As someone born in New York and living in Florida - I've become something of an unintentional expert on tourist tragedies. Tourists in both places end up making mistakes that leave locals beyond baffled.
Native New Yorkers will tell you that the lines for the major attractions are almost never worth it. (The view from the top of the Empire State Building isn't that good, guys. Try Top of the Rock instead!) And listen carefully ... just because Steve Irwin could cuddle with gators doesn't mean you can. Alligators are docile compared to crocodiles, sure - but they can and will - rip you apart. Don't try it. Don't encourage your kids to get closer for a better picture. Don't walk your foofy pets near the waters edge. Foofy looks like a taco to the local gators and everyone knows tacos are life.
Reddit user @prettyaccurate asked:
The answers left us laughing, kind of baffled, and definitely looking up whether Amazon sells sunscreen in bulk. Some entries have been edited for language (tourists who don't listen make locals really mad, you guys.) Bust out your pencils and take notes - these are important bits of knowledge.
Men In Silly Hats
People think the Royal Guard in London are just men in silly hats that are not allowed to move.
They're military men who will knock you the f*ck out if you mess with them.
Underestimating the size of the country. No you can't do a day trip to Cairns from Brisbane, it's like a 2 day drive. Even Sydney is like a 12 hour drive.
Actually, same with NZ. People think you can do the whole country in a week. Spoiler alert, you can't.
My Brother in law's family came from England to Florida for the first time. Then, they drove from south Florida to North Carolina.
For reference that's easily a 14 hour drive. The longest they had ever been in a car before was MAYBE 3 hours. I have never seen more miserable people in my life than when they arrived in NC.
Lol It's so true! I can't even count how many times I've had to explain that NYC is a 4 hour drive (through horrendous traffic if you're stupid enough to take 95) from Boston.
They trust taxi drivers.
Never trust one if you're in Greece, you're just asking to be overcharged. Stick to renting a car or at the very least, ask some locals for typical prices beforehand.
Norway Will Kill You, So Wear A JacketGiphy
Norway. Tourists arriving by Cruise ships, they bus to where the path to popular mountain treks begin, then they start out in sandals or high heels and wearing shorts and T shirts.
Most make it part of the way, and then local volunteer rescue services have to help them back down as they are cold and exhausted (we've even flown in Nepalese Sherpas to build stone steps up the hardest parts some places.) Some make it all the way up and by then it's dark and they get lost, and again we'll have to send out volunteer rescue crew or a rescue helicopter.
There are signs where the buses drop them off warning them to be dressed properly, and there are volunteers stationed there during high season actually telling them that they should not be doing the hike because of weather, or because of what they are wearing.
Here's what happens: Tourist arrives at the hotel and immediately runs out to "take a quick look at the beach." It takes 20 minutes to get a sunburn in Florida (ten for translucent squid people.) So they get a nice starter sunburn they can work on all week. Y'all need to put sunblock on as soon as the plane lands.
We also get a lot of fishing tourists (sports fishing in salt water is free here, and there are a lot of great places to fish). They will go out in groups of 5-7 people in a single small boat, they have no idea of the local weather or geography, and they tend to either fall in, get themselves completely lost, or hit a reef and start to take in water. They also tend to not be able to speak English or Norwegian so communication with rescue services are extremely difficult.
Drunk and Dressed In Orange
Backstory: It was a thing in the Netherlands that on the 30th of April we celebrated our queen Beatrix' birthday. It is printed in all tour guides in other countries. Her actual birthday is in January, but they celebrated in April because that was the birthday of our late queen Juliana (Beatrix' mother) - and also because the weather is better in April.
A few years ago Beatrix abdicated the crown and now we have a king. His actual birthday is on the 27th of April so now our 'Kingsday' is actually on the 27th, there's no celebration on the 30th anymore. This has not been amended yet in most tour guides across the border. So every year on the 30th we see tourists dressed in Orange, which is the color of our royal house. They are super drunk in the streets looking for the parties; but those were 3 days prior. And because most tourists only stay for a day or 2 there is no way for them to know.
New Zealand Sun Is Different
WEAR SUNSCREEN WHEN GOING TO NEW ZEALAND!
I have lived in New Zealand my whole life and holy f*ck the sun is strong. I burn so easily if I don't wear sunscreen. A family friend of mine who is from Australia came over here for a holiday once. We were all getting prepped for a beach day and my mum tells us to put on sunscreen. My family friend (who is very very tan) says, 'I don't burn, I'm good.'
My mum then questions him, telling him the New Zealand sun is different to the Australian sun. He says, 'It's actually hotter in Australia so yeah nah, I'll be fine."
My mum doesn't want to force this kid to put sunscreen on so she just lets it go and we all go to the beach. Fast forward to the end of the day and my family friend is burnt to an absolute crisp. Like he couldn't move. The worst sunburn I have ever seen. I've never seen someone use that much aloe vera before. Always remember to listen to the locals, they know what they're talking about.
The Sound of Hitler?
Austrian here. Tourists assume any of us have actually seen "The Sound of Music." I regret to inform you that most Austrians haven't even heard of it.
Don't do Hitler impressions, they can get you arrested or fined. (To be fair, tourists mostly do that over in Germany, but it's illegal there too.)
There were some Chinese tourists who all did Nazi salutes in front of government buildings, and they were surprised to be arrested.
Germany is a bit more lenient than Austria. In Austria you could get 1-10 years of prison for saying "Sieg Heil" or doing a Hitler salute. The law prohibits the deliberate belittlement of any Nazi atrocities.
German here. It's illegal and you will get arrested if the police see you doing it. Locals will absolutely punch you if the police don't see it. Hint: there's always a police presence near certain historical locations.
I spent my formative years in rural Mississippi. I have seen men in KKK uniforms marching in person.
The first time I saw footage from Spanish Easter celebrations, I was pretty freaked. It was a good lesson in fighting my own preconceptions.
Trying to use American money (it's Canada)... Common enough that it's often accepted in tourist areas but they usually get screwed because they'll take it at par
Buying the tiny overpriced bottles of maple syrup (go to a f*ckin' grocery store! Any one!) or paying the ridiculous price for fake "Native American sculptures" and other miscellaneous tourist schlock.
Expecting anyone to actually speak French outside of Quebec
I've heard stories of people who expect to go skiing in July or August but I'm not totally sure that isn't an urban legend
For visiting Croatia:
Please, please don't go mountain climbing in flip flops or ride a boat without consulting the local sailors. In certain coastal parts we get a wind called "bura" which can be strong enough to break down trees, carry off rooftops, smash your boat into the shore and give you hypothermia in mid summer. They pop up really suddenly, sometimes within a few hours.
The local mountain rescue has a Facebook page where they post status updates of every time they had to save a dumbass tourist that decided hiking without checking the wind, in flip flops and with no water in July is a bright idea. It's not.
Across The Rip
I live in Australia. Swim between the red and yellow flags. It's drilled into us from childhood for a reason. If you see people swimming outside the flags, you can assume they're either idiots or know what they're doing. If you decide to follow them, remember to swim across the rip, not against it.
Not That Kind Of TexasGiphy
Wear Cowboy Boots/Hats
I live in Dallas, Texas. This is a modern, big city. Not cattle country north Texas. Tourists stick out like a sore thumb.
Stepping and destroying the tulips that grow in the fields here in the Netherlands. It's down - right rude and disrespectful, and people just want likes and views on their social media!
Feeding the damn seagulls!
It's even funnier when tourists throw more food at the seagulls in an attempt to get rid of them, and they they look all confused as to why the seagulls are still coming for them.
Poor Doesn't Mean Trashy
Assuming that just because the country is poor and cheap, it would also have to be a completely barbaric sh!thole where they can act like animals and trim their f*cking toenails atop bar tables.
Homophobic Nuclear Bears
They think Russia is a savage land of drunk backwards fucks and they will be mauled by homophobic nuclear bears if they come here. So they don't...
I live in Bath in the UK. Nearly all of the year our town is swarmed by Chinese tourists who come from the Stonehenge buses because we have lots of beautiful Georgian architecture. Naturally they take photos of everything and don't give a sh!t about people's personal space or privacy.
Once, I was waking home from school and a tour group started taking photos of me! I guess it was because I'm the quintessential "English Schoolboy" in uniform. I'm not a tourist attraction. It was weird.