Noisy chatterers, smooching lovebirds, armrest hogs and selfish seat recliners – we hate them all with the utmost passion. But nasty travelers get classified not only by the infuriating things they do on planes. Every now and then a list of the world's most annoying nationalities gets published, stirring as much consenting laughter of those at the receiving end as it does clamor among those who find themselves complete the roll call. Here's 8 that always get the dubious badge of their countries' bad ambassadors, together with 8 reasons why we are ready to turn a blind eye...
Indians don't fair well in the politeness stakes as hoteliers all over the world describe them as rudest, most indifferent to local culture and least likely to tip. Local cuisine is also something they will approach with suspicion, and the level of noise they generate is considerably higher than what's on average considered tolerable. Anything that exculpates this off-putting reputation? Well, despite the fact that rudeness really is a national problem in India, other attributes need to be interpreted in terms of a specific cultural pattern. Tipping is not a norm in India. Nor is saying thank you, and nobody makes fuss about it there. Quite the contrary, aggressive haggling runs in the Indian blood and so is the tendency to speak quite loudly. On the other hand, cross-cultural etiquette should apply to everyone and it is the awareness of some universal rules that makes traveling a pleasure for both the guest and the host. After all, when in Rome ...
Taj Mahal, Agra. By RTQ
OK, this one is quite controversial. As host Greeks are considered exceptionally warm and friendly, but somehow got on TripAdvisor's list of the most annoying tourists. What may be to blame? Well, Greeks can be very loud and disruptive in public, often speaking too loudly, yelling at each other and fully exercising their range of explicit vocabulary (perhaps hoping nobody will understand). They also tend to be quite demanding of restaurant staff and will often complain about the service or quality of food. Heavy smoking doesn't win them friends either.
Santorini. By polarkreisthiele
The list of wrongdoings committed by Russian tourists is as long as the Volga River. Some of them however are so ridiculous that they seem more of a legend than real offenses to travel etiquette. OK, they may have terrible taste in fashion (happily combining tracksuits with golden jewelery) and appalling table manners (belching and swearing through meals). It's also within belief that they sport their money around (expecting hotel staff to be their servants) and cut in line in bars. But the idea that they load doggie bags with buffet food and hide sunloungers in their rooms overnight to make sure they get a spot at the pool in the morning seem a little far fetched. Or maybe?
St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow. By retlaw snellac
Fine. So what did those courteous, respectful people do to get on the list? Well, perhaps the reason is because “they cruise the gambling tables like Baracuddas with a sore stomach”, as one tourist to Vegas has nicely put it. The thing is that for the Chinese traveling is a relatively recent phenomenon, and a luxury that still not everyone can afford, so once they are out, they feel compelled to make the most of the moment. And that for instance boils down to the fact they always want to look at their finest (including wearing ties and high heels when hiking in national parks), tend to enjoy high level of noise and opt for sightseeing in large groups, often blocking passages, obstructing views and simply disturbing silence. But can we really be mad with them? It seems we just need to give them a little time to learn how to be tourists. Luckily, the Chinese foreign ministry have issued guidelines to help Chinese tourists learn appropriate behaviors when traveling abroad.
The Great Wall of China. By Sareni
The British are a hard nut to crack. For three years in a row, they have been named as messiest, meanest, scruffiest and worst behaved … but only in Europe. In Greece, for instance, local residents and business-owners held a protest against British tourists, because "they get drunk, they exhibit themselves in front of our eyes", and frequently get arrested for random acts of violence and vandalism. Outside Europe, however, British holidaymakers hover around the top in the worldwide Best Tourist rankings, with over 15% of the surveyed commending them for their generosity and politeness. Weird...
Stonehenge. By Qalinx
Before the Russians arrived on the international scene, it was the German tourists who fell subject of habitual jokes about hogging sunloungers at the crack of dawn. But much as they've been knocked off the top spot, they still have enough vice to secure themselves a place on the podium. Not only are they claimed to be the most fashion-challenged tourists (right beside the Americans), but also get really bad marks on politeness towards waiters and hotel stuff. There are even rumors that they've been frequently caught stealing from tip plates on bars. Some of us have apparently been hit by the crisis harder than others...
Neuschwanstein Castle. By MPOBrian
Just as with the British, putting a clearly-defined label on the lot of American travelers would be quite unfair. They were holding the 'worst tourists' crown for years, mainly for their noisiness, frequent complaining, bad taste in fashion and obnoxious remarks on why none of the locals spoke any English. And although there's still quite a lot to do to shrug off the reputation of a slobby, noisy, ignorant American, the US tourists have managed to warm up their image abroad, basically by getting top marks for generosity, as the biggest spenders and tippers, and readiness to try local cuisine.
Horseshoe Bend, AZ. By NikonKnight
For years the Americans have been the undisputed champions of holiday rudeness. But it seems their reign has finally come to an end in favor of the French. A survey by Expedia reveals they come across as penny-pinching, impolite, inattentive to local customs and least ready to try a new language. Who in fact hasn't been at the receiving end of this indifference? It's true that the French have been blessed with a fabulous country and don't need to go abroad much. Consequently, they may not be familiar with travel etiquette and even a bit stressed when on holiday. But does this really excuse arrogance?
Provence. By publik_oberberg
Just to finish it all off, do you think the label of the world's worts tourist can really be stuck on any particular nationality? And isn't it that we can put up with anything – scruffy clothes, bad table manners, ignorance in terms of local culture and language – as long as we are addressed with courtesy and respect?