On the flight from Sydney to Denpasar, Indonesia, my son sat next to the worst tourist in the world. His neighbor drank a bottle of Fizz – a potent concoction of codeine and Sprite – and the man twitched uncontrollably during the seven-hour flight to Bali.
The drunk tourist collapsed on the terminal floor when he disembarked on the conservative Hindu island. The last time I saw him, customs officials were trying unsuccessfully to revive him from an opioid-induced coma.
Interestingly, Bali has been attracting a lot of bad tourists lately. Earlier this summer, a German tourist defiled a temple by wandering around naked. A Russian tourist has snapped a topless photo of herself on top of a sacred mountain. Indonesians were outraged and banned hiking in the area.
This is not just happening in Indonesia. Bad tourists are everywhere. They are carving their initials in the Colosseum. And it got worse — worse. Last month, German officials arrested an American tourist who allegedly pushed two women off a ramp near Neuschwanstein Castle, killing one of them.
Tourists are leaving the etiquette at home
How is this going? Experts say people are making up for lost time after the pandemic. They flock to popular destinations but leave the decorum at home.
“It can lead to disruptive or disrespectful behavior from tourists,” said Kara Bevins, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.
Wait, hasn’t this been a problem all along? Yes, but not to this extent.
“Since the outbreak, it’s gotten worse,” said Joel Wesseldyke, a travel consultant with JJ Travel Associates. “I think people have become more empowered because expectations have changed dramatically and people feel comfortable asking and getting what they want without regard to other people.”
What is a bad tourist?
You’d think that most parents would teach their children good behavior, but some tourists have clearly missed the lesson. review.
they are destructive
Many tourists do not respect the customs of the places they visit and do not care about the environment. “They are talking loudly in public places and littering,” said Pradeep Guragain, co-founder of a Nepal travel planning website. I see this every night in Canggu, Indonesia, as tourists trample on the incense and offerings left in the many temples.
(Teen tourists carve names on 1,200-year-old Japanese temple)
they have the right
Etiquette consultant Jodi RR Smith said people felt “more entitled” to the holidays they wanted, regardless of the consequences or cost. They make unreasonable demands and ignore local customs and norms. And they don’t seem to care how their actions affect those around them.
they don’t respect the master
The worst tourist behavior Laura Lynch has ever seen is a tourist carving her initials into the historic Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. (There’s a theme here—bad tourists like to carve their names on national treasures.) “It’s a shocking sight that underscores careless attitudes toward tourist destinations,” said Lynch, who edited A website about travel in California. Sniffing at your host is not just bad manners. It can get you arrested, imprisoned and deported.
Newsflash: You Might Be a Bad Tourist
If you think you might be a bad tourist, you probably are. Yes, I include myself too. I’ve been traveling full time since 2017, and the more I think about these behaviors, the more I realize I’m part of the problem.
I’m not going to carve my initials into the side of a monument or push other tourists off a cliff, but I’m not respecting local customs either.
For example, I didn’t do enough research on Indonesia before I got there. I don’t know anything about Balinese customs and might even have tripped over a temple offering on the way to the beach.
By the way, I would like to ask a hotel owner in Bali, what should tourists do if they step on temple offerings? She said it depends on your wishes. If you want to trample the incense under your feet, it is bad karma. If you don’t, you will be forgiven.
Still, I didn’t even learn the two most important words in Balinese – please and thank you.
How to be a better tourist
Can you improve travel etiquette? you bet.
do your homework. Know your destination and its norms and customs forward you visit. Plus, learn some basic phrases in the local language. At the very least, learn how to say “thank you.” Even if the locals know your native language, saying “thank you” in their language is a sign of respect. “Before embarking on a journey, take the time to learn about local customs and environmental practices,” says Michael Donovan, editor of the website about traveling to New England.
Remember you are the guest. Whether you’re visiting a state park or flying halfway around the world, don’t forget you’re a tourist. Respect local values and customs. Please leave hats and t-shirts with political slogans at home. “Religious or provocative imagery, profanity, profanity, sports teams, political branding and national flags can all be offensive,” said Harding Bush, senior manager of security operations at Global Aid.
Listen, don’t talk. Traveling is a great opportunity to learn about new places. Don’t screw it up by talking about yourself. In fact, no one cares how the place you visit compares to where you came from. “If you’re constantly comparing your country to your home country and forgetting to savor its unique beauty and customs, that’s a big red flag,” says photographer and travel blogger Mal Hellyer.
Reality check: Bad tourists don’t care
To be sure, only good tourists — or those who want to be better tourists — get this far in this story. The others stopped rolling after hearing the unconscious passenger’s story.
So I can confidently predict that there will be more incidents of reckless tourists defacing national treasures, passing out on terminal floors, and even pushing each other off cliffs in the future.
I just want to say one thing to you poor tourists: thank you. You’ve given this travel columnist plenty of fodder for future stories. But you also inspire me to be a better tourist.In fact, you’ve been inspired all us.
Christopher Elliott is an author, consumer advocate and journalist.he founded Eliot advocated, Nonprofit organizations that help solve consumer problems.he published Elliott Confidentialtravel newsletters and Elliott Report, a news site about customer service.If you need help with a consumer issue, you can contact him here or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.