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13 Annoying Things to Avoid Doing as a Tourist Abroad

EMA Global - June 12, 2024 - 0 comments

13 Annoying Things to Avoid Doing as a Tourist Abroad

Travelling abroad is an exciting and enriching experience; whether you’re looking for an adventure or a zen getaway, you are bound to explore new cultures, cuisines, and landscapes.

However, being a good tourist involves more than just sightseeing and taking photos—it requires respect and awareness of local customs and norms. Unfortunately, tourists sometimes commit faux pas that can be annoying or offensive to locals. Here’s a guide on annoying things to avoid as a tourist abroad, ensuring your travel is enjoyable for you and the people you encounter.

1. Ignoring Local Customs and Traditions

One of the biggest mistakes tourists make is ignoring or being unaware of local customs and traditions. Each country has its own set of social norms, and what might be acceptable behaviour in your home country could be considered rude elsewhere. For example, in Japan, tipping is impolite, whereas in the United States, tipping is expected. Researching and respecting these customs shows cultural sensitivity and respect.

2. Loud and Obnoxious Behavior 

While you might be excited to be in a new place, remember that being overly loud or disruptive can annoy those around you. This includes speaking loudly in restaurants, on public transport, or in places of worship. Maintain a moderate volume and be mindful of your surroundings to avoid disturbing others.

3. Disregarding Dress Codes

Different countries have different expectations when it comes to dress. In some cultures, modest clothing is required, especially in religious sites. Ignoring these dress codes can be seen as disrespectful. Always research the appropriate attire for the places you plan to visit and pack accordingly.

4. Disrespecting Sacred Sites 

Religious and sacred sites are places of worship and reverence. Behaving disrespectfully, such as talking loudly, taking inappropriate photos, or not following the site’s rules, can be extremely offensive. Always act respectfully, dress appropriately, and follow the guidelines provided at these sites.

5. Littering

Littering is environmentally harmful and highly disrespectful to the host country. Always dispose of your trash properly and consider participating in local recycling programs if available. Keeping the environment clean is a universal sign of respect.

6. Haggling Excessively

While haggling is common in many cultures, there is a fine line between negotiating a fair price and being disrespectful. Overly aggressive bargaining can be seen as rude and disrespectful. Understand the local norms of haggling and approach it with politeness and respect.

7. Taking Photos Without Permission

Always ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially in less touristy areas. In some cultures, taking a photo without consent is considered rude or intrusive. Additionally, be mindful of no-photography signs, particularly in museums, galleries, and religious sites.

8. Expecting Everyone to Speak English

While English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas, expecting everyone to understand or speak it fluently is unreasonable. Being patient, using simple words, and learning a few key phrases in the local language can improve communication and show respect.

9. Overpacking and Blocking Walkways 

Navigating through crowded areas with oversized luggage can be frustrating for both you and those around you. Pack light and be mindful of where you place your bags to avoid blocking walkways and causing inconvenience to others.

10. Not Adhering to Local Etiquette

Every culture has its own etiquette, from dining manners to greeting customs. For example, in many Asian cultures, you are expected to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home. Failing to adhere to these customs can be seen as disrespectful. Always educate yourself on local etiquette before your trip.

11. Being Unprepared for Currency Differences

Not understanding the local currency can lead to confusion and frustration for both you and local vendors. Familiarise yourself with the currency and its value relative to your own. This will help you make accurate transactions and avoid holding up queues.

12.Disregarding Personal Space 

Personal space norms vary across cultures. In some countries, people stand close to each other while talking; in others, more space is expected. Be mindful of these differences and adjust your behaviour accordingly to avoid making others uncomfortable.

13. Complaining About Food

Trying local cuisine is one of the joys of travelling, but it’s important to be respectful even if the food isn’t to your taste. Complaining loudly or making faces can offend locals. Approach new foods with an open mind and be polite if you don’t enjoy something.


Being a considerate tourist involves more than just following the law; it requires cultural sensitivity, respect, and awareness of your behaviour. By avoiding these common annoying behaviours, you can ensure a more harmonious and enjoyable experience for both yourself and the locals. Travel is not just about seeing new places; it’s about connecting with and respecting the cultures you encounter. Embrace these principles, and your travels will be more rewarding and enriching for everyone involved.

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