Traveling the world can be a great way to learn about all those faraway places. However, it can also be a chance to see some of the craziest things imaginable.
We all have different goals in life. Some of us want to have a large house and a family. Others want to work their way up to their dream job. However, others want to travel the world and learn about different cultures and nations across the planet. It can be a great way to expand our horizons, meet new people, and grow as a person. Plus, there are usually plenty of things to see and do across the world that we’d never see if we stay in one place. Want to enjoy some of the Seven Wonders of the World? Interested in seeing where your favorite movie was filmed? It could be time to grab your passport.
Just because some of us want to take in what the world has to offer doesn’t mean that everyone feels the same way – or that the world is as great as we think. It turns out that some tourists have seen no shortage of crazy things on their travels. It could be the locals or other people traveling the world. Whatever the case, it sometimes makes us realize there’s no place like home after all. Perhaps there’s a reason some of us prefer to stay at home?
Not everyone stuck to the rules of not taking photos of the locals
I was on vacation in Laos in Southeast Asia and was told a bunch of rules about what we could and couldn’t do. I got it and thought most other people had, too. That was until we started trekking. The guide told us that it was highly disrespectful to take pictures of the local people.
Apparently, they thought it was the evil eye, and they were being treated like animals in a zoo. Even though we all stuck to the rules, one European girl thought that she was the exception. She started taking photos of some of the kids playing. I told her to stop, but she said they couldn’t see her, so it didn’t matter. I forgot the rules only apply if someone catches you.
Smuggling is a serious crime in one area of China
I was traveling through one part of China when I learned they take the law of smuggling pretty seriously. One family was being accused of smuggling something and were all lying face-down on the sidewalk. They all had their hands tied behind their back and weren’t saying a word as the police looked for whatever they supposedly had in the bushes.
Our guide told us if they were guilty, the parents would lose their lives, and the teenage son would be sent to some kind of facility. It wasn’t the entire event that got me the most – it was the fact the family were so calm and just lay there without saying a word as their lives, quite literally, hung in the balance.
Gondola rides in Venice canals aren’t always calm and relaxing
We wanted to do the typical tourist things in Venice, so we booked a trip on a gondola. We had no idea it was about to be more of a ride than we signed up for. It turned out the local fishermen were angry about the price of fish and wanted to stage an impromptu protest.
They started churning up the bottom of the canals and formed donuts around everyone else in the water. We even saw a local politician get dragged into the water after he turned up to try and defuse the situation. All the gondola owners started shouting at the fishermen until everything went quiet. The entire thing was over almost as quickly as it had begun.
Ultimate faith in the government left one exchange student pretty confused
I was lucky enough to get chosen to swap lives as an exchange student for three weeks in Singapore. I got to see a lot throughout my time away, but there was one thing that got me more than anything else: why was everyone so dedicated to the government? I’m used to seeing people in the US and Europe.
You know, the ones that love to criticize their leaders? Oh no, these people thought the guys at the top were like some kind of saviors who would do anything to make the nation happy. Sure, it wasn’t the worst thing people have seen abroad, but it was enough to make me wonder if a perfect government really exists or if people just want to believe it does.
Partying in Thailand can leave a huge clean-up for the locals
Thailand is the party capital of the world, but does that mean everyone has to act like the rules don’t apply to them? I’ll admit that I’ve been to Thailand a handful of times, and I’ve even enjoyed some of the parties, but more and more people seem to be taking things too far. It’s pretty common to see hundreds of youngsters pouring out of nightclubs and littering the streets.
When they go home to their mansion in the hills, the locals are left to clear up all their trash and all that broken glass that’s left along the beaches. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as heartbreaking as the locals looking at the mess us Westerners have left behind.
Many countries in Europe completely shut down in the middle of the day
Traveling to Europe taught me that when things shut down for lunch, they really shut down. I was staying with my aunt in Italy when I realized that everyone was asleep. I decided to grab some lunch and head out into town, but there was no one around. There were no dogs roaming the street, no one around, and all of the stores were closed.
I used it to my advantage, so I wandered around for a little bit and did some doodles of the local architecture. Later? It was like nothing happened as the stores were all open again. It was a huge culture shock for me as I’m used to everything being open 24/7 in the US.
One tourist discovered the scene of a crime of a famous criminal
We always headed to the same camping spot every year as our family loved to enjoy the countryside. We’d usually have dinner and then spend a few hours looking at the stars. My dad asked if we wanted to drive along the beaches to take it all in, but we spotted a car, and it looked as though someone had lost their life in front of the vehicle.
We drove back to the campsite, waited for the police, and took them to the scene of the crime. We were right. I forgot all about it until two years later when my aunt was reading People magazine. Apparently, they’d run a story about a famous criminal who’d taken his own life – aka the guy we all saw.
A quality meats and motorcycle museum didn’t disappoint a pair of tourists
A friend and I were in Austria when we spotted a weird sign for a motorcycle and quality meats museum. Of course, we were intrigued. We eventually found the house after driving down this dirt road for ages. A woman opened the door and grabbed me and my friend a plate of meat.
We looked around her yard and waited for her husband, who came to take us to the motorcycle museum. We couldn’t believe it as the barn was filled with perfectly restored and shiny bikes from Britain and Europe. He’d even spend years crafting full-size 16th-century figures from across Europe. The guy told us he’d made all the armor and swords by hand. It truly was a hidden talent.
A tourist saw their life flash before their eyes when traveling as a hitchhiker
I’m one of those people who has no trouble getting to know people and taking a few risks. I decided to try my luck hitchhiking across Yukon, Canada, and landed a ride with a couple. They took me down the highway until they suddenly turned off and started flying down a dirt road. That’s where things got weird.
Ten minutes later, they told me to get out of the car and started showing me all of the hunting equipment they were carrying in the trunk. I was super scared and thought I’d never see my family again, but it all worked out. It turned out they wanted to show me the best view of the town and mountains that no one knows about.
A family disappeared without a trace after spending the vacation together
My family all went on vacation to Florida. We made friends with a family who managed the local motel as they had kids the same age as us, and they got along with my parents. We’d usually spend our days with them at the beach and mall, while our parents relaxed. On the last day of our vacation, we wanted to thank them for everything they’d done.
They were gone. We asked everyone in the motel, and no one had ever heard of the family. It was like they’d disappeared into thin air. A year later, I decided to call the motel to see if anyone had tracked them down. However, they told me they’d never employed anyone by that name.
Not all festivals are great places to have fun and relax
A group of us were traveling through Guatemala when a history buff learned about a Feast of Maximon in the local town. We couldn’t find out much about it online, but this is how it went down for me. The main part of the festival focused on a doll of Maximon who had a hole in his mouth and a hosepipe running to an empty bucket.
People would leave offerings in his hand and pour whatever they liked down his throat. The drinking? That was even worse. It all sounded like it should have been a great time, but it was so strange. It was like no one was having fun, and they were just going through the motions of a party.
The Eiffel Tower has seen some dark moments throughout the years
It happened at the Eiffel Tower. While most people have lovely ideas about what the tower is like in real life, I can’t think about my trip without getting nightmares. I was lucky enough to have the weather on my side, meaning I could get all the way to the top. I was enjoying the view when I noticed a strange guy out of the corner of my eye.
He was acting pretty shifty, but I ignored him. Just as I turned to look his way, the guy got up onto the railings and jumped off the edge. I managed to look away before I saw him reach the bottom because the sight of that would have been worse than anything I’ve ever seen in my life.
You can’t use American dollars in every country around the world
Most of us know that traveling means we have to get used to different currencies, right? Not this girl I saw on vacation. It would have been fine if we were in the US, but we were halfway across the world in Milan when she demanded they take her money. It looked like she was trying to pick up some souvenirs from the fashion capital of the world.
However, the cashier couldn’t get her to understand they took Euros and not US dollars. She. Just. Didn’t. Get. It. No matter how many times they told her they wouldn’t take her money, she still kept shoving it into their hands and tried to make off with her stuff. It was a real facepalm moment.
It’s pretty common to notice differences when you travel to a new country
I was lucky enough to get a seat on a trip to Europe. It was one of my ultimate dreams. We were on a small tour through Austria when a couple of people wanted to make things more than awkward. The guide had perfect English and knew everything about the area, but one of the guys at the back of the bus kept mocking her and her accent.
The worst part? Another guy on the bus couldn’t get his head around the fact that everything is different in Austria compared to the US. Everything. He would point out all the items on the menu, the street signs, the stores. It’s safe to say his personal game of spot the difference quickly got a little boring.
Not getting a McDonald’s was enough to anger one mom on a school trip
Our school had a competition, and I won a seat on the trip to Europe. They teamed up with some other schools in the area and sent me and some teachers along for the ride. Everything was going great apart from one of the women on the trip. Apparently, she was the mom of one of the students from another school – I still have no idea how she wormed her way into it all.
We were in France when she decided she wanted a burger, even though the restaurant didn’t serve them. She grabbed her kid and stormed off into the night, looking for a McDonald’s. She must have tracked one down as they spent the rest of the trip eating nothing but the stuff.
Temples usually have their own rules about clothing and shoes
We were in Bangkok, and, like many people who visit the area, we wanted to take in some of the beautiful temples across the nation. We quickly got used to people asking us to remove our shoes and always stuck to the rules, but everyone else made me ashamed to be a Westerner.
When they weren’t listening to the shoe rule, they were breaking all the others. The temples also have a rule that you have to cover up before you can go inside and had robes for anyone that needed something extra to wear. However, they would just put them on to get inside and take them off as soon as they were out of sight of the security guards.
People often try to take bones from the Catacombs in Paris
I’ll admit that I wanted to see something a little darker when I visited Paris, but I also wanted to learn about the history of the city. After all, if you can’t when you’re in Paris, then when can you? We booked a tour of the Catacombs in Paris and headed underneath the street. We learned they would move all the bodies at night, so they didn’t scare the town.
It was supposed to help with the growing health crises and free up some of the cemeteries. While we were busy learning all about the fascinating stories of Paris, others were trying to take bones from the walls. Really?! You could even see that some people had drawn on the skulls.
Several people showed their disrespect in a Buddhist cave in Thailand
We were lucky enough to get some spots on a tour of a Buddhist cave in Thailand. We all stuck to the rules and took our shoes off before we went inside. I was even told we needed to make sure that our shoulders and upper legs were covered at all times, so we all wore clothes that checked all the boxes.
Just because I stuck to the rules didn’t mean everyone did. I have no idea how a group of girls got in as they wore nothing more than bikinis and sandals. To top it off, a couple of guys for another group were caught trying to carve their names into the cave wall. Thankfully, the guide intervened before they ruined the cave.
Ancient Egyptian sculptures aren’t there as a toy or a leaning post
While I’ve never gotten the chance to head to Egypt, I love everything about the Ancient Egyptians and wanted to see the new exhibits at a history museum in London. The room was filled with ancient sculptors, including one that dominated the room. I wanted to take a photo of it, but I saw someone was in front of the statue.
I looked a little closer and realized things were worse than I first imagined. The guy was on his phone and was leaning all over the thing. Someone told me it’s not the worst they’ve seen as one dad apparently wanted his kids to climb up the statue to try and get a great picture. Isn’t this thing thousands of years old?
Traveling abroad isn’t a time to mock everyone across the country
I have never been so embarrassed to be a part of a group than when I was on a group trip to Australia. It actually left me lost for words. We were all on a tour bus, and the guide said we’d be stopping at a Native Australian Learning Center to learn about the history of the area and all of those who had lived there throughout the years.
The whole time the guide was talking, this group of guys was mocking his accent. In the end, he had to ask them to go into another room because it was so distracting. I just wanted the ground to swallow me up from embarrassment. I didn’t even want to be seen in the same uniform.
Two women would do anything to get a drink by the pool in Spain
I’m lucky enough to know a little Spanish. It usually helps when I’m on vacation and helps me feel like I’m making a bit of an effort to blend in with everyone else. The same couldn’t be said for two women at the pool. They made no secret that they wanted certain drinks as they thought talking slower and louder was the perfect way to get their point across.
I walked up to the bar and ordered a couple of drinks in Spanish, and that’s when they pounced. Even though the bar had told the women they didn’t stock those drinks, they both thought the staff were being difficult because they didn’t order in Spanish. They then practically begged me to order their drinks in Spanish.
Some tourists forgot to ask before cuddling someone’s baby and taking photos
I wasn’t strictly on the end of tourists being strange while on vacation; I was there to see my friend get caught up in something pretty strange. I was at a hotel having a coffee with my friend and her young baby when a group of tourists ran up to us and started cuddling her baby. The weird part? They didn’t ask.
My friend wasn’t too pleased with them, but everything happened so fast. It wasn’t long before they took the baby, ran over to a group of friends, and started taking photos with the little one. They all acted like there was no problem, even though my friend and I were trying to get the baby back from a group of strangers.
Too many people try to take a piece of the Colosseum
Like many people, I wanted to take everything in when I headed to Rome. The Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trevi Fountain, and the Sistine Chapel were all on the list, but there was one at the top: the Colosseum. I was so excited to see it for myself, but I quickly forgot all about it when I noticed people were acting pretty weird.
I couldn’t get over the number of people who were all trying to take a piece of it for themselves. Did they forget the Colosseum was hundreds of years old? Did they think that no one would notice if it was missing? Apparently, some workers used to sprinkle rocks so tourists didn’t actually take pieces of history as a souvenir.
One family had to sneak out of their bed and breakfast to escape
My family and I sure had one of those ‘we know we messed up’ moments when we arrived at a bed and breakfast in the countryside. The place was nothing like the photos. Plus, the sign was filled with bullet holes: a huge red flag. For some reason, we decided to check into the place and learned the owners were just as strange as the place.
Source: Shutterstock/Peter de Kievith
We wanted to leave, but they wouldn’t let us go. Every time we spoke about ending the trip early, they would come up with some reason to make us stay. We ended up having to stay for one night, waiting for them to leave, and packing out stuff to sneak out. We didn’t look back.
A car full of nuts somehow ended up submerged in the water
I had one of those times when nothing seemed to make sense, but it was all unfolding in front of our eyes. I was on vacation in Italy with my mom. We parked our car at the docks as we grabbed some lunch and watched the ships come in. I spotted a crane over the water and wondered what they were doing. I didn’t have to wait long to find out.
The crane pulled a car out of the water. The strange part? It was filled with walnuts! We have no idea how it got there, why it was filled with nuts, or how they even knew it was underwater. Even the locals didn’t seem to understand what was going on in the dock.