Young man with backpack taking selfie portrait on a mountain - Smiling happy guy enjoying summer holidays at the beach - Millennial showing victory hands symbol to the camera - Youth and journey
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Tourists Behaving Badly Around the World

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Young man with backpack taking selfie portrait on a mountain - Smiling happy guy enjoying summer holidays at the beach - Millennial showing victory hands symbol to the camera - Youth and journey
Kar-Tr/istockphoto

No Boundaries

What is it about a vacation state of mind that leads some travelers to grossly misbehave while on foreign soil? Judging by these tourism-linked incidents — the most recent involving a tumble into a volcano — it’s clear that some people might be better off without a passport. But that's just the tip of the, err, volcano. We're anxiously awaiting the next tourist-related debacle, especially as California's Redwood National Park released a statement warning people from visiting Hyperion, the world's tallest living tree — being caught near the coast redwood could land you six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. We can practically hear the bullheaded thrill-seekers planning their "we can totally get away with it" crusade. In case you need a refresher on how to behave abroad and stateside too, these outrageous and overly entitled behaviors are the perfect guide of what not to do. 


Related: Amazing Tourist Attractions That No Longer Exist

Hiking trail on Vesuvius volcano, Italy
vencavolrab/istockphoto

Falling Into an Active Volcano

A U.S. tourist took a forbidden path and fell into the crater of Italy's Mount Vesuvius over the weekend. The 23-year-old needed to be rescued by emergency services, but only had minor injuries after losing his balance and falling several feet into the volcano that's best known for burying the city of Pompeii in 79 A.D. Paths safe for tourists are designated, but the man and his family were cited for following a path that was marked as dangerous and out of bounds. The name of the tourist hasn't been reported, but we'd like to think it was a situation of Joe versus the volcano.


Related: The Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in Human History

Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel by Antoine Taveneaux (CC BY-SA)

Jason Momoa Takes Pictures at the Sistine Chapel

The Vatican's Sistine Chapel is almost as well-known for its strict rules governing tourists — including those stating that visitors are not allowed to take pictures or videos inside — as it is its famed Michelangelo frescoes.  But apparently that rule doesn't apply to Aquaman. While in Rome for filming of the latest "Fast & Furious" installment, "Fast X," actor Jason Momoa posted pictures of himself and others posing beneath the chapel's famous ceiling. After the post erupted with outraged commenters, Momoa shared a (shirtless) workout apology video saying he meant no disrespect and explaining that he made a "nice donation to the church."


Related: Most Overlooked Travel Cities in America

Spanish Steps on the Piazza di Spagna in Rome.
JavenLin/istockphoto

Driving on a Landmark

A man from Saudi Arabia recently drove his rented Maserati down the Spanish Steps in Rome, damaging the one of the city's most famous landmarks. The man is facing charges for aggravated damage to cultural heritage and monuments after being caught by surveillance cameras zooming into a pedestrian zone, leaving the famous steps scratched and chipped. To add insult to injury, the landmark, featured in movies including "Roman Holiday" starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, underwent a two-year, $1.6 million renovation not even a decade ago.

Airplane landing at Phuket Thailand airport mirrored in terminal
Arkadiusz Warguła/istockphoto

Throwing Feces at Airport Staff

An alleged overdose of "sex drugs" including Viagra triggered New Yorker Steven Cho to walk nude around Thailand's Phuket International Airport, scream at airport staff, and throw feces at them. To his credit, the Daily Mail reported Cho to be contrite about the incident and agreeing to pay damages. He was also sent to a nearby hospital for medical checks and a routine psychiatric assessment.

Bangkok City, Thailand : 03/12/2020 : Unidentified people, Crowd of Thai wearing face mask for health due to Coronavirus Disease or covid-19 and air pollution in mass transit in public. Rush hour.
tampatra/istockphoto

Breaking Quarantine and Sparking a Country Wide Manhunt

No one wants to quarantine on holiday, but that’s the price of traveling during a pandemic. For Israeli tourist Ohad Baruch, the 29-year-old decided to break out of his Bangkok hotel on Dec. 18, 2021, after he was tested for COVID-19 and came up positive for the Delta variant. Instead of staying put, he “fled to Pattaya and then to a holiday island of Koh Samui before calling to turn himself in.” He faced charges for not abiding by Thailand's COVID-19 restrictions and a possible two-year prison sentence and a fine of 40,000 baht ($1,900).

Old Faithful Tourists, Yellowstone national park, USA
SL_Photography/istockphoto

Urinating into the Old Faithful Geyser

When you gotta go, you gotta go — at least that’s what a tourist decided to do in 2018 at the site of the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park. According to USA Today, he ignored a park ranger and was filmed “appearing to unzip his pants and stand over the steaming geyser's mouth.” Thankfully he wasn’t hurt, rangers refused to release the man’s identity or the charges pressed.

Entrance building at Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Poland
Gannet77/istockphoto

Making a Nazi Salute

This is not okay anywhere, much less at Auschwitz-Birkenau. A Dutch woman was reportedly arrested and fined after giving a Nazi salute. While she claims it was made as “only an ill-considered joke,” the police in Krakow, Poland, still issued her a fine. The gate where she took the photo is known as "Gate of Death." Auschwitz-Birkenau was Nazi Germany's largest concentration camp, and at least 1.1 million mostly Jewish men, women, and children were killed there. 

Ministry Zone, Naypyitaw, Myanmar
Ministry Zone, Naypyitaw, Myanmar by mohigan (CC BY-SA)

Flying a Drone Illegally

Drone owners take note: You can get arrested if you’re piloting a drone over restricted areas. Social media personality Logan Paul, who flew one over the Colosseum in Rome, will be able to attest to that, but not everyone gets off with a warning and their drone footage intact. For 27-year-old Arthur Desclaux, in 2019, he flew a drone over Myanmar’s parliament in the capital of Naypyidaw where, under Myanmar’s Aircraft Act, it is illegal to fly drones over government buildings in the capital and subject to a three-year prison sentence.

Climbers on the Brooklyn bridge cables, New York City, USA
Delpixart/istockphoto

Climbing the Brooklyn Bridge

French tourist Jonathon Souid was not the first person to scale the Brooklyn Bridge — but he did get arrested for his stunt in 2014. According to Pix11, he “climbed over a 4-foot fence and managed to get 20 feet up the northern-most Brooklyn Bridge cable before an NYPD officer spotted him.” To his credit, he complied with orders to get down but was still charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass.

Preah Khan temple, Angkor - Cambodia
gionnixxx/istockphoto

Getting Naked at a Religious Site

As a general rule of thumb, getting naked in public will probably land you in hot water unless you’re on a nudist beach. According to the Daily Mail, American tourists and sisters, Lindsey Kate Adams and Leslie Jan Adams were charged with trafficking porn and exposing sexual organs when they were caught taking partially nude photos at Preah Khan temple inside Cambodia's Angkor Wat grounds. They were deported to Thailand, banned from entering Cambodia for four years, and had to pay a $250 fine.

Golden poppy reserve
Rcview_cinematography/istockphoto

Trampling Across Wildflower Fields

California's super-bloom of wildflowers in 2019 saw a slew of ugly tourist incidents with hordes descending on areas like Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. The delicate plants ended up being crushed when visitors ventured off-trail or requested for their helicopter to land in the middle of the field crushing the flowers they flew in to see. The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve took to Twitter unimpressed: “Officers are watching for people illegally entering the park through barbed-wire fencing, trampling flowers. It only takes a few to wreck the habitat for years to come. There are areas in the Reserve that haven't recovered from trampling in 2017.” 

A Venetian Canal by the Trattoria Sempione, Venice Italy
zoroasto/istockphoto

Headbutting a Gondolier

Taking a selfie should be a fun thing, not an incident involving violence. According to the NY Post, a Venetian boatman stationed at Bareteri Bridge ended up literally butting heads with a group of tourists who wanted to take a selfie on his stationary gondola and got upset when they were told to disembark. The man ended up being headbutted four times and socked in the jaw for what was an entirely reasonable request. 

Flat lay top view image showing a passport, a boarding pass and a COVID-19 vaccination record card proving that the traveller is immune to COVID
Grandbrothers/istockphoto

Getting Arrested for Forging Vaccine Cards

Hawaii has had some of the strictest COVID rules, requiring visitors to be vaccinated, hold a negative test, or face a quarantine of up to 10-14 days. This did not sit well with some visitors, many of whom broke quarantine or falsified documents with a number of them getting arrested. Officially, violating COVID-19 mandates (including falsifying a vaccination card) is considered a misdemeanor that can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and up to a year in prison.

Gondolas on canal in Venice
sborisov/istockphoto

Skinny Dipping in a Venetian Canal

Venice may be a picturesque site, but its visitors can display some rather ugly behavior. In 2019, two “hardcore soccer fans” from the Czech Republic decided to strip down and go swimming in the canal near Piazza San Marco. They got off lightly with a fine of about $3,320 — but who knows what germs they picked up from Venice’s notoriously polluted waters. (The canal is supposedly cleaned once a decade).

Kauai, Hawaii
maximkabb/istockphoto

Assaulting Locals Over Face Masks

There was clearly no aloha spirit in the air when a New York visitor decided to assault a resident of Nanakuli in western Oahu when asked to wear a mask. “Your vacation is my home, I live here,” said the woman who was accosted. The incident occurred in 2021 while Hawaii’s mask mandate was still in force. 

Deceased Blue Whale
shaunl/istockphoto

Defacing a Dead Blue Whale

Is nothing sacred anymore? According to the Mirror, a 66-foot-long whale that washed up on a beach in Chile ended up being defaced with graffiti carved into its carcass. Beachgoers were apparently oblivious and heartless enough to take cheerful selfies with it, some even trampling on, and kicking it.

garbage left by tourists on a sand beach
alexeyrumyantsev/istockphoto

Family Dysfunction

What’s worse than individual tourists behaving badly? A family of them. It takes skills to get kicked out of a country, but that’s exactly what happened to an unruly Irish family visiting New Zealand. The offenses ran the gamut of stealing a Christmas tree, putting ants and strands of hair in their food to avoid paying the restaurant bill, leaving a mess at a beach, and stealing clothes and Red Bulls from a gas station. All in, they’re the type of tourists no country wants to welcome. 

Entrance of Luxor
Wilfredo Nieves/istockphoto

Defacing an Ancient Egyptian Temple

A 13-year-old tourist from Nanjing, China, scrawled "Ding Jinhao was here” alongside an Egyptian carving at the 3,500-year-old Luxor Temple in 2013. Suitably mortified, his parents issued an apology: "We want to apologize to the Egyptian people and to people who have paid attention to this case across China." The effects though were permanent and partially led to the Chinese government issuing a tourism law in October 2013 stating: “Tourists shall observe public order and respect social morality in tourism activities, respect local customs, cultural traditions, and religious beliefs, care for tourism resources, protect the ecological environment, and abide by the norms of civilized tourist behaviors.”

Art gallery
mmac72/istockphoto

Damaging Precious Art

In yet another selfie-related incident (we’re starting to see a trend here), a couple of Francisco Goya and Salvador Dalí art pieces in the Glavny Prospekt International Arts Center in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg were knocked off their stand as a group of women tried to take pictures. According to CNN, the frame and glass of the Goya piece were broken, while the Dalí artwork sustained damage to the picture, frame, and protective glass. 

Beautiful Peacock Perched on Branch
davemantel/istockphoto

Manhandling Precious Exotic Birds

Did anything really happen if you didn’t get a selfie? For two Chinese tourists, snagging a photo opp with peacocks at the Yunnan Wild Animal Park in Kunming was so important, they manhandled a pair of birds, plucking their vibrant feathers, stressing them and subsequently causing their untimely demise. While the park has free-roaming blue and white male and female peacocks, there are explicit instructions not to touch them, a warning that went unheeded.

Swiss Airport Zürich Kloten on a sunny winter day.
Michael Derrer Fuchs/istockphoto

Throwing Coins Into an Airplane Engine

Who needs a bird strike when you have passengers who mistake the airplane engine for the Trevi Fountain. In 2019, 28-year-old Lu Chao onboard Lucky Air from Anqing Tianzhushan Airport in eastern China decided to throw a handful of coins into the airplane engine for good luck. Thankfully the flight did not take off as all passengers were ordered off the plane. Lu ended up being detained for 10 days and fined $17,200 to make up for the damage.

Indonesia  Tourist Visa on Passport
Buladeviagens/istockphoto

Slapping an Immigration Officer

Traveling is stressful, but missing a flight is no excuse to slap an immigration officer doing his job. In 2019, British tourist ​​Auj-e Taqaddas was filmed shouting at an Indonesian immigration officer and slapping him across the face. According to Insider, she was delayed when he discovered she had overstayed her visa for 160 days and asked to pay 300,000 Indonesian rupiah ($21.40) for each day overstayed. She was subsequently found guilty of violence against a government official and sentenced to six months in prison. 

Graffiti in the Colosseum
ribeiroantonio/istockphoto

Carving One’s Initials Into the Colosseum

One of many incidents, in 2015 a pair of American tourists were caught carving their initials (J and N) on a brick wall at the historic structure. The pair were arrested and faced a fine for "aggravated damage," previous similar incidents saw a $21,685 fine slapped on a Russian tourist who was caught carving the letter “K” in a section of the Colosseum.

Wild Common Dolphin Mother & Calf
Redders48/istockphoto

Stressing a Baby Dolphin to Death

A beached baby dolphin in Mojácar, Spain, already stressed from becoming sick or separated from its mother, had a larger issue to deal with: tourists crowding around it for photos, some going so far as to pick it up and accidentally covering its blowhole. While the animal-protection group Equinac, a nonprofit organization, arrived within 15 minutes of being informed, the dolphin was found dead. For the record, the ​​NOAA Fisheries, advises a distance of at least 50 yards to be kept when viewing dolphins. 

Rena Bianca Beach, Sardinia
sestovic/istockphoto

Taking Sand Home Is Illegal

Did you know that taking sand from your beach holiday could land you in jail? In Sardinia, a 2017 law made the trade in sand, pebbles, and shells illegal and punishable with fines of up to $3,330. Clearly, two French tourists didn’t get the memo as they were found with 90 pounds of sand crammed in plastic bottles in the trunk of their car. For their efforts, they could face a jail term of “between one and six years for the crime of theft with the aggravating circumstance of having stolen an asset of public utility.”

Concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland.
Foremniakowski/istockphoto

Stealing 'Souvenirs'

This incident wasn’t your average grab a bunch of fridge magnets and do a runner type of theft, two Hungarian tourists decided to help themselves to some bricks as mementos from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. Charged with “theft of a cultural asset,” the pair were each fined $405 and handed a one-year prison sentence on probation, according to USA Today. They really should have stuck to the fridge magnets.

exploring beautiful Postojna cave slovenia the most visited european cave
I love takeing photos and i think that is a really great opportunity for me to share them/istockphoto

Destroying a 3,000 Year-Old Limestone Stalagmite

Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. In 2017, a Chinese tourist in southwest China deliberately destroyed a 20-inch stalagmite at a cave in the Guizhou province, according to the New Straits Times. It took him three kicks to knock off a 1-foot-long tip, a piece of the stalagmite that possibly took thousands of years to form from the ground up. ​​The man’s uncivilized behavior is not a one-off

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6971335/Chinese-tourists-smash-break-million-year-old-stalactite-taking-souvenirs.html

 with numerous reports of other stalagmites being broken off and damaged. 

Man in holy spring water temple in bali. The temple compound consists of a petirtaan or bathing structure, famous for its holy spring water
galitskaya/istockphoto

Misusing Holy Water

We all know how “Instagrammable” temples have become, but when visiting one, keep in mind it’s a place of worship and a level of respect should be observed. Two Czech Instagram influencers (Sabina Dolezalova and Zdenek Slouka) decided their time at Beji Temple in Ubud’s Monkey Forest in Indonesia was perfect for shooting content. According to People, a video showed Dolezalova and Slouka smiling and laughing in front of the fountain. Then, Dolezalova is shown bending over for Slouka to splash the holy water on her bare butt. Unsurprisingly, the duo faced intense backlash, prompting an apology and a voluntary contribution to the local village. 

Monument Mao and Chinese People(Beijing,China)
InnaFelker/istockphoto

Climbing Statues for a Photo Opp

Everyone has photos standing next to statues, so Li Wenchun decided to climb and sit atop a statue of a Red Army soldier in China and posted it on Weibo. Rather than upping his street clout, he was “blacklisted, condemned and forced to apologize to all who were angered by his stunt,” according to China Daily

https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/travel/2015-05/06/content_20637555.htm

All Egypt Pyramids Camels Line Walking Wide Angle
pius99/istockphoto

Climbing a Pyramid for a Sexy Photo

We have nothing against agoraphobia, but there is a time and place. Climbing 460 feet up the Great Pyramid of Giza and photographing oneself pretending to have sex at the top, that’s just bad taste and disrespectful all around. In 2018, Danish photographer Andreas Hvid decided this was totally his jam, and his antics prompted Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities to launch an investigation as access to the pyramids is closely monitored to preserve the ancient structures. In subsequent interviews, he sounded nonchalant about the incident but has said he’ll likely not travel back to Egypt where performing indecent acts in public can lead to a year in prison and monetary fines.

Wat Arun Temple at sunset in Bangkok, Thailand
wichianduangsri/istockphoto

Baring Your Derriere

Seven years in jail. That’s what U.S. citizens Joseph Dasilva and Travis Dasilva of Instagram account “Travelling Butts” could have faced for posing with their naked butts at the famous Wat Arun Buddhist temple in Bangkok in 2017. Luckily for them, the charges for breaching Thailand's strict Computer Crimes Act were thrown out, and they spent a week in a Bangkok jail before being promptly deported back to the U.S.