the worst tourists in the world


Before you think about traveling …. think about who you are going to travel with.

Me? I try and travel with no one (groupwise).

I love to travel to new places and I guess I do touristy things (some) but in general I kind of just like to blend in and get a feel for a place. That typically means avoiding some of the typical tourist places and absolutely means no guided tours and buses and groups.

I admit that I am absolutely positively 100% sure I miss things because of that.

And I am okay with that. Everything in life is a tradeoff.

This is one I make when I travel.

Some benefits?

Because of it though I met someone I dated for a while because I was so hopelessly lost in Paris she took pity on me.

I was asked by two Russians in a Ukrainian sauna (in bad English) to sneak into the women’s sauna and surprise their wives (I declined but was bought some of the best Russian vodka I have ever tasted).

Had pizza in a pool hall in Kiev.

Danced in a basement nightclub under a cathedral in St. Petersburg.

Was one of 250 people to see the Paris Symphony play in a small courtyard in Paris.

Went horseback riding with some kind of herders in Spain.

Spent Christmas day on a small sailboat in the middle of the Caribbean.

Will forever be known as Leon (as in The Professional) by a small group of people in Kiev (long story).

Anyway. Good stuff. Mostly because I try and not be a tourist tourist (you know what I mean).

This also means that regardless of where I go I will immediately go in the opposite direction as soon as I see a group of tourists. Any country’s tourists.

But especially Americans.

I have always kind of thought Americans were the worst tourists.

Worse than Germans (who typically seem to set the standard for worst).


So here is the great factoid.

Americans ARE the worst tourists.

Even more interesting?

American tourists even THINK they are crappy tourists themselves (study conducted by marketing company Mandala Research).

During the study, 5,600 people from five countries were asked to describe their attitudes towards tourists from different countries.

It turned out that every fifth respondent said that U.S. citizens were “the worst tourists.”

Here is the funny part.

The majority of those who said Americans were the worst tourists were American citizens themselves.

Other interesting findings revealed in the survey show that:

–          19 percent of Americans have got hopelessly lost while on their foreign travels (I am in this group)

–          21 percent lost their luggage (interestingly I am not in this group)

–          3 percent got arrested (thankfully I am not in this group … but … well … suffice it to say being close is bad enough …)

–          7 percent overindulged on booze (geez … how can it ONLY be 7%????)

Russian tourists closed the top five, at #5 worst, of the worst tourists in the world.


Travelers from China. They were in second place in the ranking of the worst tourists in the world.

#3 belongs to tourists from France (which surprised me because they are typically so polite),

4 … Japanese tourists.

And # 5 were Russians.

The top ten included citizens of Korea, India, Germany, Spain and the UK.


The study was fascinating.

About 40% of American travelers said that they had stolen something from hotel rooms at least once.

(so not only are we crappy tourists but thieves as well ….)

What did we steal?

Towels (28 percent), bathrobes (8 percent), batteries (5 percent), pillows (4 per cent), TV remote controls (3 percent), sheets (3 percent), Bibles (3 percent) and umbrellas (3 percent).


So. If you steal a Bible … doesn’t that break a commandment (I am sometimes not clear on the commandments that were on the tablet Moses dropped and the ones he actually brought down the hill). Even if it doesn’t break a commandment I am fairly sure it breaks some “going to heaven or hell” rule.

And 7% complained that they had a headache and could not remember what happened to them after a wild party the night before. (awesome)

I don’t think there is a correlation to the headache and wild partying but the same number (7 percent) admitted that they could not find a bathroom when they needed it urgently.

Five percent of respondents mentioned they were bitten by bed bugs, or faced large-scale strikes or mass riots during their stay in foreign countries.

There you go.

Factoids for the week.

Written by Bruce