It’s awesome being a tourist. Who hates going on vacation, nobody right? It’s not awesome however, living in a place frequented by tourists. Many travelers seem to lose all common sense while on vacation. This leads them to do some really rude and stupid things.
We’ve all seen people having badly while on vacation. Imagine what tour guides have seen. If only there were a best of list of tour guides venting about the worst things they’ve seen tourists do. Oh wait, there’s a list like that, and it starts in two sentences. 🙂
Don’t be like these people. Be a respectful tourist.
#1 This Snapping Turtle Owes Me A New iPhone
I’m a tour guide at a university. A small group got into our gardens where there is a big turtle pond. A girl got excited and wanted a close up of the largest snapping turtle. The girl lost her phone to the turtle and tried to get the university to buy her a new one. The girl was lucky she still had all her fingers…
#2 Who’s The Stunt Pilot?
I’m a bush pilot in Alaska and I occasionally do glacier air tours when my boss asks me to. One day, while doing a glacier tour with seven people onboard, a dude sitting next to me just looks at me and says, “I’m the captain now.” He then yanked the plane 30 degrees to the right and then lets it go. He laughed, saying he was just joking, but I was having absolutely none of it.
#3 Sharks and Testosterone is a Bad Combination
About 15 years ago, I worked as a deckhand on a line of boats that took people out to Fort Sumter. The trip was about an hour each way. One day, we were about halfway there and two teenagers decided it would be fun to jump off and try to swim to shore. This was in Charleston Harbor, which has a pretty solid tidal current, lots of boat traffic, and probably more sharks than one would like to think about. We ended up having to perform a water rescue on them. The Coast Guard later picked them up. All in all, an extreme act of stupidity.
#4 To Save Your Life, I’m Going To Punch You In the Face
I led a scuba diving tour. While signing the safety waivers and all that, one very old man kept telling us that he had a DNR (do not resuscitate) slip. We plainly told him that we were not bound to a DNR and if he passed out for any reason, we would attempt to resuscitate him as per our safety training. Pretty much all the divers were assuming the guy was going to drown himself down there.
During the dive, pretty much everyone was hawkeyed on the guy. I saw him go behind a large coral head, lay down in the sand and spit out his regulator. He was only at about 60 feet, so I grabbed him and wrestled him to the surface. He refused to take my back up regulator so I slammed it against his mouth to give him some air.
We got to the surface and he was fighting with me non-stop, trying to pull all of his gear off. I threw a very hard punch to his jaw and knocked him out (we were actually trained to do this during dive rescues to keep the panicked person from putting the tour guide’s life in jeopardy, too). Three weeks later, he tried to sue my dive shop.
#5 Does This Wine Taste Like Ash To You?
I used to do vineyard and garden tours for a pretty well-known winery. I had a lady ask to see any merlot vines we had so I walked her over and she proceeded to dump ash all over them, yelling, “We love you, Nana! Rest in peace!” Needless to say, you are not allowed to dump human remains on food goods. We called the cops on her and they escorted her off the premises.
#6 Does Your Monkey Bite When Provoked?
I used to be a tour guide at a primate sanctuary with a strict ‘no touching policy’. At the end of the tour, there’s a suspension bridge, and as per the rules, the tourists go first, and then the guide goes after. I always warn the tourists that the other side is the territory of a Hanuman langur and he doesn’t mess around.
He doesn’t attack people, but he likes showing his teeth while screaming, which scares tourists. Anyway, on one tour, I got to the other side of the bridge, and a tourist got bit. He said a monkey just bit him out of nowhere. I asked the other tourists and they said they saw him trying to freaking pet the Hanuman. Dummy got what he deserved.
#7 I Thought Quills Went Out of Fashion 120 Years Ago
I was working on a tourist island in Australia when this man pulled out almost all the back feathers of a peacock because he wanted to keep one. He snuck up behind it, and grabbed a huge handful and yanked them all out. He was immediately escorted off the island. The peacock had a huge bare patch and most of its beautiful feathers were gone.
#8 Please Don’t Dangle Your Baby Over The Aquarium
I worked at an aquarium. This dude arrived in the Amazon exhibit room that housed the tank where every fish in it could literally hurt you. He promptly started dangling his sister’s kid over the exhibit. I immediately stepped up to him and pushed the kid back from over it, firmly explaining that this wasn’t allowed and that I’d have to call security. Thank god, the kid’s mother was on my side and started tearing into the man. It took her five minutes of, “No, that was absolutely not appropriate,” for him to get the message that he’d seriously screwed up.
#9 Gosh, I Sure Hope You Don’t Lose Your Arm The Second Time I Warn You To Stop
I was doing a tour of our production facility for some people from the head office. As we got to one of the pallet out-feeds, I mentioned the light curtain which was a safety feature that stopped the conveyors once the light was broken. For some darn reason, one of the ladies decided to stick her hand through the light to test it, stopping the production line and also risking her safety by doing it in the first place.
I asked her not to do that again and went about resetting the machine to start it up again. No more than three seconds after doing so, she stuck her hand through the curtain again, stopping everything. She looked at me with the most stupid expression on her face as I basically said, “What the heck”. To this day, I don’t know why she did it or what her deal was.
#10 If Your Friends All Rode a Segway Over A Ledge, Would You Do It Too?
There’s a small hill on a pedestrian footpath outside my university. Once, I witnessed a segway tour attempt to use this path. The first segway slowed to a stop as it reached the top of this hill. The second segway sped up in an attempt to make it over and crashed into the first segway. One by one, each segway crashed into the one in front of it, toppling over each other. The pathway now has a “No Bikes or Segways” sign.
#11 I Hope They Have Copies Of That Vintage Film Reel
I used to work at a heritage site. It was an old military installation with a lot of remaining original structures (bunk beds, cafeteria equipment, computers, etc.). Every day, it was a constant effort to remind people NOT to jump on the beds, or slam the doors open, or punch every button as if it owes them money. The absolute worst was a group of kids on a school trip.
Within the first 10 minutes, we were walking through the tech portion of the exhibit, where we had a wall lined with Burroughs large systems machines (B5000’s), all behind this little fence about waist-high. I turned to demonstrate some of the pieces, and when I looked back at the group, one of them had jumped over the barrier, opened one of the units and started pulling out handfuls of digital tape from the reels inside. I just about jumped on the kid. I immediately ended the tour and had them all refunded, as I couldn’t imagine what else could happen.
#12 Not Sorry Folks – This Is A Really Important Call
I was in the middle of talking and someone’s phone rang. Okay, that happens sometimes—usually, they’d just cancel the call or step outside. Nope, this guy answered the call and started talking on the phone, only a few meters from where I was standing. I thought, “Oh, he’ll just quickly explain he’s busy and end the call.” Nope! He started a full-on conversation…
The rest of the group glared at him and I was put in an awkward position because my workplace put a huge emphasis on politeness. So I suggested to him to continue his call in the hallway, just outside the room we were in, to which he replied, “No, I’m fine here.” I was doing my best to talk to the rest of the group, but he was so loud!
Eventually, a Chinese woman yelled across the room at him, saying: “Shut up, we want to listen to the lady, not you,” which worked. I just couldn’t imagine how someone could have the nerve to ruin everyone’s experience like that. All because he was too selfish to talk on the phone outside. He caused all of that trouble for nothing.
#13 Bro, This Is The Best Bong EVER!
I work at a brewery taproom and take people on brewery tours. During fermentation, CO2 is produced and excess comes out through a runoff pipe and into a water bucket. One of the attendees (who was being a pain and trying to be funny) asked me what the pipe was for, so I gladly explained. He then asked what would happen if he breathed it in. In disbelief of his stupidity, I told him he would pass out and damage his brain. He then proceeded to grab the pipe and take a breath. He was ejected and barred. Some people are just beyond belief.
#14 Bulls Will Do What Bulls Do
I worked at a living history farm museum. I had a kid that was climbing on stuff during the whole tour in the farmhouse. He was trying to get behind the smith in the blacksmith shop during a demo. After the tour, when people are allowed to roam the grounds, I heard his mom screaming. I looked over to the barn and the kid had climbed the fence into the field with our longhorn oxen. He was trying to poke them with a stick.
I walked over and calmly told him to get out of the field before our lazy oxen decide they’ve had enough, but the jerk decided to look me in the eye and smack Ted on the butt with the stick like it’s a riding crop. Ted, bless him, just kind of jumped a little and whipped his head around, wiping the kid out with one of his horns. The kid went flying into the dirt and started crying.
The kid was fine, Ted was fine, but the kid and his mom were promptly kicked out of the museum. Their dad and little sister were allowed to stay because she was well behaved and was just enjoying petting the goats at the petting zoo. Since the kid had to leave but his sister didn’t, there was a temper tantrum in the parking lot that could be heard all the way to the other side of the farm.
#15 Please Don’t Charge Your Phones In The Lake
I once was a tour guide in high school for a group of young Chinese students coming to the rural US on a sort of “fresh air” trip. They told us beforehand that we had to keep the kids away from water because apparently, parents don’t value swimming lessons in China. Plus there is such little open swimmable water there that no one really learns how to swim on their own.
We were also told that the kids think swimming happens “naturally”—like, if you go into the water you’ll immediately start swimming. Anyway, one of our excursions was to a local reservoir. The plan was to hike up a hill nearby to overlook the reservoir lake, get a few photos, and then leave. When we got to the top, it started POURING rain.
I’m talking so much rain you can’t see five feet in front of you. Then, lightning started striking the lake and I was still trying to keep it cool even though I had never been so close to lightning before. The students were taking it well and laughing, which was good until they started running directly for the lake to jump in. Apparently, they had also never learned about electricity conducting through water, so I was freaking out. I started pulling them out of the water and a couple of them complained that their phones were wet… in the rain. No one got hurt, but it was a crazy day.
#16 Why Would You Do That?
I had a guest who was snorkeling try and grab the tail of a barracuda as he swam up behind it. Luckily, I was able to hit the guest with a flipper from the boat to stop him before he got ahold. If he had grabbed on, I’m sure he would have been ripped to pieces by that fish.
#17 Stay Within The Guided Tour Areas Please
I was a tour guide at a historic village museum (similar to Colonial Williamsburg). It also wasn’t uncommon for people to sneak away from the tour group to go into restricted areas in an attempt to hunt the ghosts which are supposedly on the property. There’s a reason those places are out of bounds—there can be irreplaceable artifacts we don’t want accidentally damaged, or the area hasn’t been cleared by the fire marshal to allow guest access. Small things have been broken by people doing this. People love to get confrontational about being told they can’t go into restricted areas or touch the artifacts despite all the signs hung up.
#18 Helicopter Blades Make Fantastic Meat Slicers
I work as part of the ground crew for a company that does Helicopter tours. The number one rule for customers is: “DON’T WALK UNDER THE TAIL BOOM, THE ROTOR WILL KILL YOU AND IT WILL HURT.” It’s unbelievable how many people have a death wish out there. People see the fastest way to the other side of the helicopter and don’t stop to think “Oh hey, that spinning blade may or may not slice my whole head off, let’s see how close we can get to it!”
#19 Just Use Common Sense And Don’t Take Artifacts
A couple of guys I used to play cricket with went on a school trip to Auschwitz and decided to steal a small pair of glasses and some buttons they found half buried in the ground. They were detained by Polish police while they were leaving the site. It’s really hard to know what goes through people’s heads sometimes.
#20 Yes Sir, Sharks Do Bite
I’m a boat captain in the Caribbean. We had about 50 people on the boat once. Normally, we’d go feed the swimming pigs, and there’d always be at least one person who would get nipped by them from doing stupid stuff. Well, the next stop after that was another island where we would hand feed turtles, sharks, and stingrays.
We would tell the people to hold the food with their palms open and the stingrays and would come over the top and take it out. For the turtles and the sharks, we’d tell them to put the food in the water and to let go when they come for it. Well, of course, this dingus decided he would be tough and feed this baby shark without letting go. The shark proceeded to bite his fingers, so he screamed and jumped up out of the water. His nail ended up coming off.
#21 Teachers Need Vacations Too
I used to give tours at my university. There was a group of middle schoolers I was giving a tour to and one kid kept trying to sneak away. He was whistling at just about every girl who walked by. Weird. Okay, whatever, he thinks he’s a big shot. Then, a very attractive girl came jogging by us, and he tried to GRAB HER. I ended the tour. I was done with him. The teachers didn’t even care, that was probably the worst part.
#22 Who Knew Monkeys Love Gold
My cousin is a tourist guide and biologist. Most of his tours take place in Africa. He instructed his group of 25 people to not wear any type of earrings or collars, especially shiny stuff since they were about to go into a thick forest to try to see a bunch of animals. This was very important because shiny stuff could be spotted by potentially dangerous animals from far away.
One woman complained about the rule and ended up deciding to wear shiny earrings anyway. Her cousin told her to get rid of them or she would be banned from the group, so she obeyed. Later on, however, she put them on again, and some species of monkeys in that area caught a glimmer in their eyes. They ripped the earrings from her ears.
#23 Privacy Invaded By A Cell Phone Camera
I was on a tour with my family in Cambodia and we visited Angkor Wat. Now as everyone knows, Angkor Wat is teeming with tourists day and night. There was a long line to climb the Bakan (basically the topmost tower, wherein the steps are very steep). It was a hot day and when it was almost our turn, a middle-aged man took two steps, fell backward and started having a seizure.
People came to his help immediately. However, one man who was also crowding around him did nothing but pull out his cellphone and start recording. Thankfully, everyone noticed and started yelling at the guy to put that stuff away. He acted like the victim though and he said he was “just trying to help.”
#24 If You Cannot Swim A Good Rule Of Thumb Is To Stay In A Non-Sinking Boat
Former whitewater rafting guide here. There’s a calmer section of the river that people can hop out and swim through. They are wearing life jackets, so they can just float through it. One woman decided she wanted to try it and hopped out. After she popped up, she slowly tilted forward until just the back of her jacket is out of the water. After five or so seconds of this, I started to realize this might not be intentional, so I paddled over and physically picked her head up above the water. She immediately gasped for air. I hauled her in the boat and ask what happened. She said she didn’t know what to do as she’d “never been submerged in water before.”
#25 Her Poor Child
I was giving a tour of my university to the mother of a potential student. She tried to recruit me into a popular pyramid scheme and when I tried to change the subject by asking what she did in her spare time, she told me about her conspiracy theories that she gave public talks on. They included the dangers of Wi-Fi, 5G, and chemtrails, and that the moon landings were faked by Stanley Kubrick, who was shortly thereafter assassinated by the CIA and replaced by a clone. I cut the tour short. I felt pretty sorry for her daughter who appeared to think these theories were reasonable and had also been recruited into her mother’s pyramid scheme at 17.
#26 Really, Why?
I was on a tour of a small cave system somewhere in west Texas. It was really beautiful. When the tour guide was telling us how long it took for all the stalagmites and stalactites to form, she turned around to move on and some guy leaned way over, snapped off a small one and shoved it in his pocket!!! I was so surprised that I just stared at him while he smiled and winked at me as if we had really gotten away with something.
#27 Yes, Your Kid Deserved it!
I saw a kid knock over a set of replica Civil War rifles that were on display, and then his mom got mad at the tour guide for yelling at him. The kid and his mom were then kicked off the Civil War tour.
#28 Does Your Dragon Bite?
I was at a reptile show and they let out some mini crocodile iguana type thing. I think it was called a dragon? Anyway, some kid decided to take his shoe off and wiggle his toes through the small rope gate we were against. The presenter says, “Watch your kid, these will bite.” The kid removed his foot and immediately put it back in, wiggling his toes again. The dragon thing then surged forward and clamped down. The kid started screaming, and the presenter just looked on like, “Well, I told you so” and removes it. The kid stops screaming, no one says anything, and presenter moves on. That’s what you get for ignoring instructions, and also for not parenting properly.
#29 Whitewater Rafting Generally Leads To Getting Wet
I was a whitewater rafting guide and we had a trip of about five boats. One of the clients only brought high heels with her. They were not very high, but they were still a fancy type. We require shoes on the trip, and since those were the only pair she had with her, that’s what she wore. About an hour into the trip, it was like 100 degrees, so the guests started a water fight with their paddles. All of a sudden I heard this lady screaming: “Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! I didn’t come here to get wet!!” On a whitewater rafting trip…
#30 Please Don’t Urinate On The Historical Artifacts
A guy went #1 on the side of an Omaha Beach bunker. Not out of spite or something, he just didn’t want to walk back to the portapotty, so he started going on a piece of history. Obviously not the worst thing, but it certainly made the rest of our group turn to him and ask what in the absolute heck he was doing.
#31 Adults Only On The Alcohol Tour Please
I’m a guide for a popular mainstream brewery. The way tours work there, we always have two guides per tour: one leading and one closing the group, for safety reasons. When we greet people, part of our spiel consists of pointing out the fact that the only toilets are located at the entrance and at the pub at the end of the tour. We also make it very clear that no one should, at any point, be behind the closing guide, no matter what. Both of these will be important later on.
So, on the day this happened, the other guide and I were alternating between leading and closing. We greeted our group of around 25 people and we noticed there was a little boy of around four there with his parents. This wasn’t the first time something of the sort happened, but I’ll never understand why people feel the need to bring their children and even babies to a brewery. Much less one that is advertised as being difficult to walk around. Oh well.
We leave with our group and everything is fine until we reach the brew room. At this point, while my colleague is explaining the carbonated adult beverage making process, the father approaches me saying that his son needs the toilet. I tell him that we are close to the pub and ask if he can wait five minutes so we could all leave the brew room together, or if he’d rather the three of us leave for the pub immediately and rejoin the group later on.
He answers “nevermind” and rejoins the group. After a minute or so, I hear the door to the room opening and closing, this is a big no-no, of course, because we need to always be aware of where everyone is. So, I go to investigate and find the father holding his son while he goes #1 around the corner. It was just pure disrespectful.
#32 Remember That Time Grandma Lost Her Arm To A Bear?
Once, I had a lady with a thick New York accent try and pet a black bear.
#33 A Race You Don’t Want To Win
I was on a tour of Namibia and we had a Zimbabwean guide who was telling us his craziest stories. He had a couple that was married and on their honeymoon on one of his trips. One night, everyone was sitting around the fire and chatting (just as we were) and this one couple got up to go to the bathroom. It was a campsite, so they walked off into the darkness towards the toilets.
A few minutes later, the guy ran back alone, crying and panicking. Everyone asked him what happened. “I think my wife was eaten by a lion.” Gasp, shock. Everyone was freaked out for a few minutes, and then the irate wife walked up to the campsite and started yelling. So what had happened? Well, they’d walked off, and at some point near the toilets, they both heard a kind of snuffling noise in the underbrush, clearly an animal rooting around.
The husband completely freaked out, pushed his wife towards the noise and down to the ground. Spoiler alert, it was not a lion and the wife was not pleased with the attempts at being sacrificed. The guide told us that they didn’t speak the entire rest of the trip and he believes they got divorced. It was probably hilarious to watch them after that incident.
#34 Please Don’t Burn Our Church Down
I work at the National Cathedral. A tourist took a small votive candle and lit his friend’s hat on fire. It didn’t spread or set off any alarms, but it got through most of his hat and almost caught his hair on fire. He was also really overreacting, and he threw his burned hat into the organ. The Cathedral suffered from earthquake damage in 2011, and we borrowed one of their ladders to get it down.