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People Share The Most Ignorant Things Tourists Have Said About Their Country

Reddit user Jerswar asked: 'What's the most ignorant thing a tourist has said about your country?'

man taking picture of city street
Marc Kleen on Unsplash

When I was a child, my parents loved to travel by motor vehicle—car or RV—throughout North America.

My Father used to joke we traveled so much as a family because his tribe—Oglala Lakota—was nomadic while Mum's people—Kanien'kehá:ka, Haudenosaunee and Metís—were more sedentary. She'd just roll her eyes when he told us that.

My Father was in the United States Navy, so he also did some shore leaves in Asia and Oceania. One time, my Mother went to Hong Kong on a "wife flight" while he was on shore leave during the Vietnam War.

I'd love to visit Hong Kong, but Mum was not a fan.

Mum was born in New Brunswick, Canada and grew up on a dairy farm in rural Northern Maine. She enjoyed wide open spaces like the many national parks we visited.

Hong Kong was too crowded and closed-in—too many big buildings and too many people—for her. So, as a family, we stuck to the continental United States and Canada with a few trips to Mexican border cities.

So when I think of tourists being ignorant, I admit, the first thing that comes to mind is this...

Selfie Buffalo GIF by StoryfulGiphy

...which inevitably leads to this.

Yellowstone National Park GIFGiphy

Do not pet the fluffy cows, people!

As an adult, my former career in accounting and finance for the Defense Department required a considerable amount of travel. I went to Germany and Japan as well as numerous locations throughout the United States.

Oof... there's a reason for the ugly American stereotype.

The United States is a very large country by area—4th behind Russia, Canada and China—so maybe we could keep our craziness domestic until we've fully explored our own home. But for those determined to go Intercontinental, don't let this be you.

Reddit user Jerswar asked:

"What's the most ignorant thing a tourist has said about your country?"


"Was asked if we had electricity."

"Was told we don't have central heating in our houses."

"Was told 'I just love your queen'."

"I'm Irish."

~ Hot-Blueberry7888

Nope, Just Emu-Mail

"Was asked if we have telephones."

"I'm from Australia."

~ MsCurious_75

"Do we?"

"I’m typing this on my kangaroo."

~ radical_hectic

"Lucky. I only have a wombat, the reception is terrible..."

~ Gillbosaurus

"Well, the wires are run through didgeridoos. That’s why the voices echo."

~ MLiOne

"The invention of the Emunication Network was quite possibly the best invention in Australia's history."

~ XBakaTacoX

kangaroo and emu GIF by StoryfulGiphy

In Thailand, Thai Food Is Just Called Food

"In Thailand, tourists berating locals for eating Italian food because Thai food is 'so tasty'."

"B*tch, Thai people eat Thai food every day."

"Going out for Italian is like you going out for Thai food in your home country."

~ whatdoihia

Same Plans As July 4th

"I've been asked repeatedly what my plans for Thanksgiving are."

"I'm in England."

~ ExpectedBehaviour

"I'm Aussie and I've been asked by a few of my American friends about Thanksgiving plans too. They seem so confused and shocked that we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia."

"Why would we? You're American, you should know the significance and purpose of Thanksgiving. Obviously, nobody else celebrates a North American—USA and Canada—holiday."

~ DrMelanieJane

Queen Elizabeth IIDaily Mail/X

It's All Greek To Them

"More funny than offensive: 'Where's the Parthenon?'."

"About 800 miles that way."

"I'm in Rome, Italy."

~ RomeVacationTips

They Might Want To Map That Out

"'We’re here for a week, so we thought we’d drive out to the Grand Canyon, stop in Vegas, and then see the Golden Gate Bridge'."

"They landed on the east coast of the United States."

~ Lugbor

"This was a problem for UK indie bands touring America in the 80s. Their labels had no idea how big America is, so they’d book back-to-back shows in Seattle and San Francisco."

"That’s over 800 miles, between 12-16 hours by bus."

~ LocalInactivist

United States animation GIF by weinventyouGiphy

Just Use Lyft, Please

"Iceland subReddit regularly gets posts asking how to avoid paying parking tickets or speeding fines or asking if anything will happen if they leave the country without paying them."

"Then they never seem to understand why Iceland natives might be pissed tourists believe feeling like they don't need to pay tickets is a just reason to not pay them."

~ picnic-boy

Move It Or Lose It

"There were a couple of tourists who decided that it would be a good idea to stand directly in the path of the Queen's guard to take a selfie with them. Those guys don't stop for anyone, they will walk through you if they have to."

"I've seen so many videos of it happening online but I never thought I'd get to see it with my own eyes. Man, the look on their faces when they got yelled at to move out the way... it was like a weird mixture of terror and offence."

"Like they completely expected them to stop and pose or something."

"It always baffles me that people seem to forget that they are actual soldiers and not just some guys playing dress up for the sake of tourists."

~ FiercelyDidactic

"I saw some American kids climbing on a cannon at the Tower of London despite plenty of signs saying not to.

"Neither they nor their parents were expecting a Beefeater to march up to them and give them the bollocking of a lifetime delivered at a standard drill sergeant roar six inches from their faces."


~ ExpectedBehaviour

United Kingdom March GIF by GIPHY NewsGiphy

Temperature Control

"I was working in hotel reception on a Mexican beach and an American woman told me the water in the ocean was very hot then asked if I could do something."

"I thought, 'OK, maybe I didn't understand correctly...' so I asked 'can you speak slower?."

"She repeated the same question. So of course I did a Mayan dance and the water was colder afterwards."

~ pellojo

"I'd have taken a few ice cubes, thrown them in the ocean, then given her a smile and a thumbs up."

~ throwawayayaycaramba

What Language Do They Speak In England?

"'Everyone here speaks such good English!' said in London, England."

~ ExpectedBehaviour

"Well, it's not called Englishland, is it?"

~ Rush7en

GIF by CBCGiphy

2,851.8 miles (4,589.5 km) One Way

"My British friend said he didn’t want to visit me in Seattle unless he also had time to pop over to visit New York City while he's here in Seattle, Washington."

"Had to explain to him that’s like saying you can’t visit Dublin, Ireland if you can’t also make time for Istanbul, Turkey—except NYC is further away."

Dublin —> Istanbul 1,836.1 miles (2,954.90 km)

~ d_gorder

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

"I live in Hawaii and one time a tourist asked about turning the waterfalls off to clean them."

"I wish I was making this up."

~ Shoddy_Bus4679

Hawaii GIFGiphy


"When I was bartending in college I had an American woman insist Iceland was so safe because everyone here was carrying a gun at all times."

"Like she didn't just say it once, she kept contradicting and arguing with me after I told her Iceland has insanely strict gun laws compared to the USA."

"Iceland definitely does not allow everyone to open or conceal carry."

~ picnic-boy

Closed For The Season

"Alaskan tourists ask all kinds of dumb questions about how to see the northern lights, especially when they're planning a trip to Alaska in June when the sun literally never sets and therefore the sky doesn't get dark enough to see the Aurora Borealis."

"I've seen Alaska locals respond that the northern lights are turned off in the summer to replace the bulbs, and I absolutely believe that someone has accepted that answer without questioning it."

~ MasteringTheFlames

Northern Lights Astronomy GIFGiphy

We Do Take Canadian Tire Money, Though

"'Why can't I pay with American dollars in Canada? Canada is part of the US!!'."

"After explaining repeatedly that Canada is a whole different country, we have our own money, and that they can go exchange their currency a few blocks away, they just threw a bigger tantrum."

"After multiple curses and threats, they finally left."

"How can you be so dense as to think a different country is part of the US and uses US money? What do they teach in American schools‽‽"

~ Miwwies

Positively Loonie...

"Someone compared Canadian money to Monopoly money and then asked if we had Monopoly in Canada."

~ devlingrace444

"You can buy Canadian Monopoly from Canadian Tire with Canadian Tire money that is more like Monopoly money than Canadian money."

~ Bamres

"Americans always seem confused by Canadian money for some reason."

"An American tourist walked into my shop just the other day and asked 'Is this bill $20?'."

"Buddy, it says $20 on it in like FIFTEEN places."

~ Unsettleingpresence

Canadian Money GIF by Robert E BlackmonGiphy

While not every example was about American tourists, most were—which is just embarrassing and explains why when I traveled for the Defense Department they recommended I tell people I was Canadian.

They even suggested I wear a Canadian flag pin.

Seriously folks, there's lots to see in the United States.

Maybe practice being a good tourist right here at home before venturing across international borders.