They are out there and it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to pick them out of a crowd. If you visit enough sites that typically attract tourists, inevitably you will come across a terrible traveller. I frequently take part in walking tours of London and yesterday I took a walking tour of the London Underground and on this tour was a terrible traveller.
Be Uniformed or Unprepared
The walk started at 10:45 and there were 8 people there ready to go at the designated location. Fifteen minutes later and around the block the guide received a call on his mobile phone from his company with people complaining no one was there to give a tour. Following a brief conversation two ladies came jogging around the corner with their husbands trailing behind at a leisurely saunter. Three out of the four were rather apologetic yet one of the men engaged the guide in a brief argument that the tour was supposed to start at 11:00 while everyone else rolled their eyes and waited awkwardly.
Be Closed Minded
As the tour progressed it became quickly apparent that this man was not interested into fitting in or accepting that things might be slightly different than in his beloved home town of Chicago, to which he made numerous comparisons. He was constantly commenting to himself, or even arguing with the guide, over simple things like standing on the right of an escalator or British figures of speech that were slightly different than American ones. The most offensive occurrence of this was when he expressed that the guide was wording an explanation of a tragic escalator fire in the Underground wrong and he didn’t understand. (It was rather obvious and people on the tour to who English was not their first language had no comprehension issues.)
As we were on a tour of the Underground, that meant entering and exiting stations and riding trains. As we entered the last station of the tour, the guide mentioned not to return and exit from that particular station as the computer system that bills the electronic travel cards would charge the maximum amount for this as it can not comprehend where the rider has gone. “That’s stupid. I think I want to return here after the tour. I won’t pay that” our favourite tour member exclaimed. Apparently he failed to recognize the guide did not work for the Underground yet held him personally responsible for the billing patterns of the system.
This mans behaviour was so toxic that it became obvious even his wife and travel partners wanted to distance themselves from him within the tour group. Then suddenly he announced he was done and he and his wife departed. They could have quietly left with no one noticing, but this man felt it necessary to interrupt the guide mid-sentence with about five minutes remaining in the tour to ensure everyone knew they were leaving. There was not a single member of the tour group that was sad to see him go, including his travel companions.
Be nice, humble, friendly, understanding, and prepared as a traveller. Travel to new places to experience new things, meet new people, and learn how different people may do things differently. In other words, don’t be like the gentleman for Chicago I got to spend some time with yesterday.