50 Dumbest Things Tourists Have Ever Done
The world is a breathtaking place full of wonders. Sadly, some people just don’t seem to appreciate it, even as they’re supposedly traveling to explore the beauty of planet Earth.
Some tourists decide to vandalize irreplaceable landmarks, or break things while pursuing the perfect selfie. Others are simply lacking brains and common sense when it comes to travel.
We’ve gathered the 50 dumbest things travelers have ever done. Be prepared to laugh and cry at the same time.
50. Standing in Line to Take Pictures With a Wall of Bubble Gum
Some places, like the Louvre, are worth a long line. A wall filled with used gum is not one of these places.
That hasn’t stopped tourists in Seattle, Washington, from spending long periods of time in line in order to take a selfie next to the germ-ridden wall. Or, worse, to add their own piece of gum to it. There are simply much better ways to spend your time in Seattle than in a dirty and overrated tourist trap.
49. Bothering the On-Duty English Guards
This isn't a dumb thing one tourist has done. Rather, it's a ridiculous tradition of every obnoxious tourist who visits London.
The famous Queen's Guard is an iconic symbol of England. They stand guard at the official places of residence of the British royal family. As could be expected, while on duty, they are expected to stand still or move in highly constrained marches. Tourists who haven't matured past the age of 5 take it as a challenge to make them react, doing their best to annoy them.
Harassing the Queen's Guard is illegal, and bullying someone while they're working is a childish, jerky thing to do.
48. Doing Acroyoga on a Plane
It's difficult to stay seated on a long flight. There's no denying it. But that doesn't mean doing a full acroyoga routine on a plane is a good idea.
For one, you never know when turbulence is going to happen. If you're unlucky enough to have it hit while you're doing your little bit, you or the people seated near you could get seriously hurt. There's also the fact that the carpet of planes is absolutely disgusting, so we would not recommend laying on it. Ever.
These attention-seeking yogis definitely deserve to be included in passenger shaming memes.
47. Getting Kicked Out of a Country for Being Unruly
There are annoying tourists, and then there are tourists so horrible they get kicked out of countries. This was the case for a British family of more than 10 members who were traveling — no, tormenting — New Zealand in 2019.
Multiple reports accused the family of being unruly, littering and threatening locals with physical harm. Rumors about them spread around Hamilton and Auckland (the cities they visited) so locals were absolutely over their visit and wanted them gone. When they caused issues at a Burger King, the country had had enough and decided to revoke their visas and give them 28 days to leave.
They reportedly left within a couple of days, much to the relief of locals, who would have dreaded another month with them in town.
46. Vandalizing The Little Mermaid’s Statue in Copenhagen
The statue of the Little Mermaid commemorates one of the most beloved fairytales in the world. It is located in a harbor in Copenhagen, as a tribute to the story's writer, Hans Christian Andersen, who was Danish.
But, for some reason, people really have a penchant for vandalizing the statue, painting it a number of colors over the years. This isn’t only dumb, it’s also woefully unoriginal and boring.
45. Climbing Up the Brooklyn Bridge to Get a Picture
Some people are willing to do anything to snap the perfect picture, even endangering themselves.
This is what a French tourist visiting New York did in 2014. While visiting the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, the man decided that to get the best shot, he needed to climb on one of the bridge's cables. We assume this horrified both pedestrians and drivers who had a little more sense than the so-called photographer.
Thankfully, no one was hurt, and he probably gave some bored commuters something to talk about when they got home.
44. Defacing an Ancient Egyptian Temple
People still think that writing their name on world treasures is cool. This is what prompted a Chinese teenager to ruin hieroglyphics in Luxor Temple, one of Egypt's greatest national treasures, in 2013.
Nobody noticed when he did it, and he returned home safe and sound. But his luck ran out when another Chinese tourist saw the scrawling and uploaded it to Weibo, a social media site. The internet did what it does best and found the culprit. He had written his name down on the hieroglyphics, so he kind of gave himself away.
While this is certainly a terrible thing, it did not rank higher because it was done by a 15-year-old. Since we all behave absurdly at that age, we'll give him some leeway.
42. Getting Stuck Inside a Suggestive Sculpture
A foreign exchange student from the U.S. thought it would be hilarious to go into a public sculpture in Germany that looks like female genitalia. Of course, he got stuck inside, unable to come out and had to be rescued by 22 firefighters.
It was definitely funny, but more for us and less for him.
41. Skinny Dipping in the Venice Canals
Venice is without a doubt one of the world's most beautiful cities, partly in thanks to its canals. But beauty does not always mean cleanliness, and that is certainly true of the famous canals, which are full of tires, petrol from the water taxis, and human and pigeon waste.
So why on Earth would anyone willingly swim here? We have no idea, but that's exactly what two Czech tourists did in 2019. The pair were fined more than $3,000 dollars while the rest of the world looked on in disgust at their lack of personal hygiene.
Disturbingly, this is not the first time tourists have jumped into the Venice canals on purpose.
40. Streaking in Barcelona, Sparking Protests
But despite having to deal with unruly visitors, Italians themselves can be dumb tourists. In 2014, three Italian tourists in Barcelona decided it would be hilarious to streak through the city. They spent about three hours walking around naked, much to the outrage of locals, who decided this was the proverbial straw that broke their back.
After the incident, over a hundred residents of the city went out to the streets to protest unruly tourist behavior. They demanded that the government do more to curve annoying tourists who treat the city like a playground and have no regard for those living there.
If you go to Barcelona, you'll likely see several anti-tourist graffiti all over the city. After finding out about incidents like this, we honestly can't blame them.
39. Defacing Several National Parks With Your Instagram Handle
Some people will really do anything for followers.
A so-called "artist" in America sparked nationwide outrage in 2014 when she started painting on protected sites in numerous U.S. national parks. The worst part was that she wrote her Instagram handle besides her random doodles.
One, don’t deface rock formations that are sometimes hundreds or thousands of years old. Two, if you do something illegal, don’t leave your social media footprint out there.
38. Leaving a Dog Inside Your Checked Baggage
In 2015, TSA agents at New York's LaGuardia Airport found a Chihuahua inside a checked bag. Once they tracked down the owner, she claimed that the dog must have climbed inside without her noticing.
We’re not completely sure we believe this, given that she’d have to close the bag herself and would’ve surely noticed a dog inside. Then again, Chihuahuas are tiny, and maybe she’s just an extremely messy packer.
37. Smuggling Pigeons in Your Pants
Even worse than the Chihuahua lady was a man who tried to smuggle pigeons into Australia from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. He taped the padded birds onto his legs and covered them with long pants.
This was in 2009, before full-body scans were a thing, so he actually made it to Australia without anyone noticing the live birds taped to his legs. He would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for meddling airport security.
36. Trying to Smuggle Someone in a Suitcase
Even worse than both Chihuahua lady and pigeon man is the guy who tried to bring his wife on a train inside a suitcase. This comical scenario doesn’t seem real, but it happened in Poland in 2015. Officials became suspicious of the man’s gigantic suitcase and asked him to open it, not expecting a woman in her 30s to pop out.
Allegedly, he was trying to smuggle his wife, who is Russian, into the European Union. But given that they were married, she could’ve just ridden on the train.
35. Pulling Out a Selfie Stick While on a Roller Coaster
People spend a lot of money on their dream Disney vacation. For some visitors in 2016, the dream was ruined by a genius who took out a selfie stick in the middle of a roller-coaster ride at Disney California Adventure.
The ride was immediately stopped, evacuated and shut down for two entire hours. That’s just not cool.
34. Pulling Out a Fake Sword in Front of Airport Security
We have to hand it to this guy for his sense of humor and originality. He was dressed like Zorro at Los Angeles International Airport for a reason no one can discern. Which seemed funny, until there was a false security alert and airport security found him suspicious.
When approached, "Zorro" reacted by taking out his plastic sword as if to fight off security. They did not share his sense of humor and subsequently arrested him.
33. Falling Asleep on a Conveyor Belt
We've all done dumb things while drunk, but some people take drunken foolishness to the extreme. In 2012, a 36-year-old Norwegian tourist got to Rome–Fiumicino International Airport completely blasted and apparently very tired.
He decided that he needed a nap no matter the cost, so he jumped over an unstaffed check-in counter and laid down on the conveyor belt. The man was deep into dream land when he was discovered by airport operators who oversee the checked baggage X-ray scanners.
Imagine their surprise when they saw a human silhouette instead of luggage on the screen.
32. Splashing Themselves With Holy Water at a Temple in Bali
Many people go to Bali, Indonesia, for its beautiful temples. But some of these people are there for the social media pictures and nothing else.
Such was the case of Czech fitness influencer couple Sabina Dolezalova and Zdenek Slouka, who visited the Beji Temple in 2019. During their excursion, the couple decided it would be funny to play around inappropriately with holy water. In a video the couple posted, Dolezalova lifts up her skirt while bending down and Slouka throws holy water on her private parts.
The internet, locals and the world at large was not pleased. The couple apologized, saying that they didn't know the temple or the water were holy. We want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but we don't understand how they wouldn't know, given that a temple is, by definition, a sacred place.
31. Getting Arrested for Stealing Sand From Italy
Apparently, a lot of people think sand is the coolest souvenir — so many people that it’s actually causing a problem in the Italian island of Sardinia.
In 2019, two French tourists fell in love with the island's sand and filled up 14 bottles with it to bring back home. Of course, they got arrested and fined. While they claimed to not know that their action was illegal, we really don’t see why you would need to import that much sand. This is not “Bram Stoker's Dracula.”
30. And Getting Arrested for Biting People
Magaluf is a party city in Spain on the island of Mallorca, which is close to the more famous party island of Ibiza. In July 2014, one British tourist took the party too far by consuming flakka, a drug nicknamed "cannibal" for its apparent effect of making people want to bite others.
The man then chased other tourists down the streets of Malaguf Beach, biting several people. After the police arrived, it took 10 officers to arrest him. He was then sedated by a doctor and brought to a hospital. Yikes!
29. Ruining an Ancient Dolmen Tomb With a 'Harry Potter' Symbol
There are few things that define millennials as much as "Harry Potter." The entire generation is obsessed with the magical story of a wizard boy. And while we love the franchise as much as anyone else, there are limits to standom.
In 2016, a "Harry Potter" fan decided to show their devotion by graffitiing the Deathly Hallows symbol and "always" — a reference to Severus Snape's eternal love for Lily Potter — on a dolmen tomb in Spain. The issue isn't just that they defaced a tomb, but that the tomb they chose is 4,000-years old.
Sadly, this isn't the last time you'll see people disrespecting tombs on here.
28. Stealing a Bust From Jim Morrison’s Grave
The iconic lead singer of the Doors is buried in Paris, France’s famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Fans of the rock band have thought that graffitiing and scribbling on his grave is the greatest tribute they can pay him.
We don’t agree, but no one has been as bad as one absolute jerk who decided to steal a bust of the singer from the grave. The situation got so bad, that Morrison's family — you know, the people who actually loved him — had to hire security to guard the grave.
27. Vandalizing a Sacred Native American Site
Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, Illinois, is home to stone formations that are a sacred place of gathering for indigenous tribes. So when a photo surfaced of two visitors drawing their initials on a 400-million-year-old formation, the rage was real.
Sadly, this isn't the first instance of jerky tourists defacing landmarks. And it won't be the last.
26. Cutting Off the Ear of an Easter Island Statue
Even worse than writing your name on a landmark is actually breaking it in order to take a piece of it home. This is exactly what happened in 2008 when an entitled Finnish man thought he was more important than the rest of humanity and decided to break part of an ear from a Moai, one of the famed ancient statues on Chile's Easter Island.
He was eventually caught, arrested and fined, but that doesn’t make up for the irreparable damage he caused.
25. Jumping Off a Cruise Ship Balcony for Social Media Fame
If your parents didn’t give you enough attention as a child, go to therapy, don’t engage in life-threatening stunts. Someone should’ve told this to a cruise passenger who thought it would be ha-larious to jump from the balcony of his 11th-floor room while the ship was docked in The Bahamas.
For those of you who don’t know, falling into water from such heights is extremely dangerous and potentially lethal. The man and his entire crew got kicked off the cruise and banned from Royal Caribbean for life.
24. Thinking You Can Smuggle Your Dogs Into Australia Because You're Famous
As a unique island with many endemic species, Australia is fiercely protective of its borders and has very strict biohazard laws. For this reason, any dog entering the country must be in quarantine for two weeks. This protects rabies from being brought in by foreign pooches.
Not that this deterred Amber Head, Johnny Depp's then-wife, from trying to bypass the laws in 2015. While visiting Depp as he was filming in Australia, the actress failed to declare two pet dogs, probably thinking customs wouldn't notice since she was traveling through private jet.
Not only did customs notice, but the stunt sparked nationwide outrage, with the government threatening to put the dogs down unless they were taken out of the country. Granted, that seems a bit extreme.
23. Using Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Geyser as a Laundromat
Before people start complaining about how dumb today's youth is, let’s take it back to way before washing machines existed. In the 19th century, explorers, soldiers and traders who were near Yellowstone did their laundry in Old Faithful, the national park’s most famous geyser.
They would throw their dirty clothes into the geyser and wait for it to erupt and throw out their clean clothes back to land. We’re sure many garments were ruined, but what we care about is the possible damage it could’ve made to the sensitive ecosystem of the park.
22. Peering Directly Into Old Faithful's Opening
Tourists doing things that are not too smart at Yellowstone seems to be a recurring theme, but the prize might go to two 2019 visitors. The pair decided to break rules that are there for people's safety and the protection of the ecosystem by trespassing and approaching Old Faithful.
But they didn't just ignore the barriers and get close to a geyser famous for spouting steam and boiling water up to the sky with the force of underground volcanic activity. They actually put their face right in the hole from which the geyser erupts. Even if you forget about the environment, this is simply self-preservation.
The tourists were charged with thermal trespassing and were hopefully banned from all national parks for life.
21. Vandalizing Stonehenge Stones
As one of England’s most iconic and oldest landmarks, Stonehenge attracts thousands of people during the summer and winter solstices. Unfortunately, many of these people think they’re at a music festival and behave like uncivilized douches.
The BBC reported that people have defecated close to the site, stuck chewing gum on the stones, graffitied and marked them, and even sprayed them with oil.
20. Committing Lewd Acts Atop the Great Pyramid of Giza
Some people really don’t get the basic concept of not posting their illegal activity online. Not even when that illegal activity involves one of the most famous landmarks in the world.
A Danish photographer thought he could get away with climbing the Great Pyramid of Giza and posting the video on YouTube. He also posted an image that looked like he and his companion were having sex on top of the pyramid. Needless to say, the Egyptian authorities and the general public were not amused.
The man claims he did not have sex on top of the pyramid, which would mean he photoshopped the racy image. Now, that’s just sad.
19. Dropping Down the Anchor During a Cruise
People tend to drink a lot on cruises, and sometimes, they don’t make the best decisions while intoxicated. In 2012, one man drunkenly dropped down the anchor on an MS Ryndam cruise from Mexico to Tampa, Florida, stopping the ship forcefully. He also stole a lifejacket, but when the panic started, he threw it overboard.
This caused people to think that someone had jumped overboard, prompting an even more serious emergency procedure. The man basically ruined the cruise for everyone else and endangered many, many lives.
18. Stealing a Relic From Pompeii
Pompeii is famously the site of one of the most horrifically tragic volcano eruptions in history. The ancient city was completely buried in ash when nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E. The most shocking part is that the ash calcified the bodies of its victims, making them statues during their last moments as they tried to escape. Needless to say, it's a solemn place that commands respect.
But by now we know some tourists respect nothing. In September 2014, two American tourists took a relic from Pompeii and tried to sneak it back home. Airport security caught them, and they were suitably charged.
17. Taking Nude Photos at a Thai Temple
There once was an Instagram account called “Traveling Butts.” Its whole purpose was for the two people who ran it to travel around the world taking pictures in the nude.
The problem wasn’t so much the pictures, but rather where they would take them. The pair often showed disregard for cultural sensitivities and disrespected places like Bangkok’s Wat Arun. Thailand was not happy with having people be nude in one of its most important temples, so it arrested them and banned them from ever coming back.
16. Deliberately Knocking Down a 3,000-Year-Old Stalagmite
Like dear Alfred said in Christopher Nolan’s "The Dark Knight," some people just want to see the world burn. Such was the case with a tourist who for absolutely no reason decided to kick a stalagmite down to the ground while visiting a cave in southwest China.
The stalagmite had been formed by the power of nature for over 3,000 years.
15. Throwing Trash Into Yellowstone’s Colorful Springs
Poor Yellowstone is back on here because of tourists who can’t appreciate the delicate nature of its beauty.
For hundreds of years, people have made it a habit to throw trash into the park’s iconic geysers. One particularly maligned one is Morning Glory, which received the name because of its deep blue color. Thanks to the coins, clothes, plastic trash and other garbage thrown into it, it is endangered, and its color has changed.
14. Stealing a Penguin ... Yes, a Penguin
We can all agree drunk tourists are the worst tourists, and two British travelers proved just how true this is when they stole a penguin from an Australian zoo in 2012.
The pair didn't take any old penguin. They took Dirk, a famous penguin at the Gold Coast SeaWorld. We normally wouldn't support anything SeaWorld does, but in this case, taking an animal endangers its life even more than being trapped in a cage does.
The men woke up with the penguin in their apartment the next day, and rather than own up to their behavior, they tried to release it in a canal. This could have easily led to Dirk's death, but thankfully, people saw them and reported them.
Dirk was brought back to the park, where his girlfriend Peaches was (we want to imagine) impatiently waiting for his return. Before kidnapping the aquatic bird, the tourists had jumped into the dolphin tank to swim with them and set off a fire extinguisher in the shark tank.
Australia hopes they never visit again.
13. Defacing the Colosseum
The Roman Colosseum is one of Italy's greatest treasures. But this isn’t enough to earn it the respect of tourists, who have made it a habit to treat it like a bathroom stall.
Several tourists have been arrested and fined for carving their name onto the landmark’s stones and some have even tried to steal a brick from it and keep it as a souvenir. Again, don’t be this selfish and ruin something that is meant to be enjoyed by all of humanity.
12. Leaving Trash in Mount Everest
For the great majority of human history, Mount Everest remained a peak that was impossible to reach. As the highest mountain in the world, people have been trying to climb it ever since Sir Edmund Hillary did so in 1953.
Today, the increasing number of people climbing the Himalayan summit often leave behind a mountain of trash. The result is that what was once one of the most pristine and untouched places on Earth is now a dump.
11. Posting Proof of Illegal Activity When You're Vanessa Hudgens
We've already established that leaving traces of your illegal activity online is a bad idea. But when you're a famous actress with 16 million followers, it's a real lack of common sense.
Former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens visited Sedona, Arizona, in 2016 with then-boyfriend Austin Butler. The pair thought it would be cute to scratch "Austin + Vanessa" on one of the state's famous (and protected) red rocks. The actor reportedly paid a $1,000 fine, which is really nothing compared to her estimated $16 million net worth.
And the carving will last much longer than the pair's relationship did.
10. Jumping From Hotel Balconies Into a Pool
Drunk tourists once again cause trouble in Malaguf by participating in a challenge that invites them to jump from their balconies onto a pool or onto another balcony.
And while it might sound like fun when you're drunk, balconing (as the trend is called) has resulted in serious injuries and death. The situation has gotten so bad that the island is planning on fining and kicking out any tourist who engages in this behavior.
9. Taking Train Selfies
Ruining things because of a selfie is one thing. Endangering your life for one is another.
Apparently, taking a selfie as you poke your head and body out of a moving train is actually a thing that a ton of people have done.
We hope we don’t need to explain why this is incredibly dumb and dangerous.
8. Climbing Up Onto an Airplane’s Wing
Quarantining because of COVID-19 gave many of us cabin fever. We get it. But that’s still no excuse for what a man at the Las Vegas airport did in December 2020.
After getting onto the tarmac, he managed to climb the wing of an airplane, causing general panic. Unsurprisingly, he eventually fell and was arrested.
7. Jumping Out of an Airplane When a Flight Is Delayed
2021 has not been a good year for unruly passengers either. This time, a man decided that he did not want to wait on the plane when his American Airlines flight out of Charlotte, North Carolina, was canceled after passengers had boarded.
His solution? He climbed over the people sitting at the emergency exit, opened the door and jumped out of the plane. He was arrested soon after and had to wait much longer to get home than if he had simply stayed seated.
6. Drunkenly Trashing One of Rome's Most Famous Fountains
Soccer can unite people like few other things on this planet can. But that's not always a good thing.
Ahead of a Europa League match in 2015, thousands of Dutch nationals came to Rome. Hundreds of them spent days vandalizing the city and forcing shopkeepers to close their shops. The worst thing that the drunken group of hooligans did was purposefully damage Piazza di Spagna's famous Fontana della Barcaccia, which dates back to 1627.
The group peed inside empty beer bottles and then hurled the bottles at the fountain. The damage was deemed irreparable.
5. Disrespecting Ground Zero
September 11th was one of the worst terrorist attacks that the United States has ever suffered. Ground Zero, a memorial to the almost 3,000 people who died was erected on the site where the World Trade Center had stood. The solemn memorial is of incredible importance to the country.
But in September 2012, just a few days ahead of the 11th anniversary of the attacks, complaints about general disrespect to the site were raised. People who had gone to pay respects to their loved ones saw visitors splashing themselves with water from the memorial waterfalls and sitting, eating and drinking on the plaques with the names of the victims.
4. Putting a Child Inside an 800-Year-Old Coffin ... and Cracking It
Why would anyone think it’s OK to place a child on top of something in a museum? It should be common sense, but just in case, let us spell it out: If something is in a museum, it’s valuable.
A couple in England thought that an 800-year-old coffin at the Prittlewell Priory Museum was so cool that they just had to get a picture of their kid inside it. The coffin broke in half and was ruined forever.
3. Preventing Sea Turtles From Laying Eggs for a Selfie
Seeing turtles hatch their eggs is an incredible wildlife experience many people want to have. But sometimes, these people simply don’t deserve to have it, as a large and uncontrollable crowd of tourists proved in Costa Rica.
In 2015, the rowdy crowd made their way to a protected beach just in time to see the turtles coming in from the sea. Instead of appreciating the moment, they got in the water, harassing the turtles so much that many of them went back to the sea without laying eggs. Sea turtles are an endangered species so this lack of consciousness strained the species even more.
2. Throwing Coins Into the Airplane Engine for Good Luck
If we've learned anything from Greek tragedies, it is that you might bring on misfortune by trying too hard to avoid it.
In 2017 in Anqing, China, a woman in her late 70s threw coins into the engine of her airplane for good luck. She thought this would keep it from having any accidents. Thankfully, people noticed and accidents were avoided, but her superstition could’ve easily led to every passenger's demise.
1. Stealing a Brick From Auschwitz
We can't believe we have to even write these words. Out of all the horrible things tourists have done, this might just be the absolute worst.
In 2018, two Hungarian tourists tried to steal a brick from Auschwitz, one of the worst Nazi concentration camps, where more than one million people perished. When they were caught, they explained that they wanted a souvenir.
Thankfully, they were charged and put on probation, but the insensitivity and utter disrespect of their actions shocked the world.