Top Tourist Mistakes
Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 • Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 7 • 1/500 sec
You have to wonder how often locals let the tourists get away with things just for a laugh. Take my friend here. We’re in Japan, and he’s wearing a man’s robe (not meant for outdoors) and a Chinese hat. Yet the locals encouraged it (and sold them to us!). They also encouraged us to use chopsticks most of the time, and then laughed at us when we tried to use them on soup (they DID give us spoons eventually). Yeah, I think it’s a local conspiracy. 😉
No matter what country you travel to, you’re going to make mistakes and get laughed at, so it’s good to have a sense of humor. It’s also a good idea to do some research ahead of time and not make the same mistakes as everyone else. Here’s just a few examples of common tourist mistakes in Australia, Cambodia (Phnom Penh), Czech Republic, France (Paris), the Netherlands, Ireland, Iran, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Thailand, and Turkey. As if that isn’t enough, here’s a few more! So yeah, the list is pretty much endless. Good luck!
Sometimes, making mistakes can endear you to the people. For example, this forum writer uses his lack of language skills to his advantage: “Whenever I’ve travelled to a country where English is not the official language, I’ve made it a point to carry an English/<other> phrase book, and I’d always make it a point to painfully mangle the other language. Invariably, no matter where I was, someone would come up to me, gently take away the phrase book, and say ‘Wouldn’t it be easier to just do this in English?’ Usually, a bunch of the locals would come over to practice their English skills, brag about their country and ask about mine. And, all too often, some other American would burst in and bellow ‘Hey! Anyone in this dump speak ‘Murrican?’ 🙄 And, amazingly, everyone in the place would immediately forget every word of English they’d ever known. Including me.”
What’s the most embarrasing tourist mistake you’ve ever made? What have you seen someone else do?