The following list comes from my personal travel experience, and is written solely for entertainment purposes. There are great people as well as boneheads in every nation. This article is in no way a condemnation of all the people which come from a particular nation, but simply a commentary on common trends of those who travel abroad.
To head off any immediate criticism, I’ll start by mentioning my own home country. One will often first hear Americans prior to visually spotting them. Nonetheless, they are also normally easy to spot given their typical size and dress; normally consisting of shorts, sneakers and a Hawaiian shirt. They are often confused by why everything is not exactly same as it is at home, and particularity why not all restaurants serve hamburgers.
While living in Germany, it was common for me to hear other Americans chatting loudly on the train. While Germans prefer keeping their conversations solely between those in their immediate party, Americans broadcast their conversations to the world. In an attempt to try to avoid any association with the loud Americans, I would slouch down in my seat as they would spout out such classics as “yo bro, after last night, no more fat chicks.”
Nonetheless, I honestly think Americans overall get a way worse rap than they deserve. While Americans may be incredibly annoying or obnoxious in a given moment, they are unlikely to break laws or cause lasting property damage. The same unfortunately cannot be said about tourists from other nations on this list.
A redeeming quality of American tourists is that they are very good tippers, often adding tips upwards of 20% at restaurants where most locals would simply round up to the nearest full Euro.
During the day, the British normally come off as being very proper and polite, perhaps a bit snarky at worst. But put a couple of pints in them, and all bloody hell may break loose.
Dressed in outlandish stag outfits, and arriving on cheap Ryanair flights, the British descend down upon Eastern European cities and Spanish islands to terrorize and drink them dry. They have done great damage to the reputation of native English speakers in cities such as Prague and Riga. The worst offence being that they can be incredibly aggressive towards complete random strangers.
I have three times in three different nations been assaulted by drunk British men who were clearly just looking for a fight. These men roam the streets and think that anyone who crosses their path after 1 AM is fair game. Out of all the countries that I have visited, including places such as Albania, Russia and Ukraine, I felt the least safe walking home at night in the UK.
If you get in line behind a group of Chinese at an airport check-in kiosk, you may very well miss your flight. It is common for the Chinese to travel together by the bus load. When a Chinese bus pulls up to a local tourist attraction, expect there to be a flash mob of people holding selfie sticks. Different societal norms when it comes to cleanliness and personal space can make run-ins with such large groups very uncomfortable.
The Chinese economy has rapidly grown in recent years, giving a new middle class the ability to travel abroad. Thus lack of experience abroad is a partial defense against certain bad behavior.
Italians can seem live in their own private world, and show little regard for those around them. Unless of course they find someone in your party attractive. In that case, they will walk right up to your girlfriend and tell her that she is the most beautiful girl in the world, before immediately turning to her friend and reciting the same exact lines.
When I used to stay in a hostels, I always dreaded the Italian group that would check-in late at night. Showing no consideration for those who may be sleeping, they would enter the room speaking at full volume and then carry on chatting for hours.
When a Russian pays for something on vacation, they expect to get their way no matter what. Everything in their hotel room become their own personal property. If the food at a restaurant is not ‘perfect,’ they may refuse to pay for it.
As soon as they feel that they have any authority, they are likely to abuse it. This is probably to overcompensate for how others abuse their authority over them in their normal everyday lives.
Russians do not like to follow rules or be told what to do, especially when on vacation. Be alert if you have Russians in your group while performing more extreme activity such as scuba or sky diving. An inability to follow instructions combined with a higher comfort with risk can lead to peril.
Honorable Mention: Germans
In general, Germans are very conscientious of how their behavior affects those around them. The primary issue with German tourists is that they want everything exactly as described in their vacation pamphlet. They may file a long letter of complaint if their hotel room is missing even a single washcloth. For those in the service industry, trying to make people happy who prefer to complain is a futile endeavor which only leads to great aggravation.
Secondly, Germans may be much more comfortable with nudity than you are. So beware on public beaches.