are often considered an obnoxious and intrusive bunch, but some
are so bad they make international headlines.
damaging hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of art while
taking a selfie to
causing flight delays by throwing coins into a plane’s engine
for good luck, there’s been no shortage of tourist faux pas over
the past few years.
Keep reading for the worst tourist horror stories as of late.
Madeline Diamond contributed to a previous version of this
Two visitors to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois allegedly drew their initials on an over 400 million year-old sandstorm formation that’s also a sacred place for Native Americans.
Over the Labor Day weekend, two visitors to Starved Rock State
Park allegedly vandalized a sandstorm formation that is over 400
million years old, and that has also been used as a sacred
meeting spot for Native Americans for 8,000 years known as
tweet shared by local news outlet GotYour6Comm called its
followers to action by writing “These two were pictured actively
vandalizing council overhang today!!! If you know them please
contact the state park at 1-815-667-4726. PLEASE SHARE!”
According to a
since-deleted Facebook post from the park, an intern found a
photo of the alleged culprits on Instagram with the graffiti
behind them. The Wire
reported that the female has been identified, but they are
still working to identify the male.
Two French tourists could face jail time after trying to take home 90 pounds of sand from the Italian island of Sardinia.
While sand doesn’t seem like it’s the most popular souvenir,
environmental scientist Pierluigi Cocco, tourists
taking sand home is one of the two most pressing threats to the
beaches of Sardinia – the other is erosion.
Two French tourists
filled 14 plastic bottles with sand from Chia, a beach on the
southern coast of Sardinia. The BBC reported that the two were
caught with the contraband while they were trying to get on a
ferry back to France.
According to an Italian newspaper,
they were charged with “theft under aggravated circumstance”
which can carry a sentence between one and six years of jail
time. Sand theft has been illegal since 2017, though the
couple is claiming that they didn’t know it was against the
law, CBS News reported.
An American tourist was reportedly hospitalized after falling from a statue in Italy during a night out drinking with friends.
23-year-old American was reportedly rushed to the hospital in
La Repubblica reported that at around 1 a.m., after a night spent
drinking at a brewery, a
group of tourists stopped at the
Piazza Bodoni, where one of them climbed on the horse statue
– potentially to take a selfie.
According to Torino Today he underwent
brain surgery in the afternoon for life-threatening
An American man visiting the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland was charged with attempting to steal a piece of the historic train tracks.
On March 31, an American visitor to Auschwitz, one of the most
well-known death camps from World War II, allegedly
attempted to steal a piece of the metal train tracks leading
into the camp. Many of the 1.1 million people who died inside its
gates were transported to the camps via train.
AP reported that the tourist
was charged with “attempted theft of an item of
cultural importance,” which can result in 10 years in
An Indonesian court sentenced a British tourist to six months in prison for slapping an immigration official last year.
British tourist Auj-e Taqaddas was
sentenced to six months in an Indonesian prison for slapping
an immigration official after she missed her flight, back in July
2018. The incident was even
recorded, and went semi-viral.
Taqaddas was filmed slapping the officer across the face at
I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali,
Indonesia. She was upset that she had missed her flight to
Singapore after having to pay Indonesian authorities a fine for
overstaying her visa for 160 days,
The Jakarta Post reported.
Taqaddas failed to appear in court twice before authorities
finally located her in a shopping mall. She was subsequently
sentenced to six months in jail for assaulting the
A family traveling around New Zealand had its visas revoked after wreaking havoc throughout the country, including threatening tourists, stealing, and ruining a motel room.
A British family of 12 has been terrorizing the people of
New Zealand for a month as they
travel throughout the country. For starters, two children
from the family were caught on camera stealing a Christmas tree
while shopping at a convenience store. The family also allegedly
refused to pay for meals at several restaurants, claiming there
were bugs in their food and drinks. The behavior is said to have
continued in their motel, as staff accused the family of throwing cigarette
butts, beer cans, and even spaghetti on the floor. Staffers
said the room “smelt like kid’s poo” and took hours to clean.
It doesn’t end there, though. At Takapuna Beach, the family is
accused of littering, throwing beer, baby
wipes, and chips on the beach. When a local confronted the
family, they allegedly threatened violence.
After another unruly incident at a Burger King, the New Zealand
government revoked the family’s
visas, forcing all 12 of them to leave the country within 28
An 18-year-old visitor to the Denver Art Museum was arrested after vandalizing several pieces of art.
In December 2018, an 18-year-old named Jake
arrested by the Denver authorities after allegedly going on a
rampage and destroying 10 pieces of art. According to officials,
he was “not in a state of mind that was reasonable.”
Some of the art destroyed potentially dated back to the
The incident was caught on surveillance footage and turned
over to the police, officials noting this incident was “without
precedent” at the museum.
“Every object for us has a cultural value that is enormous.
Our conservators are stellar and I am very confident that they
will be able to conserve and restore hopefully most of the
director Christoph Heinrich told AP News.
Egyptian authorities are investigating a photo that appears to show a Danish couple having sex on top of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Egyptian authorities are investigating after Andreas Hvid,
a Danish photographer,
released a NSFW photo of himself in which it looks as though
he scaled the Great Pyramid of Giza with a woman, stripped naked,
and posed as if they were having sex. He also
video of him and a woman appearing to climb the pyramid and
The photo has since been deleted, but has been re-shared on
social media – and the video of the duo allegedly climbing is
Climbing the pyramids are illegal, and Egypt is a strictly
conservative Muslim country.
Egyptian authorities are now determining whether or not the
photo and video are authentic. Hvid, for his part, denies that he
had sex atop the monument, but does admit to climbing it.
“The prosecution authorities will tell Egyptians how the
two tourists were able to scale the Great Pyramid of Khufu,
whether the video is real or fake, and negligent officials will
be brought to justice,”
said Egyptian antiquities minister, Khaled al-Anani.
Tourists knocked over an entire wall of art by Francisco Goya and Salvador Dalí in a Russian art museum while trying to take a selfie.
On October 27, a group of women at the International Arts
Center Main Avenue in Yekaterinburg, Russia,
attempted to take a selfie with the works of famed artists
Francisco Goya and Salvador Dalí, knocking over an entire wall in
According to TASS, a Russian news agency, “Goya’s work had
its frame and glass broken. As far as Dalí’s artwork is
concerned, apart from shattered frame and protective glass, it
also suffered damage to the picture itself.” The whole thing
was caught on camera.
While people are understandably upset, the Yekaterinburg
police department is
refusing to open a criminal case against the women, CNN
Two tourists face up to 10 years in a Thai prison for spray-painting a brick wall from the 13th century.
On Thursday, travelers Brittney Schneider, from Canada, and Lee
Furlong, from the United Kingdom, found a can of spray paint on
the side of the road in northern Bangkok. The two were inebriated
decided to vandalize the nearest wall – which happened to be
the Tha Pae Gate, a popular tourist attraction that dates back to
the 13th century.
The two were found within a week because of surveillance footage
and were immediately taken to jail. Their bail, which their
families paid, was set at 149,000 baht, or roughly $6,000. While
free on bail, they must stay in Thailand until their trial is
completed. They are each facing up to a decade in prison.
Schneider doesn’t believe she deserves prison time. She
told the radio show “Edmonton AM” that she deserves “a big
fine definitely, but I don’t think I deserve prison for this.”
A group of teens pushed a rock off a crag at Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire, England, causing irreparable damage to a landmark that’s millions of years old.
According to the North Yorkshire Police, a group of five young
people were seen pushing a rock off a crag at
Brimham Rocks, a National Trust site in North Yorkshire,
England, that dates back millions of years. The rock formation
has been shaped by centuries of wind, rain, and ice.
“The incident has not only caused considerable damage to both the
rock and the crag face, but those responsible also put themselves
in danger and have created a potential hazard for other visitors
to Brimham Rocks,”
the police said.
A tourist damaged an 800-year-old museum artifact just so he could take a photo of his kid.
One family in the UK disregarded museum rules (and common sense)
when they placed their baby inside an ancient artifact for a
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, the family placed the child
inside an 800-year-old sandstone coffin, which caused it to fall
off its stand.
While the incident only caused about $130 worth of damage, the
disregard for historical preservation for the sake of a photo is
Read more here.
A woman slapped an airline gate agent after she was told check-in had closed for her flight.
Traveling can be frustrating, but there’s no excuse for getting
violent with airline staff. However, a passenger on an AirFrance
flight flying from Wuhan, China, to Paris was captured in June
2017 on a security camera slapping a gate agent after learning
that she had missed check-in for her flight.
The passenger told airline staff she had an important conference
to attend, according to
the South China Morning Post. She was subsequently arrested
and blacklisted from future AirFrance flights.
A woman shattered a piece of art worth $800,000 while taking a selfie — and made the exhibit shut down for three days.
Artist Yayoi Kusama’s mind-bending exhibit “Infinity Mirrors” is
undoubtedly photo-worthy. However, one tourist in Washington, DC,
took a selfie too far and severely damaged a piece of art in the
The exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum was closed for three days
after a visitor broke a glass pumpkin, causing an estimated
$800,000 worth of damage, according to
The New York Times.
A tourist threw a glove at a member of the Queen’s Guard in London just to mess with him.
Members of the Queen’s Guard are known for their stoic
disposition. But one tourist decided to try to get a reaction out
of a guard by throwing her glove at him.
She was quickly reprimanded by another type of guard, called a
Beefeater, as shown by a video posted on
“The army’s here to protect the crown jewels. He is not here for
the public to make fun of,” he said. The Beefeater returned the
woman’s glove before the disrespectful tourists went on their
A shopper in China fainted after breaking a bracelet worth $44,000 in a jewelry shop.
A woman shopping in a jewelry store in southwest China was in for
an expensive surprise when she accidentally broke a jade bracelet
priced at $44,000 when converted to USD.
The woman tried on the bracelet but quickly started taking it off
after she was told the item’s hefty price tag. She subsequently
dropped the bracelet, breaking it in half. Even though the shop’s
staff tried to calm the woman, she fainted in response to the
incident, according to the BBC.
The shopper and the jewelry-store owners were negotiating for an
appropriate compensation, but had not come to an agreement as of
A woman in Los Angeles destroyed $200,000 worth of art while taking a selfie.
This cringe-worthy video of a
selfie gone wrong, captured on a security camera, has racked up
nearly 7 million views on YouTube.
The incident took place at an installation by artist Simon Birch
at The 14th Factory in Los Angeles. The installation, called
“Hypercaine,” featured a display of delicate crowns on pedestals.
The video shows a woman crouching down to take a selfie in front
of the art and subsequently knocking over an entire column of
$200,000 worth of damage.
An airline passenger threw a coin into a plane’s engine for good luck, causing her flight to be delayed.
While many people are superstitious about flying, most don’t
react by damaging the airplane they’re about to board.
A passenger flying from Shanghai to Guangzhou, China, caused her
flight to be delayed after she threw coins into the plane’s
engine for good luck.
Mechanics recovered nine coins from the area, including one
inside the engine. While the coins did not seriously damage the
plane, they could have been detrimental if they’d been sucked in
by the engine, as reported by
the South China Morning Post.
Tourists killed a baby dolphin in Spain while trying to take a selfie with it.
Tourists on a beach in southern Spain were responsible for the
death of a baby dolphin in August 2017. Many were seen taking
photos with the animal and taking it out of the water.
Rescue crews arrived on the scene about 15 minutes after the
dolphin was first spotted, but it was too late, according to
Travel + Leisure.
Tourists were seen blocking the dolphin’s blowhole in photos,
which could have contributed to its death. Equinac, an animal
rescue organization, posted on
Facebook about the incident, saying that crowding around
animals causes shock and respiratory failure.
Tourists in Thailand were arrested for taking nude photos at a historic temple.
Two tourists from the United States were arrested in Thailand
after taking nude photos at the Wat Arun temple in Bangkok,
The men traveled around the world posting nude photos on their
now-deleted Instagram account, “Traveling Butts,” including at
the historic temple in Bangkok.
After posting the photo, the tourists were detained, fined for
public indecency, and blacklisted from returning to the country.
A man purposely kicked and destroyed a thousands-of-years-old stalagmite in a cave in China.
A man traveling in China’s Guizhou province was in a group of
tourists taking photos of a cave in Songtao county when he kicked
a nearly 20-inch stalagmite several times, according to
the South China Morning Post.
video posted on YouTube shows the man deliberately kicking
the rock formation until it falls over, destroying something that
likely took thousands of years to form naturally.
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