Are You an Annoying Tourist?


We recently returned from a wonderful family vacation to Spain where we were all-out, 100%, tourists with a capital T: going on group tours, visiting beautiful monuments, taking pictures, taking more pictures and eating the various Spanish dishes and treats. My favorite…the tortas of Seville and all kinds of tapas. I loved eating a little of this and a little of that. Perfect! Oh and the sangria. Yes. The sangria. Ahhhhh.  Barcelona 017

While our trip was absolutely fantastic, I found myself getting annoyed (gasp!) by the lack of awareness and consideration that people have for one another while doing the tourist thing. In train stations, churches, monuments, palaces, etc. Locations where there are LOTS of people all trying to view and capture the beauty on their cameras (mostly phones). Some of which are “capturing” it again and again and again and again. Because they didn’t quite get the perfect shot the first 10 times.

So here’s my blog of “Oh-No-You-Don’t” for your next travel adventure.

Oh No You Don’t…

Suddenly stop right in front of me to take a picture (every day equivalent =  suddenly stopping in the middle of a busy city street to reply to a text)

Turn up the volume on your phone or tablet so you can watch a funny video because you forgot your ear buds. #shouldbeyourproblemnotmine #planetrainnonos

Keep the view to yourself. After you’ve taken 1,000 photos from THE best vantage, please step aside so others can do the same

Miss the moment. It sometimes seems as if we’re so busy taking pictures, Instagraming, Snapchatting, and Facebooking the moment, that we fail to live the moment and take it in. Capturing it in our minds and hearts.

Feel like you must stay with your family during a group tour. As long as the tour group stays together and you’re old enough to fend for yourself, it’s OK to NOT walk immediately next to your companions. Especially when it means running others over in tight spaces.

Talk when the tour guide is talking. Even if you’re not interested in what she’s talking about. Even if it’s in a language you don’t understand. She’ll get to your language eventually. In the meantime I can’t hear her talking in my language because you’re talking.

Stop as soon as you enter the train or metro. Keep moving in so others can enter.

Leave your ring and text tones turned on while riding the train for two hours. Yes, boy across the aisle. I know how popular you are now. After hearing the same “anticipate” text tone over 60 times in our two hours together, how could I have any doubts?

And my final piece of advice and one that truly requires its’ own blog post:

Keep your selfie stick to your selfie. Selfie stick, oh selfie stick. How you’ve given me post-worthy material. Lots of it. Selfie sticks require additional personal space. Sometimes it’s space I’m already occupying. And by the way, how many selfies do you really need? Certainly not one in every room of the royal palace. I have a organization for you to join: Narcissist Anonymous.


The concluding message is consistent with what etiquette is all about: Be other-centered. Be aware of others around you and the space you are sharing. We met so many wonderful people from all around the world. Most were very considerate. But when you’re a tourist long enough, you’re bound to run into individuals that think they’re the only ones. Don’t be that tourist.

Mind Your Manners and Happy Travels,




  1. You are making me not want to travel, Kelly! Haha! But seriously, this is one of the reasons I avoid large crowds:-)

    As someone who lives in a tourist (beach) town, I’d like to add a few “Oh No You Don’ts” for beach travelers:

    Please don’t feed the seagulls. I know you think it’s fun but they are flying all around me now and one of them is going to poop on my head!

    Please don’t smoke your cigarette or cigar upwind from me or anyone else.

    If you don’t know how to secure your umbrella in the sand, please leave it at home.

    I sound like a cranky old lady, don’t I? Honestly, I’d put up with all this and more just to enjoy the beauty of the beach any day. And I’m sure you feel the same about the amazing sights in Spain. But I can relate to your frustrations, Kelly!

    Oh – and I can’t wait to read your post on selfies!

    • Kelly

      Those are GREAT additions to the post Theresa! So funny: wait until you see the post I scheduled to share on Facebook for Wednesday – it’s all about beach etiquette! An article from a Delmarva paper..and what’s the FIRST beach etiquette tip they list? DON”T FEED THE SEAGULLS!

  2. Kelly, I hear ya, all the way! Many of your points are happening right here in my humble hometown. I had planned a post about excessively living through one’s device after viewing the July 4th fireworks over the water. Beautiful setting, awesome pyrotechnics and what do I see? Teens taking selfies and posting, snap chatting or whatever else. (Mostly teens/Tweens, but not to lay blame; tons of people did this.) missing the actual experience because they are do busy digitizing it.

    • Kelly

      A post on living our lives through our technology would be much appreciated by many Danielle! It’s sad to me that many miss out on appreciating so many of lives moments because they are busy trying to capture that moment on social media or their phones. I’m starting to sound old-fashion…or maybe just old! Thanks for reading and sharing your first-hand experience!

  3. I tell my children wherever we go we are ambassadors. Whether for our country, our state, city, family or selves. If we act poorly as Americans (Marylanders etc.), people base their entire opinion of whatever group we are from. Be respectful, be kind, and don’t expect the world to cater to your likes and dislikes. Travel is an adventure. Embrace it!

    • Kelly

      Lisa, well-said and an excellent additional perspective to the post. Thank you for sharing and reading!

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