The 12 Signs You’re a Bad Tourist: Are You Guilty?

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Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.

Step into a world of self-awareness and learn exactly what not to do when traveling. From unintentionally disregarding local customs to choosing inappropriate attire, discover the 12 things you’ll definitely want to steer clear doing of during your vacation.

Taking Too Many Selfies

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Tourists have been taking pictures on their vacations for decades, but with the invention of the smartphone and social media, it’s gotten real bad. For many travelers, if they don’t get a selfie at every single photo spot, they may as well not have left their house. This kind of vacationer quickly annoys locals and other tourists alike. They have no problem cutting people off, blocking roads, and, worst of all, not even fully experiencing what’s going on around them.

Filming For Social Media

Two people filming themselves
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Before, it was just photo-hungry travelers you had to be wary of; now, it’s those shooting videos for social media, too. Thanks to Instagram, YouTube, and now TikTok, some young vacationers spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what to film. There’s nothing more cringeworthy than someone demanding room to dance at iconic world locations like the Taj Mahal or Eiffel Tower while a group of people run around filming them.

Not Trying to Learn the Language

Translator app on phone
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You don’t need to be fluent in the local language, but you absolutely should learn the basics. Wherever you are in the world, you should always learn phrases like “thank you,” “please can I…” and “Could you tell me how to get to…” There’s no excuse for this anymore, with all smartphones having free translating apps at your fingertips. So, get learning!

Being Too Patriotic

Union Jack t shirt
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There’s nothing wrong with being proud of where you’re from, but when you’re on vacation in a different country, dial it down a bit. Make sure to pack more than just your team’s jerseys and leave the baseball cap with your country’s flag on back at home.

You Don’t Tip

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This one is aimed at the Europeans. We know you don’t have to tip much in your country, but that doesn’t mean you don’t reach into your wallets when traveling in a nation that does tip. Google, or better yet, ask the locals how much people usually tip and do exactly as they say. Of course, if service is bad, don’t give as much, but always tip.

Being Too Loud

Person pointing their fingers in their ears
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There is nothing worse than exploring a national park, taking in the beautiful landscapes, enjoying the quiet, breathing the fresh air, and for it all to be ruined by a loud-mouthed tourist. Of course, you should be happy and excited, but let’s use our “inside voices,” guys. Loud travelers are also one of the most common complaints from locals, so just remember to keep things quiet and respectful.

Talking Down About the Area

Angry woman
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We’ve all traveled with this person, someone who simply can’t enjoy a new culture without constantly reminding everyone of how great their home country is. From politics to food to transportation, there will always be something to complain about. Don’t be that kind of tourist; they are the worst.

Packing Too Much

Overpacked suitcase
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Too many tourists often appear to have packed their entire lives while on vacation. Sure, essentials like a camera, a book, and bottled water are must-haves, but occasionally, it’s taken to the extreme. Let’s leave the expresso machine at home and only pack what you really need.

You Don’t Clean Up After Yourself

Messy hotel room
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When it comes to Airbnbs, this is a non-negotiable, but even in hotels, don’t leave your accommodation in a mess. We’re not saying to bust out the vacuum or start cleaning the windows, but throw your trash away and wipe down the bathroom before leaving. It’s just simple respect and it only takes a few minutes.

Dressing Inappropriately

Bright colored clothing
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Everyone should be able to dress how they want; freedom of expression is important. However, you do need to take into account a country’s culture and traditions. You might not agree with it, but you should always ensure you dress appropriately. Many religious sites in the world require you to cover up and show a level of respect. As soon as you’re back in the comfort of your own accommodation, you can throw back on those sweats and relax, don’t worry.

Haggling Too Much

Market place
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The art of haggling, or bargaining, is a useful skill to have. But there is a line, and you should know when you’re crossing it. When you’re constantly trying to pay as little as possible, it’s rude and insulting to the person you’re haggling with. Sure, have some fun and bring the price down, but stay respectful and pay what the product is actually worth.

Getting Carried Away With Alcohol

Man drunk - Bad Tourist
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Sure, letting your hair down while on vacation is important, and hey, we won’t judge if that involves a drink or two. It’s when that drink or two turns into three or four before quickly ending as eight or nine that things can get dicey. This is especially important if you’re traveling to a part of the world known for its strong alcohol. Pace yourself and remember, a two-day hangover while on vacation is very rarely worth the night before!

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