Bad Tourist! How to Be an Obnoxious Traveler in Five Easy Steps

It’s time to check out of your hotel.

You walk up to the desk, luggage in tow, to settle up the final bill and pay for all those snack nut mixes you raided from the mini-bar at 2am.

As you leave, the hotel staffer gives you a huge, toothy smile.  Little do you know, what they’re thinking is “Sheesh. Good riddance to that one!

Bad Tourist

Here are five ways to make sure the locals won’t be asking when you’re coming to visit next:

1. Don’t learn anything meaningful about your destination.

This does not include printing maps or making a list of where you want to eat. By all means learn everything you can to make sure you have a great time. By “meaningful” we mean learning about the history, the people, and the culture.  Under no circumstances should you read your destination’s Wikipedia entry or any travelogues of personal experience to offer any context of what kind of culture you will find.

2. Treat everyone in the travel service industry — from the bellhop to the taxi driver to the hotel staff — like they owe you an amazing vacation.

You should not devote any thought to how they may have a family to support. You should not think about how they are expected to take care of other people for 8 hours a day. Nor should you stop to ponder how even though they work in the tourism industry they may not be able to afford to take a vacation themselves. Instead, only think about what they could be doing to ensure you have a great time on your getaway. You can earn extra bonus points in this department by tipping poorly, if at all.

3. Bottoms up! Get (and stay) intoxicated.

One of the easiest ways to earn the label of “obnoxious tourist” is to get sloppy-drunk and nearly unconscious as often as possible. This will ensure you become an annoying inconvenience to those around you, whether they be strangers or your travel partners. This step offers the fringe benefit of getting home and reviewing vacation photos of yourself that are a surprise because you have no recollection of them.

Bad Tourists4. Remain ignorant of local landmarks and surroundings and instead focus on snapping the ideal Facebook photo opp.

Why bother to learn about the military general immortalized with a statue in the town square when you can just take a selfie, post it to Facebook, and get some “likes?”  Your friends will be impressed with your cosmopolitan gallivanting and you won’t be bogged down by useless knowledge like how he sacrificed his life defending his hometown. Extra credit if you have a travel companion: point at everything.

5. Don’t make any attempt to learn the native language or local customs.

Expect everyone to know what you want even if you haven’t learned to say “Sorry, I only speak [English/your language] can you help me?” As a classic bad tourist move, you should say this very slowwwwly and loudly.  If they don’t understand you the first time, repeat your question in your native language more slowly and even louder such as to draw attention from passersby.  Also don’t bother learning any of the local customs, such as usual eating times.  Show up to restaurants at 6pm and pitch a fit that they aren’t serving dinner yet even though the locals usually eat at 9pm.

If you’ve been making authentic connections and having meaningful conversations with the locals, chances are you aren’t a bad enough tourist.  Order another drink, re-read the list above and practice! But only if you like getting dirty looks!.


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