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How to not be an ugly tourist according to Rick StevesMy buddy and European travel guru Rick Steves recently penned a great article titled “The ugly tourist (and how not to be one).” In the article, he says, “You’ll see plenty of ugly tourists slogging through a sour Europe, mired in a swamp of complaints. Ugly tourism is a disease, but fortunately there is a cure: a change in attitude. The best over-the-counter medicine is a mirror.”

The article is spot-on if you ask me, and it’s worth the five-minute read. Much of what he discusses could be categorized as basic respect and decency, but everyone can benefit from a refresher. You don’t want to be an ugly tourist, and it’s important to remember that the attitude can be contagious—especially if you’re with a group of friends or family. All it takes is one bad apple. Hopefully, if you run into the behavior Steves talks about, you’ll have the power to stand up and put a stop to it.

Have you encountered an ugly tourist in your travels? Share your story in the comments below!

Related: Don’t Disrespect the Local Culture (Like These Guys Did)



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6 Comments On "How to Not Be an Ugly Tourist According to Rick Steves"
  1. Melanie|

    When traveling in Europe we were waiting in line for train tickets. Two Americans who had been on a flight that was running late were in line. They were going on a pilgrimage and impatient, loud and somewhat difficult. We let them go ahead of us because of their distress. Another woman in line urged them to remain calm. We got to chatting with this lady and come to find we were in the wrong line. We simply went to the right line with the help of the woman who urged calm. She was a private tour guide and she accompanied us to our train, stayed with us giving us a great deal of insight and helpful information for our trip. All of this because we simply went with the flow and didn’t fuss too much. The kindness of strangers is all around us.

  2. Marilyn B|

    We travel light, don’t own a selfie stick and don’t take selfies, take local transportation learn the local customs and try to engage with people, even if it is wait staff in restaurants and hotels. Been traveling this way for over 30 years. Even so, we’ve graduated to occasionally taking a European cruise and using points to stay in chain hotels, rather than local 3-4 star ones.

    However, the only comment I can make about Rick Steves is that he has strayed far, far from his roots when he started on PBS in the ’90s, preaching Europe through the back door, eschewing bus tours for local transportation, etc. Now the man runs a huge travel business, running bus tours for those American tourists who want to take them, and becoming quite successful in doing so. For many American tourists, he’s the only voice they listen to, going around with one of his guidebooks like a Bible to the place they are visiting. While his guides are useful, they are hardly the only tool for planning an enriching trip.

  3. Barbara Duran|

    In 2006 while in Paris at the Notre Dame Cathedral there was a line of 5 or 6 at the small souvenir counter inside the cathedral. An American woman became very impatient and very very loudly started complaining. I reminded her she was in a church and her response was “Well I am in a hurry” and kept on loudly complaining. I turned to the others that were there and said, ” I apologize most Americans are not rude and this is probably the first time she has left her city”. She left in a huff! I know what I said was not kind, but our behavior in foreign countries represents everyone in our country. My philosophy is if I can change just one persons mind about the “Ugly American” my trips are successful.

  4. Nancy Amols|

    I see many Americans behaving in a loud, raucous manner in restaurants; as if it was their private home. I have apologized to the staff on behalf of my country !

  5. Mary|

    Spot on…the most annoying are LOUD Americans…we stayed in Bayeux, FR while visiting Normandy beaches, Mt St Michel, etc and couldn’t help but notice that our restaurant seated ALL the Americans in one room eating together away from French patrons. We didn’t travel together, but there are many US tourists in that area…just thot it was funny! I told our travel companions I was sure it was because they consider us loud and high maintenance ? and they are right! We tend to dress with a little more thot and attention when we travel…we get treated much better in Europe when we don’t look like the typical sloppy American

  6. James|

    i am irritate with those people who come on trip to visit the place but they are just busy in taking selfies all the time and not enjoy the real happiness by see the beautiful places with their own eyes

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