Travelling is great. I can’t imagine why some people don’t like it but the chance to go somewhere new and experience something different from the mundane existence of everyday life is exciting and honestly I don’t do enough of it.
However, with all those foreign places come foreign cultures and a host of behaviours to avoid. Other than the cultural woes that might lands you in trouble like exposing the bottom of your feet in Thailand, there are some other more common practices that tourists have that earns them the label of being obnoxious.
1. The “Inappropriate Fashionista”
It may be okay where you are from to walk around in short shorts with your underwear popping out at the waist and a shirt that has less fabric involved than a handkerchief but it might not be at your destination. The inappropriate fashionista doesn’t care though and will continue to dress however they desire no matter how many jaws drop for a less than appreciative reason. A word of advice to the wise: dress to blend in, not to stand out when travelling abroad.
2. The “Snap Happy Photographer”
Nothing irks the locals more (or even other tourists for that matter) than the snap happy photographer that takes pictures of literally everything from the cab driver parked on the side of the road to the watermelon fruit basket in the buffet line. This tourist can easily be identified by the way they walk in a zig-zagging line, eye through the lens, running into walls. You know exactly what I am talking about whether you’ve been stuck walking behind this person or you are this person. I have nothing against photographers who are trying to capture memorable moments and breath taking landscapes but that watermelon fruit basket isn’t really that amazing and the rest of the buffet line will appreciate you moving forwards.
3. The “Traffic-Accident-Waiting-to-Happen”
Traffic laws don’t seem to apply to this type of tourist. Traffic laws are more like suggestions anyways right? Crossing at a cross walk and waiting for the light to change are unnecessary to them. And heaven forbid they actually rent a car because staying in the right lane is a silly rule as is avoiding cyclists and yielding to pedestrians. Just because you are a tourist, and even if you are only a pedestrian at that, doesn’t mean that you should not educate yourself on the traffic laws of the country you are in and you should definitely obey them in order to avoid coming into contact with a traffic cop or worse, someone’s front bumper.
4. The “Friend”
This person is everyone’s friend or at least thinks that everyone wants to be their friend and so they are constantly introducing themselves, handing out their e-mail, asking to exchange contact information and otherwise becoming BFF with everyone they meet. You may meet someone who you really connect with and are genuinely interested in being long term friends with but a good number of the people you meet are only smiling and nodding politely until you go away and have no intention becoming your pen pal.
You just flown half way around the world and landed in a completely different country with different traditions, religions, cultures and mannerisms but none of that matters because you feel right at home. Everyone is so friendly and polite, stepping out of your way and being 100% accommodating. There is no need for you to even try to learn the language or the customs because, you are a tourist and they don’t mind. In fact they are quite happy to have you around so that they can learn about your culture and your mannerisms. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have stayed home… right? People do mind that you are rude and are oblivious and/or indifferent of their customs. Don’t be the “oblivious” tourist.
6. The “Back-Home Reminiscer”
“Back home in my country, we eat with a fork and a spoon, only mow the lawn on Saturdays and wash our camels in the driveway because it is illegal to wash them in the bath tub.” All I have to say to this type of tourist is that we are not in your country and therefore unless I ask, I don’t want to hear you compare it to the place we are currently in. The “back-home reminiscer” has a bit of a superiority complex and loves to talk about their home. It is great that they love home so much but with all that talking and comparing that they are doing, they are missing out on the rich heritage that is right in front of them.
7. The “Mono-linguists”
Everyone speaks English right? Therefore I should not have to make any attempt to try and learn the local language. If I speak loudly enough with flamboyant hand gestures, they will understand eventually. “Mono-linguists” are the type of tourists that buy a phrase book before travelling and then use it as a coaster instead of an important resource. Yes, learning a new language can be difficult, but it is even more difficult trying to find your way back to your hotel if you can’t even ask for simple directions.
Do you fall under any of these obnoxious tourist types? I’ll admit, I might be guilty of one or two on the rare occasion and I always feel bad after realizing it since having worked in a town that attracts a lot of tourist, I’ve been on the other side plenty of times myself a.k.a. irritated local. Pass this list on to someone you know who might be guilt of one of these travelling crimes and save another local somewhere else in the world the headache and your friend the label of obnoxious tourist.