Bad behaviour by tourists – selfies and photos

Is there something that people do when they away on a holiday and they don’t think manners mean anything anymore?

It is strange. Let me tell you a quick story.

When I took my mum down along the Great Ocean Road she wanted me to take her photo at lots of the places that we went to. When we got to the 12 Apostles she went to the railing and I took a photo of her with the Apostles behind her.  She has said that I can share the photo with you, so here is my mum in front of the 12 Apostles.

We were having a lovely time and just after this I went and stood next to her on the right.

Then a man who was beside me looked at me and said “Move” and gestured with his hands to shoo me off. He wanted his photo taken with his people.

I was shocked.

In all the times I’ve been to places I have never had someone tell me to move and basically get out of their way. Believe me, there have been many times I’ve wanted people to go away or move, but I wait until they do it on their own.

This obsession with selfies is getting beyond a joke I think. Okay, you want a photo of yourself somewhere special, fair enough, but spending all your time with your back to what it is you are visiting to get the selfie shots is beyond comprehension.

I have been known to do the odd one, but I don’t need a photo of myself somewhere as some sort of proof that I was there. I have all my photos and that is enough for me.

Australians, I think, have always been told if you are travelling to another country you should learn what their rules and customs are and follow them. So we do that as part of our research. You don’t want to upset your hosts, so to speak.

However, I find many people who come to Australia don’t care what our customs and rules are. For example, if you are walking on the streets in New York you get yelled at when you walk on the left. Try walking around places here and while in Australia we do walk on the left, we also drive on the left, but so many tourists don’t do that so you are constantly running into people. The city is so bad at times. I walk around saying walk on the left, walk on the left. I don’t think anyone pays attention to me though.

I don’t know if I’m just being a pain, or whether I have any right to complain, but that guy at the 12 Apostles really annoyed me. I didn’t move and I made him wait until I was ready to go. Perhaps if he had been nicer or been polite about it I might have been more inclined to move, but the disgruntled look and the demand to move really got to me.

What do you think about people who travel? Have you had similar things happen to you? What about visitors from other countries visiting your area of the world?

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78 Comments

  1. I also experienced this behavior for the first time in my life this year in Cinque Terre. We stood at a large viewing area of the beautiful city, but with plenty of places to stand. We took a selfie and then a man came up to us and asked us to move, while I stood there and admired the view. How rude and selfless people can be!
    In regards to walking on the right or left, with tourists all over the world it can be difficult to chose a side (left or right) when you are in different countries.. I try to read what the locals do though 😊

    1. I hope it isn’t going to become something that people just do all the time. Seriously, especially when people are visiting your country. They are guests, but treat us like crap.
      I think that is a good way to go Rie, do like the locals. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  2. Totally with you, and glad to hear you stood your ground and didn’t budge to the rude man. At some point in my lifetime manners seem to have flown out the window. I really detest this selfie culture, like you I take photos of places and things, and that shows I was there, no need to be in the picture. I don’t think, unfortunately, that it’ll get any better with time…

    1. I think part of me standing my ground was also because I was just so shocked. Yes, I have to agree about the manners, they do seem to be a thing of the past. I get people might want a photo of themselves in places, but how many do they need and they need to be that rude about it. Thank you Kiki.

  3. I think the level of consideration for others is definitely dwindling. I have seen similar issues. Not many people bother to even say “move” anymore. We’ve been places here in the U.S. where tourists won’t even acknowledge your presence, but will physically push their way by you in order to get a selfie. I could get a collection of photos of people “nudging” my kids out of the way so they can take a photo of themselves. It makes me sad.

    1. Oh yes, I”ve had that too, been pushed out of the way so they can see what they want to see, no concern that I wanted to see it as well. Selfies needs to be banned, lol. Maybe they should have a special place at these places for that. Nudging kids is really horrible, we all need to start standing our ground. Thank you.

  4. Love that black and white photo of the apostles Leanne, fantastic. I see a lot of colour photos of the apostles, but not so many monochrome ones.

    I agree with selfies. I don’t really like them and agree that people seem to be getting ruder and more focussed on photos for their social media accounts than actually travelling, seeing and enjoying places. Unfortunately for them they seem to have their priorities about what’s important in life, backwards.

    I gave up with Facebook etc because of the short attention span that those platforms encourage and promote. Hopefully more catch on that long form social media, like blogs, are far more engaging for content producers and readers.

    1. Thank you Rob, confession time, it is actually a colour photo, but I think because of the time of day and where the sun was it has given that monochrome feel to it.

      I keep thinking that they could just put up photos at these places for people to do their selfies in front of. I mean do they really care about seeing the place they are there for when they spend most of their time with their backs to them.

      I have given up on FB as well, can’t be bothered and even Instagram isn’t that interesting to me anymore. It would be great to see people coming back to blogs, I think they are more personal, if that makes sense.

  5. Hi Leanne, enjoyed visiting your blog. As a lifelong Coloradoan I can appreciate your frustration with people who flagrantly ignore common rules of etiquette so that they can get what they want out of their visit: that perfect Facebook photo or Youtube Video… no. matter. what.
    Visiting the Colorado Rockies can be an exercise in frustration due to people who apparently failed first grade. They don’t how to wait in line, let others go first, follow the rules, or ask nicely. While sight-seeing, they are annoying; some are dangerous. On the road, they are deadly.
    Those who choose to take selfies with wildlife… while far too close to the animals… are the worst. They force the rest of us (standing at an appropriate distance) to watch (in case we are needed for emergency medical care) while they risk life and limb being stupid. They destroy the moment (pleasure becomes anxiety and anger). And they habituate wildlife to humans. (Animals such as bears, elk, deer and bison that >don’t< fear people will readily attack. Bears and occassionally bison that attack people might have to be destroyed.)
    Their selfie is somehow the. most. important. thing.
    They also risk our freedoms to enjoy nature and wild places the way they are: natural, and wild. Park and forest access may get increasingly limited to protect the land and wildlife from these IDIOTS.
    I think people -not- insisting on polite behavior in everyday encounters is part of why your experience happened. Those who are rude (or stupid) … yet experience no backlash… won't think twice about being even more rude (and stupid) at every opportunity. You did the right thing, to quietly stand your ground. I hope you were scowling right into his eyes the whole time.
    I might even have said, "I didn't hear please, so, no." in a first-grade teacher's voice. Or I might have softly barked, "Where are your manners?!" as my mother would have done. We all need to support good attitudes and call out the bad ones, without behaving poorly, ourselves.
    "It takes a village to raise a child" … and apparently also to ensure adults behave well.
    (Who said that originally?)

    1. Wasn’t there something in the news recently about the animal thing, a woman getting killed by a bison or something. I couldn’t agree more, thankfully I don’t have to deal with them very often. I would hate to live somewhere where the tourists visit often.
      I know what you mean about risking the freedom to enjoy those places. We have already seen places being closed to people because of the stupidity of some people.
      Thank you Linda, I think letting him know his behavour wasn’t acceptable was a good thing. I don’t think English was the guys first language if at all so not sure saying anything would have mattered.
      I have no idea who said that originally, but I love it. Thank you so much Linda.

  6. These days, bad behavior is getting more and more common. For one thing, more people are traveling, for another, many of them are from the families with no concept of manners whatsoever. Sad…

    1. I have to agree, though when you see how kids are allowed to behave is it any wonder? Yeah, manners do seem to be something from the past. Thank you Svetlana.

  7. I am so pleased you didn’t move. I mean, I know you’re not a pushover, or anything; but I also know you’re a decent person and kind-hearted… not going out of your way to be a bellend to people. I would have not only stood there, I would have deliberately spent more time there than I would have anyway. Cheers to you.

    1. I think part of the reason I didn’t move was due to shock. Not at all, I smile at people, answer questions and even take their photos if they ask me to. I don’t know if we spent more time there, but it took me a while to get past the shock of it. Thank you Matt.

    1. I guess we have to agree that there are rude people everywhere, it is unfortunate. They need to learn that saying you catch more bees with honey, did I get that right, lol. Thank you.

  8. I visited the12 Apostles in January, and took photos at the point by the railing in your photo. I saw a couple trying to take a selfie with the Apostles behind them. It is actually quite difficult to get all of that into a decent selfie photo, as the phone is too close, so I offered to take a photo for them on their phone. They appreciated this and then did likewise for me. The other people there we spoke to were mainly Australian, and very friendly. It certainly is an amazing place, as your photos show.

    1. I have taken so many photos of others for others there as well. I think as soon as you set up a camera on a tripod they think you must love taking photos and ask. I never mind, I get it, they are usually very polite when they ask and sometimes I just offer. I have been there many many times and it was the first time I had found someone who was that rude, which is good, but it was such a shock too. Great to hear you loved the 12 Apostles, they are quite amazing. Thank you Kevin.

    1. I never heard the Ugly American here, people always said Americans were loud. Though I haven’t heard that for many years. Sad to say I think I know exactly which group you are referring too and he was most definitely from it. Thank you Ted.

    2. For years I thought that tourists from outside of the U.S. were simply being rude as a way to “show us Americans” what it’s like when we visit their country. I’ve heard the stereotypes of the rude Americans, but I’ve always felt that I should treat the tourists with respect as though I was the host, so to speak. Sadly I think that mentality is dwindling, and the rudeness is becoming human behavior. And I do agree that Americans are loud.

  9. Nice shots. Many social norms, courtesies and patience went out the window in the last few years. Things people used to keep buried inside them now overflow outward in ways of selfishness, hate and greed. Some in simple ways like you encountered all the way business and government leaders only out for themselves at a heavy price to many. I’ll always believe there are more good people than bad. I just underestimated the numbers of bad before this. Best of luck encountering those who might hold a door open for you. Or smile and say hello or have a nice day. Node to those who don’t try to run you over in a crosswalk. Thanks those who pick up something you dropped and give it to you, or those wait patiently for their turn. We can only do our part and hope it rubs off. I’m sure there are a number of rude and selfish tourist from the U.S. I’ve also encountered rude tourist from other countries here while working in our nations capital. I think it comes down to being taught and remembering respect throughout the day.

    1. I must admit I am one of those that smile at strangers and say hello, if people need help I offer it, especially when trying to find their way around the city. I don’t like rudeness, but you can bet I will be rude to those who are rude to me. I don’t understand where people have started to think that kind of behaviour is okay, but like you said we see examples of it in the people we are meant to look up too. Like you, I like to think that most people are good, so I don’t run into these rude people that offten, thank you goodness. I wonder how much social media is to blame for it? Thank you for your thoughts on it Mike.

  10. I don’t get it either, Leanne. Like the 12 Apostles were going to move if he didn’t get his photo taken quickly? That’s just plain rude.

    1. Exactly, he only needed to wait for a few minutes and I would have moved on, but apparently being rude is the way to go these days. Thank you Lois.

  11. I had a similar-but-very-different experience in a Kyoto attraction. Two people scouted a spot for a selfie, and then one of them stood there with arms spread as the other went to gather the rest of the family for a group photo. No waiting at the side so that others could take a photo until the group had gathered.

    1. Wow, I haven’t heard of that before, that is something, like someone standing in a car park waiting for the car. I think people need to relearn that politeness and good manners will get you a long way. Thank you for sharing that.

    2. That said, a lot of people smile and offer to take a photo of you on your phone at all places. So rudeness is not the norm, it just sticks out.

    3. Exactly, I’ve been to the 12 Apostles so many times and that was the first time I had come across someone that rude.

  12. Rudeness is not acceptable in any culture. His mistake. I think the walking on the wrong side could be ignorance. Perhaps street signs to educate tourists? Down side to living in one of the most beautiful places in the world! 😉

    1. I don’t know Rebecca, you would think that people would realise when they are on the road, we are lefties here. Is it ignorance, or arrogance? I don’t know, but it would be good if people did some research first maybe. Perhaps you are right, maybe it is that. Thank you for your thoughts.

    2. All along the great ocean road there are signs everywhere saying drive on the left, I think they have had problems before, plus, the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car, you would think that would give them a clue, lol

    3. I bet it often people from the US because they’ve most likely not seen a country in the Americas that drives in the left because there are so few.

  13. If I may say, Leanne, the jerk who demanded that you and your mum move needed an uppercut to the jaw. How incredibly rude! He may be an American. God bless your mum! ❤️😊🇦🇺

    1. He deserved something John, not sure what. I’m not violent, but still, I didn’t move. He wasn’t an American, but definitely part of a growing group of very rude tourists. Thank you John. He didn’t ruin the whole trip.

  14. Ugh, there’s nothing worse than rude tourists. I travel a lot and I try my best to fit into the local environment and treat everyone with respect. We all have bad days, but wow!!

    Recently in Costa Rica at a beautiful beachside coffee stand, there was a woman complaining that she couldn’t get her vanilla latte. She was so upset about and I just thought to myself, you are in one of the places with the best coffee in the world, try something new! Also, she definitely could have gotten a vanilla latte, she just was not willing to ask. If more people opened their minds and stepped out of their comfort zone when they travel their experience would be so much better.

    1. Your story reminds me of the movie Shirley Valentine where Brits travel to the Greek Islands but don’t want to try the local cuisine and want what they get at home. Surely trying the food is part of the experience. Starbucks was a massive failure here, especially Melbourne because people here didn’t like their coffee, we have great coffee here, but there are still a few Starbucks here, but they are in places where the American tourists can find them. Thank you for sharing that Alicia.

  15. I have seen and experienced plenty of obnoxious tourist behaviour in my time but your particular anecdote connects to what was a first for me this summer. I was on a boardwalk at a beach sitting on a bench just minding me own business. A young couple came to the railing that separated the boardwalk from the beach and were taking photos of each other posing. Out of nowhere, the young man said to me, “You need to move”. Just that. No please. No explanation for his request. Just that order. Because all I did was stare at him, he then offered, “You need to move because you are in the shot”. Now these were clearly not professional photographers and it wasn’t a formal modelling session. These were just two people taking photos of each other at the beach. Call me crazy but I think when you are taking photos in a crowded, public space, you need to accept that other people are going to be caught in your photos. I know that I can find it annoying too but I just either wait for people to move out of shot or I accept it. I have never thought to ask that someone move let alone barked it like an order. The thing is too that, had this man politely approached me and asked me to move (although there was not an alternative seat for me to move to), I actually might have agreed to at least briefly move so he could accomplish the shot he was after. However, because he had approached me in such an abrupt way, I chose not to comply with his request. I am sure they thought I was some kind of miserable, grumpy, middle-aged witch but maybe they will also reflect on how to better handle such a situation in future.

    1. They are every where Laura, these rude people. I just couldn’t imagine asking people to move so I could take a photo. I would wait and hope they moved. I am glad you stood your ground. It seems politeness and manners have gone out the window these days. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. I feel the same way in many ways. People are so self absorbed these days, the Me Society. It isn’t everyone, but it only takes one to make your day bad. Thank you Ceci.

    1. I feel the samw way Sue, I remember waiting for over half an hour at a waterfall waiting for two girls to stop taking selfies of themselves. We wanted to do long exposures and needed a still platform, but they kept moving around for their photos. I mean how many photos of themselves did they actually need. Thank you Sue.

  16. New Yorkers are rude by nature! In my U.S. travels rudeness has not been the case. I will never put a toe on French soil again. We couldn’t get a cab to take us from the airport to the train station when there were cabs lined up. We had to take a bus. We got on the train just in time only to find others in our seats. They wouldn’t move when I showed them my tickets. Finally someone decided to help. He talked to them, they got up. They were in the wrong car!

    1. I have heard that the french can be rude, especially if you don’t speak french. Good reason not to go there, lol, though I was never going to go anyway. Glad it was all sorted.
      I didn’t mind the rudeness of New Yorkers, they made sure you did what you were told and how the city ran, but here no one does it, and walking down the street you are constantly running into people. Thanks for sharing Anne.

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