Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023

Post originally Published January 1, 2024 || Last Updated January 2, 2024

See how everyone can now afford to fly Business Class and book 5 Star Hotels with Mighty Travels Premium! Get started for free.

Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - Selfie Stick Swarm

The Selfie Stick Swarm are those groups of tourists that descend upon famous landmarks and attractions armed with selfie sticks, trying to capture that perfect shot for the 'gram. While selfies themselves aren't inherently bad, it's the swarm of selfie stick wielders that tend to rub fellow travelers the wrong way.

At popular destinations like the Eiffel Tower, Trevi Fountain, or Christ the Redeemer statue, you'll often find dozens of tourists jostling for space as they try to get the money shot. This can make it nearly impossible for others to enjoy or photograph the site. The constant selfie posing also leads to bottlenecking as other visitors attempt to navigate around the chaos.

What's worse, selfie swarmers tend to have little regard for their surroundings or others trying to appreciate the landmark. They'll thoughtlessly block walkways or building entrances, bump into others, and ignore signs or ropes meant to control crowd flow. Their focus lies solely on getting themselves in the frame with their selfie stick fully extended overhead.
While this behavior may stem from ignorance or cultural differences, it breeds frustration and takes away from the experience. As one disgruntled traveler noted after visiting the Louvre, "Rather than gazing in awe at the Mona Lisa, I just remember dodging selfie sticks left and right."

Sadly, some swarmers even put themselves in danger for the sake of selfies. In 2018, a tourist fell to her death at the Cliffs of Moher after stepping over a barrier to pose with her selfie stick. And at Yellowstone National Park, visitors routinely venture off designated boardwalks, risking injury or death from thermal features just to grab a unique selfie.

What else is in this post?

  1. Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - Selfie Stick Swarm
  2. Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - The Complainers
  3. Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - Chair Hogs
  4. Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - Walking Tour-texters
  5. Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - Insta Influenzas
  6. Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - Loud Talkers
  7. Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - The Overpackers

Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - The Complainers

We’ve all encountered them – the travelers who do nothing but complain. This tiresome tourist tribe can put a serious damper on any vacation or trip. From the moment they arrive, The Complainers make their dissatisfaction known to anyone within earshot. And their gripes cover everything under the sun.
The hotel room is too small, too hot, too noisy, or not up to their standards. The view is terrible and not what was pictured. The complimentary breakfast doesn’t offer enough options and the coffee is weak. The front desk staff aren’t friendly or accommodating enough. And on and on it goes.
Once out exploring the destination itself, The Complainers continue voicing their displeasure. They bemoan long lines, crowded attractions, expensive food, uncomfortable transportation, and so much more. Every experience is picked apart and judged as awful. They even complain about the weather if it's not perfect.

Fellow travelers quickly learn to avoid these Debbie Downers whenever possible. But on group tours or excursions, others are forced to listen as The Complainers endlessly criticize. They seem oblivious to (or simply don’t care about) dampening the mood. As one frustrated traveler recalled of a recent trip, “This one woman complained nonstop about everything from the bus being bumpy to the city being too hot. I wanted to tell her to just go home if she hated it that much!”

So what drives this dreary tribe to fixate on the negatives? Experts point to a few explanations. Some Complainers simply have unrealistic expectations fed by idyllic marketing images. So when the reality proves different, they feel misled and cheated.

Others are determined to find fault in even the best experiences. These chronic complainers likely do the same at home. Travel simply provides fresh fodder for their griping. Still other Complainers may use criticism as a misguided way of bonding. But whatever the underlying cause, their penchant for picking things apart sours travel for everyone else.

Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - Chair Hogs

Nothing torpedoes a dreamy beach vacation quite like Chair Hogs. You know the type – tourists who “claim” prime seating around the pool or beach by tossing towels, magazines, and other personal items on chairs before commandeering them for hours.

This territorial tribe quickly grinds gears with their blatant disregard for sharing public space or following pool chair etiquette. And good luck finding an empty seat during peak times, as Chair Hogs gobble up rows of loungers. They’ll even leave belongings on vacant chairs to deter “seat stealers” while they take a dip or grab a drink.

Worse, some brazen Chair Hogs will get confrontational when you nicely ask to use one of “their” chairs. As one exasperated traveler shared, “I politely asked a woman if my kids could use two empty chairs she was blocking with bags and books. She snapped that she was ‘using them’ and that we should find another spot!" Absurd.
So what’s behind this pool hog wild behavior? Hotel insiders point to a perceived first come, first served system. Early rising Chair Hogs stake out the prime pool seating to enjoy sunlight, proximity to amenities like food service, and optimal people watching. They feel entitled to these perks after sacrificing sleep. Never mind that others visiting later deserve a shot at scoring a chair.

Resorts try deterring Chair Hogs by enforcing pool chair policies, removing unoccupied items, or charging rental fees. But crafty hogs found loopholes, like having companions “hold” chairs or waiting until staff looks away before reclaiming loungers. Attempts to reserve chairs with towels, books, or bags continue.

Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - Walking Tour-texters

Nothing elicits more eyerolls than the distraction of Walking Tour-texters. You’ve surely encountered this rude tourist tribe before. They’re glued to their phones during walking tours, audioguide in one ear and eyes fixed downward while tapping and swiping away. Oblivious to their surroundings, they bump into other guests and stray from the group as they text and scroll. Tour guides repeatedly have to coral them to keep the tour moving.

Yet the Walking Tour-texters remain lost in their own little worlds, perusing social feeds rather than soaking up the incredible sights right in front of them. As one irritated traveler recalled after a tour of Venice’s St. Mark’s Square, “These two young women spent the entire time taking selfies and texting friends. They barely glanced at the breathtaking architecture and details our guide pointed out.” What a wasted opportunity!

Some text addicts even disrupt tours by loudly narrating messages and photos to friends mid-tour. As if fellow guests want to hear about Becky’s boyfriend drama or see endless selfies. This distracting behavior leads many travelers to deliberately avoid tour-texters or request placement apart from them in groups.

So what drives Walking Tour-texters to be so disengaged from their pricy tours? Expert psychologists chalk it up to some key factors. For many younger texters, being constantly connected online is an ingrained habit tough to break – even temporarily for tours. The ping of a new text or other notification triggers an irresistible urge to check their device.

For other tour-texters, focusing on social media provides a distraction from travel anxieties stemming from language barriers, unfamiliar settings, or intercultural unease. Appearing active on Instagram or Snapchat brings a sense of comfort. Still other text addicts simply suffer from poor attention spans exacerbated by heavy technology use. They struggle maintaining interest regardless of the fascinating tour content.
Guide companies try addressing the texting epidemic through tour ground rules banning phone use unless absolutely necessary. Violators receive a warning or risk being banned from future tours if distraction persists. But sneaky texters still try ducking under umbrellas or lagging behind to use phones. As one frustrated guide explained, “We do our best to set phone expectations upfront, but some tourists just can’t unplug for even an hour.”

Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - Insta Influenzas

The rise of social media influencers has spawned a new brand of irritating tourist - the Insta Influenza. You can spot these narcissistic content creators from a mile away thanks to their incessant photoshoots and blatant disrespect for decorum.

Armed with selfie sticks and professional photography gear, Insta Influenzas descend on popular sites not to appreciate their beauty, but to exploit them as backdrops. They’ll thoughtlessly block walkways, disrupt crowds, and ignore marked boundaries in pursuit of dramatic poses and artsy shots for the ‘gram. Historic architecture, sacred spaces, and delicate ecosystems all become mere scenery for pumping out content.
As one bystander who visited Antelope Canyon shared, “These two young women held up the entire tour for at least 20 minutes, repeatedly setting up tripods to photograph each other striking exaggerated poses under the beams of light. They seemed oblivious to blocking everyone’s view or the guides’ timetable.”

Worse still, some brazen influencers promote prohibited or dangerous behaviors to up their edge. Visitors have strived for the perfect skyline shot by scaling off-limits architecture, dangled legs over steep ledges, and ventured past barricades into hazardous areas. Their disregard for rules or safety risks harming themselves and landmarks.

What fuels such self-centered content chasing? For influencers, traveling offers a bounty of exotic backdrops to spice up grids. While regular tourists may post a few casual vacation pics, these influencers create full-on photoshoots around every activity. Photos get professionally edited before being blasted across social platforms to plug sponsorship deals, grow followings, and fund flashy lifestyles.

Standing out among the masses requires producing unique and buzz-worthy content. But this competitive mentality leaves little room for showing basic respect. As one tour guide frustration expressed, "They act like the site is just some Instagram wallpaper rather than a sacred spot requiring reverence."

Fed-up destinations now even post signs asking influencers to refrain from disruptive photoshoots. But the allure of travel content remains strong. Says psychologist Dr. Allen Leung, “These influencers are addicted to the instant gratification and validation from social media praise. They’ll continue prioritizing content over appropriate conduct."

Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - Loud Talkers

Nothing spoils the ambience of a quaint cafe or peaceful park faster than the Loud Talkers. These boisterous tourists seem incapable of using their indoor voices, much to the annoyance of those around them.

In restaurants, you’ll find the Loud Talkers yammering away and cackling as they recap their travel adventures at max volume. Fellow diners struggle to converse over the steady din. Requests to quiet down are met with eye rolls or exaggerated shushing that lasts mere seconds before the audible onslaught resumes.

At historical sites and museums, Loud Talkers blather to their companions about exhibits, oblivious to disruption. As one irritated visitor to the Louvre shared, “There was a group of middle aged women who kept up a constant loud commentary on every painting we passed. No one could appreciate the art in peace.”

Even on walking tours, city streets, or public transport, the Loud Talkers can’t resist booming narration. They trumpet every detail of their itinerary, lodgings, meals, and more without regard for those in earshot. Says one exhausted traveler, “I felt bad for our tour guide because these two ladies in front kept interrupting him to excitedly interject at full volume about what they’d seen or done.”

So what motivates this volume-challenged tribe? Travel psychologists point to cultural factors as a key driver. Some nationalities and regions simply engage in more boisterous communication styles. Restraining voice levels can prove challenging.

Social and personal aspects also come into play. Loud Talkers may crave attention or want to broadcast their narratives. Some chatterboxes just love the sound of their own voices. Experts note controlling volume is tougher for folks hard of hearing.

Regardless of origin, traveling in unfamiliar settings seems to ratchet up Loud Talkers’ already elevated decibel levels even further. All that excitement and overstimulation hinders their ability to self-monitor volume.

Travel Faux Pas: The 6 Tourist Tribes That Make Us Cringe in 2023 - The Overpackers

The Overpackers represent that sect of travelers who jam enough luggage for a month-long expedition into bags for a weekend getaway. Yet even with bulging suitcases, overflowing carry-ons, and shopping totes on every arm, The Overpackers still can't resist buying endless souvenirs along the trip to cram into their already stuffed bags.

We’ve all stood behind them at airport check-in as they try fruitlessly redistributing items between bags to avoid steep overweight baggage fees. Then there's the obligatory public unpacking and repacking as they desperately shed items to get under the limit. Yet The Overpackers take it in stride, unwilling to part with a single tchotchke. As one airline worker described, "This young woman's bag was 15 pounds overweight so she stood there removing stuff like half her shoes and all her toiletries into her carry on, yet insisted on keeping every last knickknack."

The plight of The Overpackers continues once aboard planes, trains, and automobiles. They hog precious overhead bin space on flights, struggling to lift overloaded wheeled suitcases high enough for stowing. Trying to make their XXL bags fit becomes a game of luggage Tetris much to other passengers' dismay. Don't even think about finding room for your own case.

On buses and subways, The Overpackers cram the aisles with an obstacle course of luggage you must navigate around. Even hailing a cab is futile if The Overpacker beats you to it. That trunk space is all theirs, with nary room to spare for other riders' bags. Says one frustrated traveler who missed her train thanks to an Overpacker's slow boarding, "This business guy wheeled up with like four huge rolling cases and a backpack for just a 2 day conference! Not surprisingly, he held everyone up stowing his luggage."

So what propels this overstuffed tribe? Travel experts suggest a few key factors. Some Overpackers suffer anxiety about lacking needed items, so they overcompensate. Others love shopping and know luggage space won't be an issue. Those who frequently move locations or lack a fixed address may transport more belongings. Parents schlepping stuff for kids and themselves endure doubled baggage burdens.
See how everyone can now afford to fly Business Class and book 5 Star Hotels with Mighty Travels Premium! Get started for free.