"I Still Cringe Thinking About It": 21 Of The Worst Travel Faux Pas Americans Have Committed In Other Countries That Left Locals Stunned

"I Still Cringe Thinking About It": 21 Of The Worst Travel Faux Pas Americans Have Committed In Other Countries That Left Locals Stunned

As an American who loves to travel, I'm definitely guilty of a few mistakes and personal cringeworthy moments that I'm sure made some locals snicker. I knew I couldn't be alone in this, so recently, I asked non-Americans of the BuzzFeed Community to share the travel blunders they've seen Americans commit, from the weird to the ignorant. I even did a deep dive on Reddit for more stories. Here's what they had to say.

1."In the Catacombs in Paris, someone literally picked up a human skull to pose for pictures with it. That's still someone's family member; show some respect."

Rows of human skulls and bones stacked in an underground ossuary, commonly known as the Catacombs of Paris, a historical site in France
Sue Bale / Getty Images

2."A woman off a yacht tied up in Chester, Nova Scotia, knocked her purse off a bar's table, and a gun rolled out of it and onto the floor. She claimed Canadian gun control laws didn't apply to her because she's American and protected by the Second Amendment."

—Anonymous, 70, Canada

3."This is something I did, and it's one of those things that haunts me to this day. I was in Spain for an international fireworks competition, and the streets were packed. I needed to pee and went into what looked like a restaurant with the doors wide open. I went past people at a table and downstairs to the bathroom. When I came back up, this man was yelling at me in Spanish, so I didn't understand, but they were very angry. Turns out, in Spain, it's not common to have a kitchen in your home, but families and friends rent a common one to cook together and share meals. So basically, I walked into someone's home while they were having dinner and used their bathroom. I still cringe thinking about it."

Two people prepare various vegetables in a kitchen, including carrots, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, and tomatoes, with bowls and cutting boards on a wooden countertop

—Abby, 36

Mixetto / Getty Images

4."I used to live in South Korea and trained new teachers from around the world. The Americans were always upset and almost appalled that in South Korea, they didn't accept USD at shops. The world doesn't revolve around your country and your currency."

—Candy, 49

5."A man, probably in his young 20s, was with a group of his friends on the train, and they were all drunk. He had this huge glass shaped like a boot, which I assume was full of beer he drank. After about 10 minutes on the train laughing with his friends (very American; the trains are usually quiet), he threw up in the glass boot. His friends were laughing and saying, 'I can't believe we get to experience this for free!' He then hoisted the boot in the air as if he had just won the FIFA World Cup with all his friends still laughing and cheering."

Four young adults, wearing casual clothing, laugh and chat while sitting on a train
Dann Tardif / Getty Images

6."In Amsterdam, I was waiting in a municipal building to get my license renewed when a young guy came in completely stoned, hollering, 'I wanna stay here, so just give me a Dutch passport! I’m an American!'"


7."I'm an American, but I was visiting England and touring the Tower of London. There was a cannon behind a rope with a 'Do not touch or climb' sign. This American woman lifted the rope and told her kid (maybe seven years old) to sit on the cannon so she could take a picture. The KID protested and told her the sign said no. The woman said she didn't care and ordered her kid to do it or she'd ground them."

Historic green cannons, aligned in a row, displayed outdoors against the Tower of London
Steve-goacher / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."I was in a tour group in Tajikistan, and we were inside a local's house. He had invited us in for tea and was telling us about his family and how many children they have, etc. The only American in the group piped up and asked, 'What contraception does your wife use? Does she use herbs or something?' Everyone was just aghast. He politely avoided the question, and then there was a long, awkward silence. And so she asked AGAIN! At that point, another tour member interjected and said, 'OK, I think it's time for us to leave; thanks for having us.'"


9."I used to work in a Canadian-themed restaurant in Paris when I was younger. The restaurant was popular with tourists, so we had a lot of American customers. At the time, I was hired because English is my first language, and I'm Canadian, too. One of the funniest things I remember was an American asking if we'd give him a Veterans discount. At a Canadian bar. In Paris."

A group of four friends cheers and celebrates at a bar while watching a sports game, one holding a flag. Drinks and snacks are on the bar counter in front of them

10."I was in the airport returning to Australia (where I'm from) in the middle of summer, and I saw a dad and his two children, all three wearing full winter coats. The dad said to the two of them, 'Try to stay warm; it's going to be cold outside.'"


11."Showing up to Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada to ski. In July. They were from Michigan."

Scenic view of Mont-Tremblant village with colorful rooftops, nestled among lush green hills and near a serene lake

—Mark, Canada

Hadimor / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12."I lived right next to the Oktoberfest area in Munich. On my way to the supermarket, I saw a man lying unconscious in the bushes, bleeding profusely from a gash in the head. We tried to rouse him with two neighbors and called emergency services. When he came to, he was clearly drunk out of his mind and disoriented. He tried to walk away, not able to even stand properly, and started to curse and threaten us when he realized we had called an ambulance."

"He even got violent with us. Yeah, I get it; that's a scary thing in the US because it means a massive amount of debt, but that's not the case here. Also, it can be a criminal offense here to simply abandon a person who clearly needs medical attention. We had no way of knowing whether he would just drop dead from alcohol poisoning or a concussion.

So, please: If you come to Munich only to get drunk, make sure you can handle your beer and get back to the hotel safely. For many locals, Oktoberfest is the most terrible time of the year, thanks to many, many similar experiences."

—Rosa, 34, Germany

13."I live in Norway, and 30 minutes from my house, there is this mountain called Pulpit Rock. It is the biggest tourist attraction nearby. It is not the most difficult trail, but still pretty steep, and every year, I would see American women struggling because they were wearing flip flops or high heels."

People stand and sit on the large, flat, cliff-top viewpoint of Preikestolen in Norway, overlooking a vast fjord landscape with mountains in the distance
Oleh_slobodeniuk / Getty Images

14."When my American friends were invited to join my family for dinner, my mom, who is a very proper individual and appreciates table manners, would always be mortified by the inability of my friends to use the various cutlery for the right dishes. She was mystified by how my friends stabbed at their food, holding their fork in the wrong hand. One day, one of my friends wandered into the kitchen and grabbed a drink from the fridge: a major mistake. He was never invited back."

—Werner, 57, France

15."In Australia, they shook a koala out of a tree at a wildlife park."

A koala is perched comfortably on a branch in a tree, surrounded by green leaves against a clear blue sky
Laura Howden / Getty Images/500px

16."I was working at a bar in Scotland. One night, there was a woman with her daughter, and she refused to pay with anything other than American cash. It was a super uncomfortable situation. I was trying to explain how stupid it all was while her daughter (who I think was living in Scotland) was trying to calm her down and pay, but the mother kept pulling her hand away from the card machine, saying, 'You people love our money; our money is more important than yours.' She kicked on for a solid five to 10 minutes, and her daughter ended up paying and leaving. Then she had a go at me for embarrassing her daughter and even left a review on Tripadvisor explaining the situation. She explained it perfectly and literally wrote herself as the bad guy in the review. It was mind-boggling how delusional she was."


17."When I came down from the Fuji summit after an eight-hour climb and four-hour descent with three layers of clothing to protect myself from the weather, an American with a selfie stick in a T-shirt and shorts asked me where Mount Fuji was. I told him we were on Mount Fuji; it's a big mountain/volcano. 'But where is the summit?' he asked, and I pointed to the summit and told him it's about eight hours that way. This guy thought he could just come in with his selfie stick, grab a few quick selfies on the summit, and return to Tokyo."

A stunning view of a snow-capped Mount Fuji under a partly cloudy sky
Doctoregg / Getty Images

18."It's not exactly disrespectful or inappropriate, but certainly weird. I met an American tourist who seemed very confused, so I walked up to her and asked her if I could help. She said yes and asked me how to get to the famous Alps and cuckoo clock workshops. I had to explain to her that she was in Sweden, not Switzerland."


19."I was at a lavender farm in the south of France a few years ago. Two coach loads of American tourists pulled up, and all got out on the standard 'you won't get long enough to really see this place' type tour. One lady very proudly stated that she was an expert on lavender and that this place was 'cute, but it's all fake; the lavender isn't the right color.' There were bees and other insects all over it, the whole farm smelled amazing, and a harvest was taking place! It was very real."

A vast field of blooming lavender is shown under a clear sky, showcasing a picturesque and tranquil travel destination
Fhm / Getty Images

20."They claimed that Ireland wasn't 'properly' Irish and that the only way to experience 'true' and 'traditional' Irish culture was to visit Boston."


21."I was at Disneyland in Japan, and an American tourist was standing behind us during the fireworks and castle show. He lit up a cigarette in the middle of the crowd where children were and then loudly complained that because Winnie the Pooh was singing in Japanese, it was 'fucked up' and 'ruined Pooh forever.' I also saw him punch a toddler's balloon because it was in his way."

Mickey Mouse interacts warmly with a crowd of smiling women at Disneyland Tokyo
Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP via Getty Images

What cringeworthy, inappropriate, or weird thing did you witness an American tourist doing in another country? Tell us about it in the comments below or fill out this anonymous form.