Top 5 Most Annoying Tourist Traits

Alright, since my last post was perhaps a bit heavy, I think it’s time to bring some levity to the blog.  So here you go, for your reading pleasure (I hope), my Top 5 Most Annoying Tourist Traits!

5) People who don’t speak your language are not (necessarily) deaf!

Seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I have experienced this.  Someone is trying to explain something in their mother tongue, and the person they are talking to doesn’t understand.  When this is indicated, they repeat the EXACT SAME WORDS only LOUDER!  Right, good idea, because NOW they will understand completely!! I’d like to see them shout at you in their language now and see how you do!  How about next time we try something a bit more creative, like using other words to describe what you are trying to say, or maybe even a handy pocket sized dictionary!!

4) Your mother does not live here.

And if she is traveling with you, she is appalled and did not raise you this way!  When wandering, I stay in hostels, not fancy hotels.  This means that you clean up after yourself.  There are signs posted in almost every one I’ve ever been in, in multiple languages, often with pictures! They explain that you are to wash, dry and put away your dishes when finished with them so they are ready for the next person to use.  The most disgusting example of ‘your mother does not live here’ that I’ve witnessed so far was a tourist in Argentina.  She “washed” her dishes by passing them under running water, and proceeded to place cutlery still caked with food in the dish rack.  Then she left.  Really!?!  That’s clean??  I mean, even with poor eyesight you should be able to feel the chunks of food left on the spatula!  It was gross, not to mention rude.

3) There are people sleeping here.

This one is also known as ‘dorm room etiquette’.  Hostels ALL have a common area where people can hang out, talk, watch TV, do whatever.  If you are staying in a dorm room, and people are asleep, a little common courtesy would be nice.  The worst night so far was one in spent in Pucon.  The dorm slept ten and was full.  Eight of us were in bed; some had been asleep or were trying to be for a couple hours.  It was around midnight.  A couple guys came in to get changed for going out.  Lights went on and off, voices were not hushed, doors were not quietly opened and shut.  When they finally finished and left we had a few hours of quiet, until somewhere around 3am they returned, drunk.  Lights went on, not headlamps, overhead lights.  Voices were not hushed.  They finally got into bed and turned the lights off, and proceeded to have a conversation in normal tones! A lot of sighs and ‘ahem’ coughs finally clued them in and we had some rest.  Then, before dawn, a girl got up to go climb the volcano.  Was her bag packed and ready the night before so when she arose at 4am she could quietly take it and leave. Nope.  We had slamming, opening and closing of locker doors, shuffling and packing and entering and exiting the room for 45 minutes.  Later that night I heard her complain about how rude the boys had been and how courteous and quiet she was when she got up!  So maybe, maybe, just a little bit of self- awareness can go along with respect.

2) If you can hear me coughing…

And I KNOW you can, then I can probably hear EVERYTHING you are doing and saying.  This is like dorm room etiquette, only it applies to any overnight stay location.  I mean, we all like sex, I have nothing against you having it, but perhaps if your chosen time is, say, 2am, you might stick to quiet sex instead of banging on the wall loud moaning and grunting (which by the way sounded a bit fake).  Also included in this category are early morning and late night loud conversations in the hallway outside the rooms where PEOPLE ARE SLEEPING!  Do you want to know the worst part of this annoyance?  I have to admit to being guilty of that which drives me crazy.  I figure if I’m going to write about it, I need to own up.  So yes, it’s true, there was that time in Ireland after a lot of Guinness and whiskey and good times with the guy I was traveling with.  I have no idea what time it was but morning was definitely closer than night.  My apologies to those trying to sleep that night, you may rest assured knowing that karma has paid me back.  Worse yet, while this post was in its first stages, I came home around midnight one evening from having a few drinks.  I proceeded to have a skype call with a friend.  A few minutes in to the call a loud knocking came from the other side of my wall.  I hushed up immediately and had to inwardly laugh.  What’s that saying, we dislike in others what we see in ourselves right?!?

1) I think we can ALL handle ‘Hola’

Truth be told, my entire motivation for creating this post was for this one particular grievance.  It gets under my skin and crawls there like an insect infested wound.  While most of my other Top 5 list can be attributed to any nationality, this one seems to be reserved mainly for my fellow United States Americans, or should I say American’ts, as in can’t adapt AT ALL to the place you have decided to travel.  How many times have I heard people in the states complain about immigrants not speaking English?  Fine.  I understand the argument.  So how come SO MANY of us come to a foreign country, and when greeted with, for example, ‘Hola’, respond with ‘Hello’.  Then continue to demand English, making no apologies for their complete ignorance of the fact that they are IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY where ENGLISH is NOT the native language.  It’s not like I expect travelers to be fluent or even conversational in the language of the country they are in, but I’m pretty sure we can all handle hola, and some kind of apologetic  ‘no hablo espanol’, instead of a barrage of rapid English with the expectancy that you will be understood and responded to in kind.   It reeks of the mentality that those from the US are superior, kind of like the way we call ourselves Americans, as though the rest of the people on the TWO continents that comprise America, somehow are not.

So that’s it, my top 5, at least so far.

It has recently occurred to me that while wish you would comment on my blog, let me know what  you think, ask questions, tell stories, tell me I stink, whatever…I have really not asked you to do that.  Well, let’s just change that right now! Tell me what you think! What are some of the things that irk you about tourists?  Am I way off base? Did I make you laugh?  I sure hope so, because even when these things are actively occurring and annoying me, I tend to laugh at them.

About stephwithoutborders

I decided to sell (almost) everything I own and buy a plane ticket to South America. This is all about why and how, and what happens next.
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11 Responses to Top 5 Most Annoying Tourist Traits

  1. paul says:

    wow, wordpress, moving on UP! ha…
    oh, i remember traveling in mexico years ago and how every tourist just seems to be so aloof as if they wanted to be the only one in town?
    anyway, finally i just went up to this german guy and said, “why do you hate me?”
    i know, silly, i have been a font of impulsiveness, yeah…
    okay, happy travels…

  2. Heidi says:

    Since my lame ass has never stepped foot out of the USA, I am taking this post as an advice column. All of the above is duly noted for that future moment when I stop living vicariously through you, Steph, and get out THERE! Seems mostly like common courtesy, but then again, courtesy to others is seldom common.

    • Hi Love! Yes, it is mostly courtesy, and I doubt you would fall into any of those categories! Sadly, as you said, most people don’t have the courtesy gene up and functioning. I can’t wait till you do get out ‘here’, I know you’ll love it!

  3. Grace Stika says:

    My pet peeve is the Ugly Traveler who expects the whole world to speak their language! I not only find these tourists annoying, I find them an embarrassment! I have apologized many times for my countrymen with my limited knowledge of the host country language, but before I have gone anywhere, I have learned “hello”, “can’t speak…..”, “sorry”, etc. But I have found that whereve you wander, if you are polite and ATTEMPT a word or so, we can use sign language, a soft voice and a smile. Works wonders everywhere!

  4. Dave says:

    And then there are the French, who are just rude in general.

    • Dave!! Thanks for being here! I have to moderate comments before they post and I have not been in internet land for a while, sorry! About French, yes often true, but like any other generalization not entirely accurate…I met and AWESOME french lady in Natales, who has invited me anytime I want to stay with her in the south of France…and remember those hitchhikers we picked up in Ireland? Though yes, a lot of times, rude is accurate 🙂

  5. dave says:

    Oh yeah, and other than my cheeky comments, my real feeling on the matter of tourism can be summed up with the following rule.

    When traveling, do not view yourself as a visitor, but as an ambassador for your homeland.

  6. paul says:

    in one of those hostel situations what happens if someone snores all night long?
    they just don’t stay there in the first place?
    zero tolerance for snorers?

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