How to Be the Worst Tourist in the World

Tel Aviv McDonalds KFC

In the latest installation of my horrible traveler series I am examining how one should act when visiting a foreign country. At any given time, hundreds of thousands of people, if not more, are traveling the world on holiday, exploring new places and learning about different cultures. However, as we all know, some are better at this than others. It also seems that many tourists are actively seeking to be as obnoxious as possible. In an effort to help these fine folks, I decided to create easy to follow tips on how to become the worst tourist in the world.

The biggest annoyance when traveling abroad is without a doubt the fact that you are not home. The food is different, your surroundings are strange and no one speaks English. In order to minimize this shock to your system, it is best to pretend that you have in no way actually left home. Rather than try new foods, instead head straight for the nearest McDonald’s or KFC. Refuse to do anything adventurous and instead stay firmly planted on the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus. Make sure you do NOT leave the bus, otherwise you may come in contact with Marrakech HoHo bus foreigners. Lastly, speak English to everyone, regardless of whether or not they can understand you. If you are having a hard time being understood, just speak louder and get angry.

Since you’re traveling, you are probably pretty upset about the fact that nothing is as great as it is at home. Rather than bottle in your emotions, let them out! Loudly profess to no one in particular your intense dislike of where you are. Complain that it’s impossible to find decent food or anyone who speaks English. You can’t even find ESPN on TV and all the BBC covers is snooker and endless rounds of cricket. The best place to complain loudly is in a restaurant setting. To really up the ante, send back your meal saying that the fries aren’t cooked properly.

Finally, how you treat people when you travel is also very important. When interacting with locals (I think you call them natives) be as rude and condescending as possible. Rather than realize that they call your vacation destination home, treat them all like your personal staff. Ask to take awkward pictures with them as they perform “traditional” jobs, like shopping in the local market and let them know how miserable you think their country is.

So that’s it! If you follow these easy tips you will be well on your way to being a truly awful traveler.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

11 Responses

  1. Anya Clowers

    It’s difficult to read this simply because there really are people who do these things and sadly, represent America. Can you imagine if Japanese tourists acted like this when visiting the US? Wondering why we don’t speak Japanese? (insert any country/language)

    Reply
  2. Gail Rego

    Nice article. It would’ve been funny except that it was painful to read because so many people, unfortunately don’t get travelling. Many time I really wonder, well if you’re just going to complain and bitch all the time and not even WANT to try anything different or new, why the hell did you even bother taking that plane ride here?

    Though I have to admit I was once partly an awful tourist only coz I went to Europe with my folks and as a child you kinda do as you’re told. So being Indian, we were too scared to try ANY authentic Thai food in Thailand and instead only went to Mc Donalds :'( Can’t tell you how heartbreaking that is to me, now, especially since Thai food is my FAVOURITE cuisine!

    Reply
  3. Rob W.

    Did you know that if locals don’t understand your English the first time, it is scientifically proven that you can always speak louder and they will miraculously understand?

    How many times have a seen this.. not exactly the best tourists!

    And why WOULDN’T you want to try the local cuisine… so many things to discover.

    Reply
  4. Kelsey

    This is hilarious! Great piece!

    Reply
  5. nithya (life out of a suitcase)

    i was highly amused by this – it’s funny cuz its true! thanks for the awesome comic releif! i also find that a lot of tourists (namely americans and old people) seem to bust out the hawaiian shirts they wouldnt be caught wearing anywhere else, wear their passports in pouches ON TOP of their clothing and are huddled together in the hopes that their little posy will give them a sense of “safety in numbers” vs. “easy group to steal from”. Oh how many posts could be written on this!

    Reply
  6. Nistha Shrestha

    It always astounds me, when I walk past the Pizza Hut in Kathmandu, to see tourists eating there. Yes, they should try traditional cuisine, but Kathmandu has some fantastic pizza places! Gorgeous, Italian, wood-fired pizzas! Why would you eat at Pizza Hut for gods sake?

    Reply
  7. Nistha Shrestha

    I just realised that I made it sound like Pizza Hut is traditional cuisine. 🙂 I mean that tourists should try traditional Nepali cuisine as well, but when it comes to having pizza, Pizza Hut is a very inferior choice to make.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Ha, I knew what you mean although I do find it odd there’s excellent pizza there. Who knew?

      Reply
  8. Simon McManus

    @Anya

    Can’t believe I’m going to sympathise with Americans. I mean Americans! They’re all rude narrow-minded bigots who are too loud and dress badly.

    You should be relieved to know that every nation has travellers their compatriots wish would’ve just stayed home. I mean there are tourist traps specially designated for these people, why should they invade our “real” destinations and lower the standards..

    Matt can you stop publicising interesting places please? 🙂

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      I’ll have to work on that Simon. 🙂 Thanks for the great comments, I appreciate it.

      Reply

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