18 Things Tourists Do That Americans Find Rude

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By Darryl Henderson

While it’s true that tourists drive more money for the economy, there’s no doubt that they’re often among the rudest groups of people when visiting a new country. Tourists in America are no exception, so we’ve listed 18 of the rudest things a tourist can do in our country.

Cutting in Line

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The U.S. is awash with fantastic attractions and restaurants for tourists to visit – which is why it’s all the more frowned upon to cut in line. Skipping queues is a huge no-no, as it should be, and it can cause a lot of frustration among locals if tourists are pushing ahead.

Failing to Tip

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Tipping culture is huge in the U.S.–that’s why it’s frustrating when tourists ignore the local customs and avoid tipping, even if they’re not used to it in their own country. These days, 60% of Americans are tipping more, according to CNBC; we wish we could say the same about tourists!

Loud and Disruptive Behavior

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Loud tourists in public places can be a huge pet peeve for Americans. This could be speaking loudly in large groups or even listening to music loudly without headphones. It’s especially frustrating in areas that should be enjoyed peacefully, such as nature and cultural sites.

Overly Flashy Behavior

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If tourists go out of their way to show off their wealth, this is generally considered rude. This is especially so if they are visiting some of the country’s more impoverished areas while doing so, where lavish displays will be met with strong disapproval.

Taking Photos Without Permission

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Any tourist wants to be able to take amazing travel photos, but taking photos without permission is considered rude. Many places have guidelines about photography, yet tourists choose to ignore them! Snaps of locals should only ever be taken with their consent.

Leaving Behind Trash

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Tourists bring a lot of trash with them, especially when they’re eating on the go, and one of the rudest things you can do as a tourist is not tidy up after yourself. This is a particular problem in Hawaii, as trash “doesn’t have anywhere else to go,” as SF Gate reminds us.

Haggling Aggressively

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Tourists who visit stores with the intention of haggling for a lower price can often make the mistake of doing so aggressively. Refusing to accept a fair price can create a lot of tension, making the transaction uncomfortable for everyone. Just because you haggle in your country doesn’t mean we do in America!

Disregarding Personal Space

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Some tourists believe they’re entitled to a lot of space when visiting certain areas and attractions. Naturally, Americans won’t like it if you’re blocking the street to take selfies or standing too close in those theme park queues. American city streets can get very busy, so physical boundaries are key.

Expecting Special Treatment

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It can be viewed as rude when tourists expect special treatment simply because they’re visitors. This includes acting entitled if anything is delayed or canceled during their visit or being rude to waiting staff. Some tourists believe the rules don’t apply to them, which can upset the locals. It’s just plain selfish!

Making Stereotypical Assumptions

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Tourists can very easily make stereotypical assumptions based on what they perceive about the U.S. before traveling. This can include expressing disappointment when things aren’t as they’d hoped, making generalizations about the local culture, or discriminating people to their faces. Don’t judge a book by its cover!

Ignoring Environmental Conservation

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America is awash with beautiful national parks and wildlife, yet countless tourists ignore the guidelines for preserving these during their visit. This can include venturing into roped-off areas of preserved sites, which The Guardian blames on tourists seeking the perfect photo for social media. It’s so selfish. 

Insensitive Language or Behavior

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Americans also don’t like it when tourists use offensive language or gestures without truly understanding their meaning. Tourists might make insensitive jokes or speak in the same way they would if they were at home without considering the locals’ listening, refusing to adapt their attitudes. 

Trespassing on Private Property

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With so many backroads and places to explore across the U.S., it’s no surprise tourists might stumble accidentally into unplanned areas. However, intentionally trespassing on private property by ignoring the signs or boundaries is unforgivable and often illegal, so watch your step!

Failing To Learn Basic Local Language Phrases

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Even if you come from a country that also speaks English, America has its own preferred phrases and language quirks, depending on which state you’re visiting. Failing to do any research into how the locals talk can be seen as rude and even lazy. If in doubt, ask a local for some tips!

Disrespecting Historical or Sacred Sites

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America is full of abundant history, with plenty of fascinating sites to visit. Disrespecting any historical or sacred sites as a tourist is one of the worst things you can do. This includes ignoring any rules or customs, speaking loudly at sacred sites, or taking photos where photography isn’t permitted.

Being Impatient or Rushed

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Tourists who demand a fast service or to be the center of attention will easily upset the locals, especially if this takes place in a more serene area of the country. It will be seen as disturbing the peace, a problem that is, sadly, more common in hospitality outlets, with higher demands for food and drink.

Disregarding Local Laws

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It’s also common for tourists to ignore local laws and regulations when visiting, particularly traffic laws. Disregarding laws makes it unsafe for both tourists and locals. The U.S.A. Gov even points out that some tourists forget which types of driving licenses they need, breaking the laws in a truly ignorant way.

Cultural Appropriation

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Finally, tourists visiting the U.S. may upset the locals through cultural appropriation. This is common in states such as Hawaii, where tourists steal their culture and turn it into a fashion statement whilst visiting. Americans will certainly find it rude if tourists don’t do their homework in cultural attire and accessories, so don’t be that guy!