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Americans Are the Worst-behaved Travelers in the World

Travel + Leisure logo Travel + Leisure 2/9/2018 Stacey Leasca

While we’d love to say the idea that many Americans are terrible travelers is a fallacy, we can’t, because time and time again this theory is proven to be true.

Seriously, undoing Americans' traveling reputation will be an uphill battle thanks to our less than stellar behavior abroad. Don’t believe us? Consider the fact that 64 percent of Americans admitted to urinating in public pools in a 2016 survey, while 69 percent admitted to stealing extra hotel toiletries and 13 percent admitted to skipping out on a bill.

Yeah, we are bad. Really, really bad. Keep scrolling for a few more horror stories of Americans abroad.

Steven Cho, arrested in Thailand for throwing feces at airport staff

In a recent example of American tourists behaving badly, Steven Cho, a man from New York, was arrested on Jan. 8 after he allegedly stripped down to his birthday suit, began screaming at the staff at Phuket International Airport, and even threw his feces at them. According to the Daily Mail, Cho told local authorities he had “taken too many sex drugs,” which included Viagra, before the incident. Cho apologized for the incident and agreed to pay damages.

Unidentified couple, arrested in Italy for carving their names into Rome’s Colosseum

Just file this under “reasons we can’t have nice things.” In 2015, two unidentified American women from California were arrested in Rome after they allegedly carved their initials into the city’s Colosseum. The women were caught red-handed by staff as they took a selfie right next to their crime scene.

“There’s a difference in perception. Museums are treated like churches, sacred places where there are things of great value. Whereas the Colosseum is an incomplete building which has already been robbed,” a spokesman for the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome told the Guardian at the time. The women were both fined for “aggravated damage.”

Louis DiNatale, arrested in Canada for gun smuggling

Louis DiNatale swears he didn’t know he had a gun on him when he attempted to cross the border into Canada. However, it didn’t matter, because he was arrested for gun smuggling anyway.

"I told him I was retired military, I had respect for weapons, and I had a concealed carry license to do so," DiNatale said in a statement about his 2014 conversation with Canadian Border Patrol. However, when the patrol officer searched his car, he found the weapon in the center console. In total, DiNatale spent four days in a Canadian jail before he could post bail and go home. Not so surprisingly, DiNatale isn’t the only American tourist to ever be arrested for carrying guns outside the country. So next time you travel, make sure to leave your firearms at home.

Marian O., arrested in Spain for disobeying authority

Someone really needs to teach Marian O. a lesson or two on manners. According to the Olive Press, an American woman only identified by her first name and last initial was arrested in Spain in August after she allegedly verbally assaulted a ticket seller at the Palma Cathedral for not being able to speak English. She then attempted to re-enter the cathedral, but was denied.

Joseph Dasilva and Travis Dasilva, arrested in Thailand for mooning a Buddhist statue

In December, both Joseph Dasilva and Travis Dasilva, two grown men from the United States, apparently thought it would be appropriate to take off their pants and moon a sacred religious statue in Thailand. Before leaving the country, the pair was arrested and fined for indecent exposure.

“Once they are through with the charges, the Thai immigration police will revoke their visas and push for deportation,” the deputy spokesman of the Thai immigration police, Col. Choengron Rimpadee, told BBC. “They will also be blacklisted from coming back to Thailand.”

Just in case it’s somehow unclear what is appropriate behavior, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has a few tips for you. On its site it lists the following tips to avoid being arrested in a foreign country:

  • Understand that you are subject to the local laws and regulations while visiting or living in the country – follow them.
  • Learn which laws might be different from the laws in the United States. We provide some information for each country on our Country Specific pages. For further information on laws within the foreign country before you go, contact that country’s nearest embassy or consulate within the United States.

And if you are arrested, the department says you should immediately “ask the prison authorities to notify the U.S. embassy or consulate.” And maybe just say you’re sorry.

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