I travel a lot. And over the years I've created a mental list of some of the worst things a tourist can do. I wondered if I was jaded, or if others shared my complaints. I decided ask my Facebook pals if they too had seen tourists behave in idiotic or disrespectful ways. Their responses blew me away. Here's how you can become a bad tourist in 19 easy steps:

  • Wander around town or visit a restaurant barefoot and shirtless. Many "faux hippies" tend to think that going shoeless enhances their experience. But in many towns you're walking on glass, dog poop and worse. And, if you're lucky, you'll pick up a parasite like hookworm.
  • Share your experiences – with everyone! OMG! You're having the trip of a lifetime! Tell everyone about it RIGHT NOW! Grab a table at a nice restaurant, fire up the Skype and blather away. Don't use headphones, either.
  • Walk around town in the middle of the night acting and sounding like a group of children. Breaking beer bottles is a nice touch too.
  • Give money to people because they're poor. Create a culture of dependence. Make people think tourists are ATMs. Don't support local charities.

How to be a bad tourist

  • Get a puppy! Nothing like showing your soft side by adopting a street dog or puppy for a couple of weeks only to turn it loose when you leave town. Woo! More street dogs!!
  • Ask for a discount when the price is already way lower than at home. And then don't tip.
  • Crank your smartphone on a shuttle ride so that everyone can listen to your music in gorgeous lo-fi.
  • Insist that everything is better at home.

Credit: Thinkstock

  • Yell, in English, at people who don't speak English to make them understand what you want them to do for you.
  • Wear revealing clothing – especially shorts and a bikini top – in a conservative village or a house of worship.
  • Show how culturally sensitive you are by adopting the local accent even though you've only been in the country for a week.
  • Try to take on local culture as your own. For example: if you're white, get dreadlocks.
How to be a bad tourist

"Who cares? Everyone does it." Photo: Grey Geezer/Wikimedia Commons

  • Throw your trash right out the window, because, hey, the locals do it!
  • Diss local people in English because you think they can't understand you.
  • Tour a church or cultural attraction while drunk.
  • Complain that the local food isn't as authentic as back home.
  • Ask the person sitting next to you on the bus if they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Play a guitar (or worse, a drum) in a hostel poorly, loudly and late.


  • Worry more about taking a “selfie” than enjoying the scenery before you.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg!

What have you seen in your travels? Comment below.


Shaw-Bio-Blog-Pic-100x100-BELIZE.jpgDoug Murray is a journalist and traveller. Based in Vancouver, he's been to more than 50 countries and lived in West Africa, Mexico and Guatemala. Over the past decade, Doug has written for all of Canada's major media outlets (Global, CTV, CBC) and dozens of international publications on a variety of topics including travel, business and daily news. Follow him on Twitter @borderfilms