5 Ways to be a Total A*!hole when you Travel Abroad


Are you interested in coming across as a complete asshole when you travel abroad? If so, you’re in luck!

There are currently thousands, even millions of douchebag travelers who’ve perfected the fine art of offending everyone they meet when they travel abroad.

Don’t let those numbers discourage you – if you play your cards right and are diligent in your pursuits, you too can rise to top of the asshole traveler list, setting the bar for all the jerks who’ll follow in your footsteps.

But with an endless array of options to choose from, where does the aspiring asshole start? Which tactics are most effective when it comes to achieving the coveted title of Traveling Asshole?

1. Speak as loudly as possible at all times

Remember that while people may speak softly in other countries, that’s none of your concern. It’s much more important to be a cultural ambassador and impress upon those quiet locals how much better it feels to let loose and SHOUT REALLY LOUD BECAUSE YOU CAN.

Also, don’t forget to share the intimate details of what (and who) you did last night, which is obviously of genuine interest to anyone within ear shot.

2. Complain…about everything

It’s not enough to complain about the food, send it back, and indicate that your local chef is “doing it wrong.” That kind of half-assed move is for junior assholes.

To be a true asshole when you travel abroad, it’s important to complain about everything.

First, complain about the weather. Forget the fact that you were the one who decided to visit Cambodia in the middle of April – someone should seriously do something about this heat.

Next, complain about things like the lack of infrastructure, the price of your hotel room, and the lack of English spoken. Bonus points for making fun of locals attempting to speak English but failing.

By complaining, you’ll be demonstrating that your home country is superior to the country you’re visiting, and inspiring locals to make changes to their country based on your savvy recommendations.

3. Claim to be an English teacher

The fact that you’re a native English speaker means you’re perfectly suited to teach English to everyone you meet, whether they want your help or not.

When a non-native speaker can’t understand what you’re saying, simply increase your volume. This will help them understand what you’ve just said. If it doesn’t, get frustrated and be rude to them. This will motivate them to learn English faster.

If you’re in close contact with non-native speakers for long periods of time, be sure to speak to them in broken English, using only nouns and verbs.

In this way, you will reinforce bad habits they’ve already learned, ensuring they will keep speaking incorrectly. This in turn will give you something to make fun of when you return home – after all, just because you’ve stopped traveling abroad doesn’t mean you have to stop being a douche.

Finally, teach English to your non-native English speaking friends by demonstrating the proper use of the word “like.” Include like at least four times per sentence, more if possible.

A strong example of this would be:

“Is there, like, a safe in our room? Because we like, don’t want the room if, like, there’s no like, safe.”

Not only will this make your speech easier for locals to understand; it will make you appear very intelligent.

4. Travel in packs

It’s much easier to achieve asshole status if you travel abroad in a large pack. Grab at least 10-12 of your closest newfound friends from your hostel, and proceed to walk around town like you own the place.

Keep in mind that everyone – from restaurant staff to tour guides to pedestrians – should stop what they’re doing to cater to the needs of your group.

Don’t forget to utilize volume – particularly loud, high-pitched, maniacal laughter – to remind everyone that you guys rule.

5. Make it like spring break

Take your wildest nights during spring break in college and experience them again – but in another country. This is a delicate art form, but ideally you want to act like you never left home in the first place.

Don’t become distracted by things like cultural experiences and the local way of living. That stuff is stupid and boring.

Instead, make sure everyone you meet knows that this is your vacation, and they all should be working hard to make sure your vacation is awesome.

Bonus points for screaming “SPRING BREEEEEEAK” at 3am, especially in neighborhoods with lots of families with young children. Double bonus points for working in “Dude, I was so fucking wasted last night” into the conversation. Triple points if you’re still drunk from the night before.


Phew! Sounds like a lot of work, right? Don’t worry. Even if you’re only able to achieve one of the items on the list, you’ll still come across as a jerk, which is a good start.

Above all, keep in mind that when you travel abroad, it’s all about you. The world (and everyone in it) is simply there to make sure you have a great time, so treat it (and everyone you meet) accordingly.

  • Whatever you do, don’t cater your behavior to the norms of the culture you’re in – that would be admitting that their way of doing things is better than yours.
  • Don’t open yourself up to any experiences even remotely different from what you’d experience at home – eat Western food, drink in tourist bars, and hang out with people from your home country.

And whatever you do, never treat travel as a way to open your mind, examine your beliefs, or experience something infinitely different than your life back home.

If you do that, you’ll never win the travel asshole award.

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Quick+Dirty Takeaway

1. Speak as loudly as possible at all times.

2. Complain about everything.

3. Teach English to everyone you meet, whether they like it or not.

4. Travel in an enormous pack of 12 of your closest friends.

5. Treat every day you travel abroad like it's spring break in your home country.

Want to dig deeper? Go for it!

36 comments on “5 Ways to be a Total A*!hole when you Travel Abroad

    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      Right?! I’m always like “THEN WHY ARE YOU HERE?” If you want things to be exactly like they are at home, STAY HOME. Thanks for your comment Sarah!

  1. jennifer

    I got really excited when I saw this post title! The whole “SPRING BREAK” thing really grinds my gears. I spend a lot of time in Las Vegas so I feel like I have had more than my fair share of that. I don’t understand why people go to another country and expect that everyone there should speak English. That always bothers me too. I even said that to someone one time, about how it annoys me that people expect others to speak English. He argued with me that “well if they are in the tourism business, they should speak it.” WHY? Ugh.

    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      ARRRRRRGH. I’m glad that guy said it to YOU and not me, because I might’ve gotten violent. If I’m in another country, I should speak THEIR language. If they happen to speak mine, I’m very spoiled and lucky. Thanks for your comment, glad to hear someone understands where I’m coming from!

  2. Samantha

    Awesome…I traveled with a group of twenty-something Aussie Boys exactly like this in Croatia. They treated the week like a booze cruise, slept during the day (which was great!) but they rose from the dead around 5 just in time for dinner….and then continued to party all night, delay our boat, hijack my room thus leaving me bed less for the entire week! They got more than A*hole status!

    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      Samantha, is it possible that those are the guys in the post picture? Sounds like exactly who I’m talking about. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for it, but I never understand when that time and place is everywhere and ALL THE TIME. (:

    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      Thanks Karen, I agree with you – maybe I’ve just found ways to seek out my own kind and avoid the “bro’s” out there so it seems like there are less and less of them. Avoiding hostels helps too. (:

  3. Elena

    Great post! I can add a few more to your list too 🙂 I find really annoying the question “How long have you been travelling for? It´s already more like a competition… who has traveled and seen more. And whenever you go to a hostel, there is at least one person who would ask you that question but is really eager to tell you about their trip. They actually don´t want to listen, they want to tell you all about their trip and how well travelled they are! A one way conversation…me, me, me
    Elena recently posted…COLOMBIA PART 2. My vicissitudes of fortuneMy Profile

    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      Elena, such a great one!! It DOES feel like a competition, doesn’t it? It’s the length of time and the number of countries you’ve been to. Like backpacking bragging rights. Lame.

  4. Samantha

    Haha funny!! We wrote a post about this too, how to act American in Costa Rica and those were all of the ones we put except for the English teacher one. We also included flash your money like a balla and call every girl senorita to make you sound cool. Some people in this world *shakes head*
    Samantha recently posted…Winner of CMUK Shoe GiveawayMy Profile

  5. Rashad Pharaon

    I really hate those who squarely fall in #2. Plus they tend to be know-it-alls. I just don’t understand why someone would travel and live elsewhere if they’re not happy with the place. Unfortunately, I saw most of the crowd in SE Asia.. but that might just have been my own experience..
    Rashad Pharaon recently posted…Railay Beach Ruled My HeartMy Profile

    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      Rashad, it’s TOTALLY Southeast Asia. It’s the SE Asia party circuit! Travelers I met in Nepal were the kindest, most down to earth people in the world. They’d never complain – and compared to SE Asia, there’s a lot one could complain about in Nepal. (:

    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      Oh man Margherita, so frustrating! I grant that it takes some conscious thought to speak slowly and clearly, but there’s definitely a way to do it without being condescending. And it seems to be human nature but I’ll never understand why people – particularly Americans – think increasing volume will increase understanding.

      What’s really worked for me is to CHOOSE DIFFERENT WORDS. If I say “Where’s the bathroom?” and you give me a blank look, saying “Bathroom? Where is it?” is not going to help. Instead I say “toilet?” or “WC?” and usually that does the trick.

  6. Nina

    Fantastic post, really funny and witty but best of all: so true! 🙂 Luckily these people all go to the same places so the can be avoided. If I find myself surrounded by these kind of tourists, I sometimes (not all the time!!) find it amusing, like a little show they are putting on.
    Nina recently posted…Going back to Egypt in 15 picturesMy Profile

    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      That’s a great way to view it! I try not to let any of it get to me because as you say, it’s all pretty easy to avoid. But for the purpose of this post I let the inner urge to rant be my guide. I think looking at annoying things as an amusing show is a great philosophy on life in general!

    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      Meghan, this is just brilliant! I’m learning so many new terms after writing this post, i.e. “sexpats” and “partypackers.” I love your phrase “tone deafness to the local culture.” What could be more spot on?

  7. Ashley and Alex

    Totally agree with you! This is one of the reasons that Alex and I try to stay with AirBnB and not hostels anymore or at least not in the 20 person rooms! I am all for going out and grabbing a drink but that is not going to be all I am going to do on my trip. I just don’t understand people sometimes, if you want to get drunk just stay home. It is much cheaper and saves the rest of us from having to listen to them
    Ashley and Alex recently posted…Our Top Reasons to Visit Istanbul, Part 2My Profile

    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      Thank you Ashley!! If only we could get dorm bed prices without the dorm! AirBnB does seem to be the best option. I still do private rooms in hostels but the situation has to be just right. I’m also ALL for having a drink or 4, but maybe I’m just old in that it’s no longer exciting to have 45-minute conversations over breakfast about how much I drank the night before. (;

  8. Erica

    I love the tourists who have long detailed discussions on the improvements they could make in the country they are travelling at the time


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