7 Worst People You Meet on Vacation — and How to Deal With Them, According to Etiquette Experts

Don't let their poor behavior ruin your trip.

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Travel, no matter how far, is a pleasure. You get to explore somewhere new, dig into delicious local foods, and perhaps even make a few new friends along the way. But let’s be real: Sometimes, your fellow travelers can get on your nerves. But rather than let these few instances of poorly behaving tourists ruin your entire vacation, we thought we’d both acknowledge that they exist and then go to the experts to find the appropriate ways to approach them if they're truly wrecking your experience.

The Slow Poke

Where You’ll Meet Them: In line. Any line — from airport security to boarding a plane, and getting on the resort’s bus to the hotel's check-in counter. This person is never prepared for anything. And they don’t notice they're holding up the rest of you, either. 

How to Stay Calm: Try to keep things in perspective and remember this could be the person’s first vacation in a long time, or ever, and they may not know the ins and outs of travel. "This is tough if you're dealing with people who rarely travel, the silver set, or TSA," says Lisa Grotts, an etiquette expert in San Francisco. As for the particular case of airport security lines, Grotts points out, "There are ways around this; membership has its privileges. Get to the airport early, and join Clear or Global Entry to skip the long lines." 

The Seat Saver

Where You’ll Meet Them: By the pool, likely at the crack of dawn, laying out towels across all the good chairs. Then, they’ll disappear for hours on end, leaving you wondering if that seat is taken. 

How to Stay Calm: Don’t make this your problem. Instead, alert hotel staff. "You should try to handle any problems with grace and civility, so it's never a good idea to confront the 'offending party,'" shares Laura Windsor, an etiquette professional. "Always let the hotel staff deal with these types of problems. They should be skilled in the art of diplomacy. Advise a person of authority on how you feel.”

The Loud Neighbor

Where You’ll Meet Them: In all likelihood, you won’t ever meet this person. But you’ll surely hear them through your hotel room’s walls. They’ll be the one blasting music or the TV at all hours, yelling from the bedroom to the bathroom for something, or staying awake until the sun comes up while doing all manner of activities. 

How to Stay Calm: Again, this is another example where you should call someone for help. You don’t know what confronting the person may look like, or even if they'll care. "Call management, and send someone to deal with the disrespectful guest," says Grotts. 

The Bar BFF

Where You’ll Meet Them: Right when you go to order your favorite beer, cocktail, or wine, this person will appear and want to talk your ear off — all night long. 

How to Stay Calm: It’s OK to be a bit blunt here — not rude, but honest. "There's nothing wrong in letting someone know that you'd like to be alone or don’t feel like talking anymore," explains Windsor. "It’s how and what you say that makes all the difference. The tone of voice and your body language are some of the most important components in communication." Windsor adds, "With a kind heart, you can almost say anything without offending. Try adding in a few key phrases like, 'I’m terribly sorry, but if you don’t mind...' or 'I don’t mean to be rude...' to help defuse the situation."

The Way Too Relaxed Parents

Where You’ll Meet Them: All over the place: at the hotel pool, lobby, restaurant, museum, or wherever they feel they can get a break for a minute and let their kids be free, even if you happen to be silently enjoying the moment, too.  

How to Stay Calm: This is where giving a little grace is key. "There's no magic to caring for your children. It requires 24/7 attentiveness, especially at a resort with many people and copious activity," says Grotts. If things do get a little out of hand, it’s OK to calmly ask them to quiet down, or if you’re not comfortable with that, simply move to a new location, if you can.

The Chatterbox 

Where You’ll Meet Them: Many places — from an all-too-chatty airplane seatmate to the aforementioned barstool BFF to the person talking their way through a tour, interrupting the guide whenever they get the chance. 

How to Stay Calm: If you’re on a tour you’ve waited months to take and someone just can’t keep their comments to a minimum, Windsor says it’s OK to quietly pull the guide aside to make your feelings known. Or, if you can politely redirect your fellow traveler, all the better. "If the chatterbox is talking to you, invite them to listen: 'I think this is quite important, shall we listen to what the guide is saying?' Inviting someone to do something is the politest way to get someone to do what's appropriate — in this case, to stop talking," says Windsor. "Always use 'we' as opposed to 'you': 'Perhaps we should be quiet as I believe this is a sacred place.' Naturally, accompanied with a kind tone."

The Snap-happy Influencers

Where You’ll Meet Them: By the pool, near a cool piece of art, at overlooks, in museums, at parks — essentially anywhere you may be attempting to soak in the surroundings while they ask you to wait so they can take their photo. 

How to Stay Calm: "If they're impeding you to take photos of the same sites, let your concerns be known to the tour guide and allow them to deal with it," says Windsor. However, she adds, these influencers come with a major upside, too. "If they love taking photos so much, perhaps ask them to snap some of you as well until they get so fed up that they move away every time you show up!"

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