21 Tourist "No-Nos" That Travelers Commonly Make Abroad (And How To Avoid Them)

When you're a traveler in a totally new place, it's easy to feel out of your element. And, of course, you wouldn't be the first person to fall prey to some classic tourist mistakes. So Redditor u/danielgmal asked people to share the "biggest tourist no-nos you've encountered while traveling." Here's what people (including members of the BuzzFeed Community) had to say.

1."I've learned this lesson by now, but when I first started traveling, a big one for me was not paying attention to the days I chose to travel to a particular country. For example, I would book a trip and then realize I planned a day around seeing the museums in a city on the day of the week they are all closed. Or I'd try to visit a local attraction not realizing it's a domestic holiday and everyone else in the country is also going there."

Visitors at Park Güell on a sunny day, with Gaudí's mosaic designs and unique architecture visible
Hiroshi Higuchi / Getty Images

2."Taking cheerful selfies in inappropriate places. For example, I saw this happening in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. But also just general bad photography etiquette (shoving your camera in local people's faces, posing tastelessly in some bad imitation of 'local' fashion based more on stereotypes than reality, or taking up too much time on a photoshoot and blocking other people's way)."


3."Those are not garbage cans outside many shops in Japan. Those are for umbrellas. Don't be a dummy like me."

Street with bicycles and pedestrians, lined by single-story shops and a clear sky
I Love Photo And Apple. / Getty Images

4."Expecting waiters in France to check in on you every five minutes during your meal. Restaurants are not like in America. The waiter will come when they see that your plate is empty or if you've stopped touching your food for a while. And waiters let you take your time to order food, so they give you the menu with all the dishes and come back a while after. To signal that you've made your choice, you close the menu and put it on the side of your table."


5."Showing up at a popular city attraction without a pre-purchased ticket. Some examples that come to mind are the Vatican in Rome and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Don't waste your time in line. Do the research ahead of time to save time and see more things. For instance, we took a tour of Palatine Hill that included a tour of the Colosseum. When we got to the Colosseum, we bypassed hundreds of people waiting in line. Tripadvisor is a great resource for this type of information."

Crowded St. Peter's Square at the Vatican with the basilica in the background. People gathered for an event
Owen Franken / Getty Images

6."Treating animals like they're theme park attractions in US National Parks. It's wild to see how many people get out of their cars to take pictures of bears."


7."I live in Sonoma County and work in the wine industry. Too many people think they can do five or six wine tastings in a single day to maximize their experience. In reality, you're actually making it worse. It's all about quality, not quantity. Stick with three winery visits max in a single day."

Wine glasses with white wine, paired with assorted cheeses on a wooden table
Petri Oeschger / Getty Images

8."Being a loud English speaker in a non-English speaking country and assuming that others can't understand you perfectly."


9."Being the person who gets to a scenic viewpoint or landmark with a narrow angle for the photo everyone wants, then proceeds to do a full-on model shoot with dozens of poses and retakes ~for the gram.~ Most of the time, I don't even want a selfie, just the viewpoint without a teenage girl in it."

A person taking a selfie with a smartphone against the backdrop of a coastal town with distinctive architecture
Paul Mckenzie / Getty Images

10."I see a fair number of people from certain other countries that try to haggle for the price of products in the US and seem upset when it's made clear that prices are firm."


11."I'm a Floridian who feels very strongly about tourists engaging with seagulls. You will ruin the beach for everyone around you, and I will come over and tell you to stop."

Two seagulls eating from a takeout container by a body of water with ducks in the background
Mtreasure / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12."Going to Paris in August when all the Parisians take their holidays, which means all the restaurants and bakeries you'll probably want to go to are actually closed for two weeks."


13."Driving slowly to look at the scenery, thereby holding up local traffic. We've got places to be and people to see. If you want to admire the view, just pull off somewhere and enjoy it properly."

Car on forest road with a waterfall by its side
Colin Anderson Productions Pty L / Getty Images

14."Not researching the local weather. One example that comes to mind: People, for some weird reason, think places like Yosemite and Yellowstone are always warm. But in reality these places can have snow storms in the middle of May. It's kind of humorous seeing tourists show up in summer clothes to find it nonstop snowing. In fact, neither of these destinations ever really gets warm."


15."Overlooking the cheap eats. Who needs restaurants when you have endless street food?"

Person cooking noodles on a stove at a street market stall


Twenty47studio / Getty Images

16."Failing to remember that if you are visiting a city, it is not a theme park, but a place where people are living their lives and trying to get to work."


17."In Amsterdam, walking on the bicycle paths and not looking both ways before crossing the street. I know it's so quaint and beautiful but look where you're going. Also, the red light district is a joke and completely overrated. It's for tourists only and is maybe half a block. Take in the canals, cheese shops, pubs, and the fabulous museums instead."

Busy street scene with cyclists and a car, blurred motion, and a building in the background


Bradleyhebdon / Getty Images

18."Not carrying your own toilet paper when visiting Beijing (and pretty much everywhere else in China). Always carry your own with you. The public bathrooms don’t provide any."


19."Not reading the fine print before booking a flight on a budget airline. Cheap flights are cheap for a reason. Their policies towards carry-ons and checked-bag sizes vary, and you might have to unexpectedly fork up some more money. Also, don't expect budget airlines to make it on time if you have a tight connection or will have to go through immigration on your layover."

Empty airport seating with a view of a plane taking off outside the window
Greg Pease / Getty Images

20."Not brushing up on local etiquette before traveling somewhere new. For example, when I visited family in Tokyo, I brought a gift (not strange where I'm from to bring a gift for your host/hostess). But the gift etiquette in Japan is complicated, and the hostess was embarrassed because she wasn't expecting it and had nothing ready to reciprocate. Much befuddlement and so on for me."


21."Assuming you can see all of the US in a single visit. Visitors to the US (especially those from Europe) need to understand that this is a continent-sized country."

Aerial view of a winding road through a dense forest with mountains in the distance


Edwin Remsberg / Getty Images

What's a common mistake that tourists might make, whether it's specific to a single destination or more broad? Tell us in the comments or drop your ideas into this anonymous form.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.