing.

  • Catherine says:

    WOW!! I live in the USA and manage a hotel
    And funny but almost every complaint I have
    had was because Europeans were being loud
    and rude, all hours of the night letting their
    kids run up and down the hall, screaming loudly
    to their friends down the hall at 4:00 am!
    Just because they are on a different time zone
    They could care less that many American
    guests were trying to sleep! Also I have been
    To Europe many times and you complaign
    About the loud ” American tourists” are you aware
    That many of the loud drinking tourists are
    From New Zealand, Australia, and England
    Etc?? As Busabout is party central and the above
    is who travels on it and very loudly,, surprised
    To know not one American??:) but the hostels
    and camps Busabout stays at oh you should
    see the complaints about the loud rude Americans
    That’s funny since none of them are American !!
    Now could this just be jealousy? As I could
    Not believe that you think americans should
    Not wear sneakers , as the French women totter
    On 3 inch heels over cobblestones looking
    Ridiculous Like they are trying to impress
    Someone? We do not tell you what shoes to
    Wear in our not tell us what shoes
    We should wear or clothing in yours how rude
    And thoughtless and classless! Also in
    Paris they can be outright rude to Americans
    They say we appear stupid if we smile If we
    Are happy ? Again jealousy so we should
    All appear miserable Like you and unhappy
    My best friend is French and told me how
    Horrid it was having to go thru this ignorant
    System and judging everything and everyone
    She now lives here in USA and loves the live
    And let live attitude, so next time you see
    An American smile why don’t you smile
    Back you do not appear stupid but human
    And kind and happy good luck

  • Frances says:

    Shoes are a good giveaway as to where you come from. A lot of Americans do wear sneakers, and they are often very white and/or shiny new and really practical. When Europeans wear sneakers they are often super fashionable and don’t really look like athletic shoes, or they wear leathers shoes or more fashionable sandals. I have been taken as French in Nice (I thought a compliment), but am not sure I really looked French. Maybe it was because I was waiting at a local bus stop without my friends. Although i found the French in Nice really friendly they were always talking to my friends and me and asking about where we came from. but we also did try to speak French, albeit really badly.

  • Greg says:

    You know, sometimes it’s impossible not to dress like the locals. I’ve never been to Paris – but my Luggage has. For a few days I had not choice but to dress like the local folk.

    While on the train I was asked for Tickets… I wondered, how did he know to speak english to me, How did he know I was American… even though I was dressed in local clothing… I was told by my friend there — Some things are SOOO obvious…

  • Alison says:

    I just got back from 6 weeks in Sweden and Denmark… people talked to me in Swedish and Danish because they thought I was a local, although I am an American. I much prefer that confusion to the alternative. Watch what people in Europe wear; even if they’re dressed comfortably, they do not look overtly sloppy. Baggy clothes on fat, overstuffed Americans makes us look the way we seem to everyone who is not us: laughable. Our country is judged on our appearance and behavior when we travel. There’s a reason we have the reputation we do in the world, and it’s not all the politicians’ fault. We have money and we have the opinions and arrogance that go with privilege and lack of humility on the world’s stage.

  • Hilary says:

    Several things. As for speaking English, when I am in another country I don’t expect them to and get along fine as long as you are polite and friendly and not pushy. Here in America the hispanic population seems to think we should be multilingual so they do not have to learn English even after years of living in this country, now that is rude.

    As for clothing, I wear what is comfortable for me as does my husband. But I must say no matter where I am at home or traveling I cringe when see way to much of someone who should be wearing more clothing. Slut attire is not becoming.

    My husband and I were across the pond again recently and frankly we feel American foods such as fast food joints have invaded other countries, we wish we didn’t have to see that. We wanted the local fair and culture. Not Burger king and Mcdonald’s. It is rude to think everywhere you go should have “your kind of food”. I am sure Europeans hate it here.

    As for loud rude tourist, I cannot stand that. It is everywhere, and yes Americans more so than others. Being respectful to others around you is just not possible for everyone. But lets face it it isn’t just Americans, Asians in Europe were quite rude and push and shove to get pictures of everything.

    Sadly you will always have rude tourist thats why it is nice to travel off the beaten path, go where the locals go, they are a great resource.

  • herbert says:

    If you prefer to dress like the locals, that’s fine, but please don’t judge me if I prefer not to. I wear sneakers because they are comfortable and healthy for my aging feet. I wear a fanny pack for its convenience. So what if they stamp me as a tourist? I AM a tourist, and I can’t, nor would I want to, try to pass myself off as anything else. You should never flaunt your Americanisms, but on the other hand, neither should you try to hide that you’re an American, as if that is something to be ashamed of.

    An exception to that is if you’re in a country where, for security reasons, it is safer to try to blend in with the locals. Otherwise, generally dress conservatively (no glaring cleavage at the boob or the butt), be respectful of the locals and their customs, and remember that you are a representative of your country, and a guest in theirs. And have a blast!

  • Gerald Freed says:

    We spent a week in Paris and 2 weeks in Tuscany this year and dressed unlike typical Americans. We were treated as natives at stores, etc and addressed in French and Italian respectively. While not fluent in either we replied in Fr or It “Enlish please” and most swiched to english to help or serve us. If a service was proved we thanked them. In the one case were we were put down as Amer Toursits we replied in the same attitude (we’re US northeasterners and don’t take crap unless deserved). After the inital negotiations all when well — so be polite and flexible but don’t take crap or insults either.

  • Roman Nowakiwsky says:

    Hi, My family always travels like as if we were locals. All 3 children speak 2 or 3 languages. We dress like locals, so much so that in Florence, Japanese tourists took photos of my kids because they thought we were local. Travel is more enjoyable this way as you assimilate into the culture of the country you are in. We laugh about some travelers we see from Europe at times because they do many of the things that attract negative attention. Enjoy Travel!

  • Dave Werts says:

    Anyone who has stood in a lift line at a European ski resort or driven in heavy traffic in Paris or Rome knows that Europeans have their own brand of rudeness. It doesn’t excuse ours, though — we are guests in their countries.

  • Jim Myers says:

    I have just returned from China, you are 100 % correct !!

  • Carol Wellen says:

    I think it’s ridiculous to expect people to dress like the people in the country they are visiting, rather than dressing like Americans. If you were to suggest that all tourists visiting the US should dress like Americans, and not in their native clothes, think of how people would react to that! Just as I respect people dressing in their native clothes, I think people should respect the fact that I want to wear jeans and a t-shirt, and if I’m going to be walking around town for hours, sneakers.
    If you’re referring to people who wear revealing clothes, or shorts that are too short, sorry – that doesn’t have anything to do with being a tourist. That’s their preference and there’s nothing you can do to change that.

    • Not so tourist says:

      Lol… How? 😂😂

  • Karen Graves says:

    Some of the behavior you report as obnoxious is a result of mass effect- any large group of people will tend to be self-centered and seem rude and pushy to an outside observer. I’m thinking of the large (local) school groups and the large (Japanese) tour buses I saw in Milan. Individually, they would likely behave differently. It is the group behavior that causes them to be obliviously obnoxious.

  • Jennie Corella-De Aro says:

    I agree that it is not only Americans who are pushing and obnoxious. I have observed many Europeans behaving in the manner that is attibuted to Americans. They are loud in their native tongue and dress fanny pack and all. I dress modestly in blacks, browns, tans and try my best not to attract attention. But I have experienced merchants in Europe who act ignorant in that they are unable to speak english when I heard them speak it earlier. I inquire in English and do apologize for my having not mastered their language prior to my two-week visit. Nearly all countries thriive on tourism (USA included) – tourist should be treated well.

  • Lucille Stanziale says:

    Why would I expect everyone to speak English while traveling abroad? No one even speaks English at home in New Jersey/New York.

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