Tourists behaving badly

Tired of the “ugly American” stereotype of US travellers abroad? A new LivingSocial survey conducted among more than 5,600 respondents in five countries by Mandala Research discovered that Americans are well travelled but believe they are the world’s worst tourists. Chinese tourists were in second place, closely followed by the French.

Americans also have fewer annual vacation days available than other countries. So where are the tourists behaving badly?

The survey found that Americans, Canadians and Australians all gave US tourists that dubious distinction, while the Irish identified their British neighbors as the worst, and the British dobbed in the Germans for bad travel behavior. Despite these self-doubts, respondents dismissed another common misperception: that most Americans have never travelled abroad. The survey found that 78 per cent of Americans have visited at least one foreign country, 61 per cent have visited multiple countries, and 36 per cent have travelled to four or more foreign destinations. The average number of countries visited was more than four.

“Our survey puts the old wives tale to bed that only 15 per cent of Americans own passports,” said Dave Madden, general manager of LivingSocial Escapes, North America. “Americans turn out to be pretty active globetrotters, with the average person having visited at least four countries. Unfortunately, Americans have pretty low opinions of themselves as travellers, so its time to turn on that Yankee charm and improve our global image.”

Among other findings of the survey:

Four in 10 US travellers (39%) admit to having stolen something from a hotel during a visit. The most common items pilfered were towels (28%), bathrobes (8%), batteries (5%), pillows (4%), remote controls (3%), sheets (3%), bibles (3%), and umbrellas (3%).

Americans reported far fewer vacation days from work last year 16 days off  than their peers in Australia (27 days), Canada (21), Ireland (28), and the UK (23). Of those days off, Americans spent 10 days travelling outside of their home city and just under four outside the US.

Percentage of Americans who have experienced the following on vacation:

Airline lost luggage 21%
Hit by a weather disaster 21%
Got extremely lost 19%
Overcharged by a salesperson 16%
Missed a flight or connecting transportation 16%
Had an injury, severe illness or medical emergency 11% Ran out of cash or couldn’t access money 8%
Blacked out or had a hangover from too much booze 7%
Couldn’t find a bathroom in time 7%
Got pickpocketed or robbed 5%
Got bitten by bedbugs 5%
Experienced local strikes or civil unrest 5%
Forgot or lost passport/ID 5%
Victim of a scam 3%
Got arrested or had a run-in with the law 3%
Broke up with a significant other 4%
Americans say the country with the worst tourists is: United States 20%, China 15%, France 14%, Japan 12%, Russia 11%, Korea 9%, India 9%, Germany 8%, Spain 7%, Britain 5%, Canada 5% Italy 4%, The Netherlands 3%, Ireland 2%, Switzerland 2%, Australia 2%.



4 thoughts on “Tourists behaving badly

  1. I’m not surprised the British dobbed in the Germans for bad behaviour, but think the lager louts in Greece are mainly British and they are APPALLING


  2. You want sleezy? I will wade into this debate, biased though I am. Americans were honest enough to own up to their faults, and maybe other nationalities weren’t. You only have to see how Italian men think all single women and otherwise are easy prey to know who are the really badly behaved tourists.


  3. It would be interesting on how the Living Social Survey was conducted to give the really high stats on Americans traveling. I would guess their sample size and demographics were based on a high travel group, which is misleading.

    Quote from an enclosed article: The number of Americans who have a passport, according to the most recent statistics issued by the State Department in January of 2012, is 117,014,020. Given the country’s population of 311,591,917, that means about 38% of the American population has a passport. This means nearly 2 out of 3 Americans can’t even fly to Canada, let alone travel to anywhere else in the world.


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