When it comes to cringe-worthy travel habits, we all have at least one. Some of us get up at 6am to reserve the ‘best’ sunbeds with our towels (you know who you are!), some of us insist on eating only foods that we know (and expect to get them wherever we are in the world), and some of us think that airplane overhead luggage bins are our own private space, but according to a recent question posted on Quora, our habits are much worse than that!
When the question, “What are some of the most cringe-worthy things that tourists do in your country?” was posted on the popular question and answer site, the response from international contributors was huge, and while some answers were a tad harsh, others made valid points…
In Norway, contributor Havard Holand commented that visitors to the country often have to be picked up by rescue helicopters when wondering off into remote areas, and that when they are not busy getting lost, they spend their days asking silly questions at the tourist information office, such as “When do the Fjords open?” and “Are Norwegian hamburgers made out of reindeer or polar bear meat?”
Over in Canada, Tam McTavish came up with a long list of traveller habits that make him cringe, including ‘Bear Jams’ whereby tourist block the roads during the excitement of seeing a bear, the sheer volume of RVs in Banff throughout the year, and the fact that us Europeans and our Asian neighbours are rubbish at tipping. So just in case you didn’t know, 15% is expected!
In Iceland, on the other hand, we shouldn’t be tipping at all according to Þorkell Sigvaldason. He wrote, “You don’t have to tip here. It’s gotten to the point that staff are just told to take the money. Some places have started to use this as an excuse to lower wages.” He also finds the fact that we pee in bushes cringe-worthy, particular when there are perfectly useable facilities nearby.
Down Under in Australia, Hannah Wells is another one with a long list of gripes, and it seems us tourists really must do better when it comes to visiting the land of Oz! So, what do we do that makes Hannah mad? Well, we wave our selfie sticks around like they are deadly weapons, we take pictures of “absolutely everything”, and we refer to Koalas as ‘Koala Bears’ when in fact they are marsupials and not bears at all… how very dare we!
Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I’m sure that most people would agree that tourism is an important source of income for any country, and without international travellers, many people would be out of a job. So, I say welcome visitors with open arms… cringe-worthy habits and all!