While in a new country, it's normal to be at least a little thrown off by cultural differences. What matters is being respectful and aware of the culture.
Some tourists just don't get the hint and blatantly disrespect the people and country they're visiting.
Tour guides from Reddit shared the story of the most ridiculous, obnoxious, and horrible tourists they've had the burden of dealing with. Their horror stories are so much worse than we could've expected.
All story was edited for clarity.
"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). We plainly told him that we are not bound to a DNR and if he passed out for any reason we would attempt to resuscitate per our safety training.
Pretty much all the divers are assuming this guy is going to kill himself down there by most likely spitting out his breathing device and going quietly into the night.
Dive happens, pretty much everyone is hawk-eyed on this guy. I see him go behind a large coral head and lay down in the sand and spit out his regulator. He is only at about 60 feet so I grab him and wrestle him to the surface.
He will not take my back-up regulator so I slam it against his mouth. We get to the surface and he is fighting me nonstop trying to pull all of his gear off. I throw a very hard punch to his jaw and knock him out. I'm actually trained to do this during dive rescues to keep the panicked person from killing me, too.
3 weeks later and he tries to sue my dive shop and myself personally."
"I used to be a whitewater rafting guide. There's a calmer section of the river people can, if they choose to, hop out and swim through. They are wearing life jackets so you can just float through it.
This woman decides she wants to try it and hops out. After she pops up she slowly tilts forward until just the back of her jacket is out of the water and she's completely still. After 5 or so seconds of this, I start to realize this might not be intentional and paddle over and physically pick her head up above the water followed by her gasping for air. I haul 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.'
I had two major questions in my head. Then why are you on a whitewater rafting trip? And why didn't your strategy involve moving your body?"
"I worked at a living history farm museum. I had a kid that was climbing on stuff the whole tour in the farm house and 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 hear his mom screaming and look over to the barn and this kid has climbed the fence into the field with our long horn oxen and is trying to poke them with a stick. I walk over and calmly told him to get out of the field before our lazy oxen decide they've had enough, but this idiot decides to look me in the eye and smack Ted on the rear with the stick like it's a riding crop.
Ted, bless him, just kinda jumps a little and whips his head around with a shocked look on his face. But seeing as he's a long horn, he just wipes this kid out with one of his horns when he turned his head. Kid goes flying into the dirt and is having a meltdown. Mom is freaking out. I'm like, 'Kid, get the heck out of the pen before Ted actually gets mad.'
So this kid is crying and trying to climb the fence out of the field and Bill, who has been watching this whole thing, waits until the kid is almost over the fence and walks up to him and nudges him in the bum with his nose and pushes him off the top of the fence. It took everything in me to keep from laughing.
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. So 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. But the oxen got some extra grain that night, so I guess they won in the end."
"I work at a brewery tap room 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 but nobody was laughing) 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/damage his brain.
He then proceeded to grab the pipe and take a breath. He was then ejected and barred. Some people are just beyond belief."
"I work with a dude who tells everyone the story of when he did coke while walking around Auschwitz.
I’ve probably heard him tell 25 people or so the same story and every person kind of looks at him like he’s an absolute piece of garbage and then they try and change the subject.
To this day I don’t think he understands why everyone sees it as horrible and unforgivable."
"I was on a tour of Namibia and had a Zimbabwean guide who was telling us his craziest stories.
He had a couple on their honeymoon who were on one of his trips. One night, everyone is sitting around the fire and chatting (just as we were) and this couple gets up to go to the bathroom. This is a campsite so they walk off into the darkness toward the toilets.
A few minutes later the guy runs back alone, crying and panicking. Everyone asks him what happened.
'I think my wife was killed by a lion' he said. Gasp, shock. Everyone is freaked out, asking him what happened, and as he's trying to explain, the now-irate wife walks up to the campsite and starts 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 freaks out, pushes his wife toward the noise and down to the ground, screams, and runs away. Spoiler alert, it was not a lion and the wife was not pleased at 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. Hilarious.
Moral of the story—don't shove your wife into the ground if you think there is a hungry lion in the underbrush just to save yourself."
"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.).
Everyday it was a constant effort to remind people (especially kids) NOT to jump on the beds, not to slam doors open, not to punch every button like it owes them money.
The absolute worst was a group of kids on a school trip. Within the first ten minutes we're walking through the tech portion of the exhibit, where we had a wall lined with Burroughs large systems machines, all behind this little fence about waist-high. I turn to demonstrate some of the pieces, and when I look 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 when their teacher did just that. She jumped the barrier, smacked the kid's hands and took him outside. I immediately ended the tour and had them all refunded, as I couldn't imagine what else could happen."
"During my summers in college, I worked as a raft guide on a whitewater river in the southeast. It wasn’t a difficult job; the two biggest things we were responsible for were running our trips in a timely manner and ensuring that the guests in our boat had a fun and SAFE trip down the river.
The safety part is important, because people visiting the river frequently forget that it is a natural wilderness feature and carries all of the associated dangers. We frequently received questions about whether the rafts were on tracks, whether I actually had to do anything in the back, and (my personal favorite) whether the river went in a circle and we would end up back where we started. This last question was particularly funny because we TOOK A BUS from the rafting outpost to the put-in of the river—why bother if we were going in a circle?!
One summer afternoon, I had a boat with three groups of two people; one of those groups was a mother and son. The mother seemed nice, if timid, as did the son. However, as I was going through the routine of explaining the safety concerns and paddle commands, it started to dawn on me that he was not very bright. There was nothing wrong with him—he was just dumb. Really dumb.
Once we were on the river, he almost immediately developed a habit of checking the depth of the water with his paddle. He would incessantly plunge the blade into the water without care nor concern for his surroundings and circumstances. The water on this river is pristine. Almost crystal clear. The riverbed is visible almost constantly, and still, this young man felt the need to verify the veracity of his own eyeballs by shoving his paddle into the river like some sort of deranged perpetual motion machine.
Of course, I warned him against his actions. At first, my concerns were that his depth-checking interferes with his ability to follow my commands and paddle. Eventually, however, my pleading grew more desperate as it dawned on me that this child paid no deference to my authority.
He answered only to chaos.
It finally came to a head when, in a portion of the river that was extremely shallow (probably no more than a foot deep), he plunged his paddle into the riverbed with a force that shook the surrounding countryside. Like Excalibur, the paddle wedged itself among the rocks, perfectly erect. The boy, with a staid iron grip that could only be wielded by someone incredibly dense, kept his hand on the paddle as the rushing water carried us away from its new location. In one swift motion, he was wrenched from the raft and landed in a foot of water. He wore a face of bewildered idiocy.
It was quite satisfying to keep his paddle in the back with me for the remainder of the trip after I returned him safely to the raft. All he could do was stare wistfully at the riverbed, his poo brain longing to verify its depth."
"My cousin is a tourist guide and biologist, most of his tours are in Africa.
He instructed his group of 20-25 people including kids not to 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 is very important because 20-25 people make a lot of noise which makes wild animals run away or hide. It's even worse if they're wearing shiny stuff they can spot people from far away.
This woman complains and decides to wear shiny earrings anyway. Her cousin tells her to get rid of them or she isn't coming with the group, so she obeys but puts them back on a bit later.
Some species of monkeys in that area LOVE shiny stuff. They ripped the earrings right from her ears."
"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 then, 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 gives 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 age 17."
"On an open topped tour bus in London, a woman tries to dangle her toddler over the railing, then starts saying she's going to complain to my manager when I told her to stop.
I caught her doing it again and company policy said that anyone endangering their kids like that was to be removed from the tour, so the driver had to come up and march her off. She still insisted she did nothing wrong. She literally had the kid's feet on the side rail of the (moving) bus and was just holding him loosely round the waist. One low hanging tree branch, of which there were many on the route, and that kid was gone."
"We were on a tour through streets and parks and made it really clear that the toilets at the beginning of the tour are the only ones for the first 90 minutes of tour.
We get to a park about 30 mins into the tour. Not a big park mind you, it is basically a big roundabout with a swing set, bench and two trees. I'm in the middle of my spiel in the park when I see a guy at the back of the group step away, pull his pants down and squat on the grass.
Of course I was stunned and lost my flow which had everyone looking around only to recoil in horror as this guy drops a log like it was nothing. He wasn't even ashamed."
"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, tourists go first, guide goes last as per the rules.
I always warn the tourists that the other side is the territory of a Hanuman langur and can be aggressive, so to keep your distance. He doesn't attack people out of nowhere, but he likes showing his teeth and screaming, which scares tourists.
Anyway, one tour I get to the other side of the bridge, and a tourist got bitten. He says a monkey just bit him out of nowhere. Asked the other tourists, no he tried to pet the Hanuman.
The moron got what he deserved."
"I used to give 'Naturalist Boat Trips' through a coastal area in Florida. It moves very slowly, and you get see dolphins, learn history, see lots of birds and learn about them, horseshoe crabs, island ecology, the whole nine yards.
I would usually start as we left the dock by talking about some of the small commercial fishing boats there and how they worked. Then, on to the history of the area. By this time people would typically be asking questions.
One nice young couple said... nothing. Other than saying hello when they got on the boat—and they were the only ones on the boat—they said... NOTHING. I had no idea what to do. Did they hate it? Did they love it? Should I keep talking? Should I shut up? I was sweating bullets.
So I more or less talked for the first hour (not constantly, but some) and for the second hour, I didn't say a word. I figured if they wanted to say something or ask a question, they would. The only sound for that last hour was the low hum of the boat engine and the occasional loud bird.
At the dock, they thanked me, gave me a tip, and walked away. To this day, I still can't figure out what was going on, but it was my most memorable time as a guide."
"My best friend was a tour guide on an island off the Australian coast. He saw someone of the tour ignore the huge signs warning people not to go to the edge of the water.
Predictably the tourist gets hit by a huge wave and was swept out to sea.
I know it was the worst thing the tour guide ever saw because he and my best friend both went into the sea to rescue the tourist. And they both died.
The tourist who caused it all? Predictably he survived. Pretty sure he doesn't feel too good about the whole thing.
My best friend was the funniest guy I ever met. I miss him most days."
"I'm in the middle of talking and someone's phone rings. That happens sometimes, and usually they'd just cancel the call or step outside.
Nope, this guy answers the call and starts talking on the phone, only a few meters from where I'm standing. I think, Oh he'll just quickly explain he's busy and end the call.
Nope! He starts a full blown conversation. The rest of the group glare at him and I'm put in an awkward position because my workplace put a huge emphasis on politeness. So I suggest 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,' and went back to his phone conversation.
I'm doing my best to talk to the rest of the group (about 25 people), but he's so loud! Eventually this woman yells across the room at him 'Shut up, we want to listen to the lady, not you' which worked. But I just couldn't imagine the nerve to ruin everyone's experience like that, all because you're too selfish to talk on the phone outside.
Also, the place I worked allowed photos but had a strict 'no photos of the staff' rule for privacy reasons. I always explained this at the start and 99% of people were cool. One day I had a particularly happy snapper who got right up in a staff members face to take a photo, like I'm taking centimeters from his face to take a photo.
The staffer was just some random middle aged white dude, so I'm not sure why the fascination, but he was livid. It's like I saw it happen in slow motion so couldn't do anything to stop it. That guy was removed from the tour."
"After being in the industry for a while, you get pretty good at stopping tourists from doing too much damage. You get a spidey sense for when people are going to do dumb things and can often steer them away from doing anything too bad. That being said, here's one of my favorite stories to tell.
I was 7 months pregnant and it was the week before I went on maternity leave. I was driving out to one of our sites and to get there I had to drive (on the road of course) through our penguin colony. This particular species of penguin burrows underground and stays hidden in their burrow during the day, and comes out at night when birds of prey and other potential predators have gone to sleep.
As I'm driving out to the site, I realize the parking lot up ahead is full and people have started parking up and down the road. And that's when I see a giant SUV pull off the road, drive between the bollards and into the penguin colony. I pull over as what seems like 20 non-English speaking tourists start to pile out of the vehicle and take selfies with the ocean backdrop. Staying as calm as possible and using sign language I point out the 'no entry' signs of the bollards they drove past, the burrows they have just collapsed, inform them they may have killed penguins, and to get their vehicle out of the colony.
Once I got them out of there I started digging out the collapsed burrows to check for penguins. The first four were luckily empty but the last one had a breeding pair. I get the girl out, check her over for injuries, and having no where else to put her I follow protocol and tuck her under my left arm against my side. I get the boy out and put him in the same position on the right side and start to check him over. Remember how I said I was pregnant? Well normally, you hold a penguin down low almost on your hip, but because of my round tummy I was holding him more at the bottom of my ribcage. So when I turned my head to start my health check, the boy reached up and grabbed my top lip with his beak and ripped straight through the middle.
It was about this time that the tourists walking along the road realized this ranger was holding onto two penguins. I had five or six tourists sprint through the colony toward me and start snapping pictures. While at the same time potentially collapsing more burrows.
Happy ending, I chased away the photographers, popped the two uninjured penguins in a nearby unoccupied burrow, and radioed for back up to help with the parking situation. My lip healed without a scar, and both penguins left the following morning for a well-deserved day in the ocean.
Signage is there for a reason. Rules are there for a reason. If you don't know what the reason is, doesn't mean you should break the rules."