Are Americans the Rudest Tourists? The Worst Things Travelers Have Done

There’s an ongoing battle about which country has the worst tourists. Some people point their fingers at the Chinese, others swear it’s the Russians, and many have labeled American tourists as the worst in the world. After scouring the Internet for stories of tourists behaving badly, we came to a very important conclusion: All tourists are the worst! 

It appears that people, regardless of their nationality, exhibit some very interesting and sometimes shocking behavior while visiting another country. From defacing ancient property to trashing hotel rooms, here are some of the rudest things tourists have ever done. 

Defacing a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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The Colosseum is for looking, not touching. (Photo: Thinkstock)

The Colosseum in Rome is an international tourist attraction and has the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its walls are ancient, but two American tourists also thought they would make the perfect canvas. Two tourists from California were accused of carving their initials into the wall of the Colosseum on March 7. They were caught after attempting to take a selfie with their markings. The women, ages 21 and 25, were charged with “aggravated damage on a building of historical and artistic interest” and will face trial in Italy for aggravated damage to a monument. 

Posing nude on sacred ground

Unless you’re on a nude beach, it’s always a good idea to keep your clothes on while traveling abroad. In February, two American sisters were arrested in Cambodia after taking nude photos at the Angkor Wat temple complex. Lindsey and Leslie Adams decided to snap photos while mooning the camera on grounds that are considered sacred by the locals. “Perhaps they did not know Angkor is a holy site. But their inappropriate activities affect the sanctity of the place,” said Chau Sen Kerya, a spokesperson for the APSARA Authority. How embarrassing!

Related: China Tries to Fight ‘Bad Tourist’ Stereotype

Stealing ancient artifacts

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The artifact, which would have adorned a building at the site near Naples, Italy. (Photo: Il Mattino)

Note to self: It’s never OK to swipe a souvenir from ancient ruins. It seems like common sense, but it’s exactly what landed two tourists in hot water last fall. In September 2014, two American tourists were caught at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport with an artifact from the ruins of Pompeii. The relic was discovered inside of their luggage in their rental car. The duo now faces charges of “appropriation of state heritage.” Next time you want a souvenir, just go to the gift shop. 

Trashing hotel rooms

Looks like rock stars aren’t the only ones who trash hotel rooms. A Swedish tourist was arrested on March 20 for destroying his hotel room in Pattaya, Thailand. Gary Arne Roger Gronberg, 48, said that he got in a fight with another man who fled the scene. Later, when hotel staff came to the door, Gronberg — who later claimed that he thought his opponent had returned — attacked them with a pipe, damaging items in the room. He then barricaded the door with the refrigerator and air conditioner, before sneaking out of the third-floor window. A shirtless Gronberg was quickly captured by officials, who wrangled away the metal pipe he was holding. His outburst cost 20,000 baht ($613) in damage, and he was thrown in jail until a friend could bring him the money. 

Rude bathroom behavior

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The Golden Toilet at the White Temple. (Photo: don reid/Flickr)

The tension between Thai and Chinese travelers has been growing over the last couple of months, and things finally came to a head when Chinese tourists were briefly banned from the White Temple in Thailand. According to reports, a Chinese woman dropped a piece of used toilet paper into a flush tank in the temple’s embellished Golden Toilet. Officials asked the woman to remove the paper, and she declined. Their frustrations, coupled with similar previous incidents, prompted officials to ban Chinese tourists on Feb. 3. However, the ban only lasted for half a day, after officials felt sympathy for all of the Chinese tourists who were arriving and being turned away. 

Kissing strangers on public transportation

Italians may be known as lovers, but they should probably keep their hands to themselves while traveling. An Italian man named Vincenzo D was arrested on March 4 in Wakayama, Japan, after kissing a female stranger on the train. According to reports, he kissed the 21-year-old woman on the forehead, an act that could amount to harassment. It was not immediately clear whether or not he knew the woman.

Fornicating on ancient ruins

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The Suburban Baths in Pompeii. (Photo: Alamy)

Nothing puts you in the mood like staring at ancient ruins. A Frenchman and two Italian women were charged with trespassing in August 2014, after Italian police caught them having sex amid the ancient ruins of Pompeii in Italy. The site for their rendezvous was the Suburban Baths, a former brothel where Roman businessmen and politicians frequented before Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. Referred to as the city’s red light district, this site is still decorated with original wall paintings depicting the type of erotic scenes that typically happen in a brothel — including group sex. Looks like life really does imitate art. 

Related: Are Americans Really the Worst? 5 Other Countries Whose Tourists Make Us Look Good

Stealing food

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Australian tourist Jacob Saveisberg admitted to police that he stole prawns from a restaurant because he was drunk. (Photo: Phuketwan)

Some people will do anything to get food when they’re drunk. An Australian man vacationing in Phuket, Thailand, was arrested over the weekend after stealing raw prawns from a local seafood restaurant. Jacob Saveisberg, 27, swiped the prawns and took off running down the street. Police and a restaurant employee chased Saveisberg down and found the prawns stuffed in his pocket. Saveisberg was taken to the Paton police station, where he confessed that he stole the prawns because he was very drunk. Police handed him a fine of 500 baht ($15) for being drunk and disorderly and allowed him to leave.

Pretending to be a tour guide

Illustrating the definition of overconfidence, a Belgian tourist was arrested over the weekend after posing as a tour guide in Thailand’s Chiang Saen district. The man, Bramewanden Bozer, was spotted leading tourists around while using an amplifier device to talk to the group. When officials asked to see his work permit, he could only produce his Belgian passport with a 90-day tourist stamp. Bozer explained that he was simply working as an interpreter for the Dutch tourists, but his story didn’t impress local authorities. He was handed over to the Chiang Saen police and was charged with working as a tourist guide without a work permit. 

Scaling popular attractions

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French tourist Jonathon Souid climbed the Brooklyn Bridge to get the perfect photograph. (Photo: Theodore Parisienne)

The Brooklyn Bridge offers startling views of Manhattan, but one French tourist wanted an even better look. In November 2014, 23-year-old Jonathon Souid was taken into custody after scaling a cable on the Brooklyn Bridge so he could snap the perfect photograph. Surely Souid snapped an amazing photo, but the New York Police Department said he will also likely face criminal trespassing charges. And this isn’t the first time someone has scaled the Brooklyn Bridge. Last September, two German artists climbed to the top of the bridge and replaced the two American flags with white flags. 

Watch: “Tourists Are Jerks and Other Confessions of a Times Square Character”