Eleven persons I have met during a guided tour and you would not want in yours – warning, some may well be me!


I was born with the wanderlust gene, and I certainly prefer traveling alone. I would hardly consider going on a guided tour, one of those that lasts 2 or 3 weeks. One of the things that usually stops me from doing that is having a schedule to follow. But more than anything else, I fear the possibility of being stuck with a group of people I do not like, with whom I may have to spend my time, sit next to on the bus or the boat, share my meals and at times even a room.

Yet, there are certain places that are best (or can only be) visited with during a guided tour and with a group. Even on my recent trip that took me to Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, I don’t think I would have managed visiting the Bolivian Pampas or the Salares de Uyuni by myself. And I must say I have been usually lucky and met some very interesting people and made some good friends. Mind you, I have also had my share of bad luck in my many travels, and I have met some really wicked persons, so much so that each time the bus left I hoped they would not make it in time and be left behind.

So, here is my list of 11 persons I’d rather not have in my guided tour. Disclaimer: this list is not exhaustive but based on my experience. No offense meant to anyone.

The one who snores

I am usually so tired by the end of any day that is packed with activities when on a guided tour, that I can’t wait to go to bed and I am generally positive I will have a good night sleep, even if I am camping during the Inca Trail, or sleeping in a less than ecologic lodge in the middle of the Bolivian Pampas. That’s until the group member who snores – because let’s face it, there is always someone who snores in any proper group tour – also falls asleep, and keeps me and the rest of the group awake while resting peacefully. No pinching, touching, hissing, making noise would ever stop him. Tip: never travel without a good pair of earplugs. Likes: sleeping. Best match: a heavy sleeper, or a deaf person – aka NOT me.

guided tour

Group tour person # 1: the snorer – photo courtesy of www.fitnessvsweightloss.com

The psycho

What are the odd of having a socio or psychopath in a guided tour? According to my experience, high. This “mildly” bipolar Dr. Jekyll – Mr. Hyde group member appears to be a perfectly pleasant, witty, sociable and funny person during the day, but will turn into the worst nightmare at night, when for some mysterious reason he will start screaming and banging on walls and doors, waking me and the rest of the group up – unless the snorer has been keeping us awake already. Likes: one of his multiple personalities. Best match: one of his multiple personalities.

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Group tour person # 2: the psyco – courtesy of bitrebels.com

The one that never stops talking

Any proper group tour will have a talker. Mine all did. Some were interesting although intense, some were boring, some plainly annoying. The talker may have some good stories to tell, but who will never stop talking, even at the cost of suffocating while coughing. A proper talker will have something to say at any time, to anybody. I generally pretend to be asleep on the bus, but a good talker is hardly put off, and will soon start a monologue to the next person listening. Tip: wear the earplugs that at night help against the one who snores, and try not to sit next to the talker on the bus. Likes: talking. Best match: anybody who cares enough to listen.

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Group tour person # 3: the talker – courtesy of goodreads.com

The one who has travelled widely

This may well be me, God forbid! Each guided tour is composed of people who love traveling, and quite inevitably one has traveled more then the rest. This world traveller casually pops in each discussion a recollection of the time he has been to whichever country. The “interesting” fact about the one who has travelled widely is that her experience has not taught her to pack lightly or to evaluate how much money should be taken to dinner (ok, that is definitely not me). Likes: sharing traveling anecdotes. Best match: the talker, but only when s/he listens.

group tour

Group tour person # 4: the word traveller – courtesy of roadjunky.com

The one that checks everything on tripadvisor

Shame on me, I regularly check hostels and restaurants on tripadvisor, and even write reviews for it! But, I know that tripadvisor is not the ultimate engine to evaluate how good a place or even an attraction is. There are some, however, that before going on a group tour will check each possible hotel used by the tour operator, and base their decision on that. They won’t agree to a restaurant, hostel, attraction, service company, unless it is highly rated on tripadvisor. They will keenly read all the comments and carefully evaluate the best options, only to be inevitably disappointed that the best rated and most expensive restaurant in town had a terrible service and mediocre food. Likes: reading reviews. Best match: anybody who has sufficient means to go to the supposedly best places.

guided tour

Group tour person # 5: Mr. Tripadvisor – courtesy of intoscana.it

The picky eater

Fine, I admit I am guilty of being the picky eater (but hey, it’s only because I have so many allergies, I promise!) so I feel for any of them. I have a very sensible palate, I am lactose intolerant and I have some terrible food allergies that may cause me a trip to the emergency room. There are picky eaters who would not be so picky, but they have embraced a vegan or vegetarian diet – not too practical when on a tour of Argentina best estancias, where beef is on the daily menu. Then, there are the unreasonable picky eaters who have a real fit of rage if they are served chicken legs rather than chicken breast and ruin the mood during any meal along the guided tour. Likes: complaining about the food. Best match: the tripadvisor – he is surely able to point out a good restaurant in the middle of the desert.

guided tour

Group tour person # 6: the picky eater – courtesy of simpsons.wikia.com

The one that always disagrees

I usually take it easy when I travel – I don’t really have a strong view on what we do, and I follow the decision of the leader and the group. But there is always someone in a group tour – or at least, so it has occurred to the tours I have taken – who makes it a point to state that he’d rather do something else. Generally a shy or reserved person, the one who always disagrees spends most of the time by himself – reading his guide, taking pictures, browsing through the site on his own. He never fully agrees with the program of the tour. When everybody in the group wants to spend the last night on having some sunset drinks at the beach, he wants to shop for souvenirs. His room is too dark, but the bathroom too bright. Likes: nothing. Best match: none – he disagrees.

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Group tour person # 7: the one who disagrees would rather look in the opposite direction!

The one on a diet

I certainly don’t expect to lose weight when traveling. It is my time off, to have a good time and even one too many drinks or a bit of junk food. That’s when I take the chance to try the local specialties, without worrying about the extra weight I will be carrying home, well placed around my belly. But there are people who are convinced that there is no better time to diet than when on vacation. I am not arguing their intents, but their methods would make a nutritionist shiver. The group member, indeed, on a diet likes skipping dinner, because – so he says – his diet only allows him two meals per day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so he piles up his plate with anything in sight. In order to keep hydrated, he drinks as much as possible, preferably mocacchinos with whipped cream. Likes (but will never admit to it): food. Best match: an eating buddy.

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Group tour person # 8: the one on a diet – courtesy of 40media.tumblr.com

The alcoholic

I like a good drink at the end of the day, when I am traveling. It is rewarding after a difficult hike, and relaxing after a long day on the bus. But there are people who go on a guided tour who take their idea of holiday and relaxing a bit too far. Drinking a pint of beer while the rest of the group are having coffee, the alcoholic usually stresses that he is not an alcoholic. He goes into a rage when he realizes that there is not a single bar along the Inca Trail. He’s proudly found the cure for travellers’ diarrhea, which consists in disinfecting his bowels with conspicuous amount of margaritas. Likes: anything that has alcohol. Best match: anybody who gets him a drink.

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Group tour person # 9: the alcoholic – courtesy of cdm.drunk-smosh.com

The beauty queen

I am pretty, or so they say. But traveling is not my time to shine. I take it easy on the make up, I go for comfortable clothes, and just take a break from glamour. But any proper group tour has a beauty queen, who is hardly ever seen au natural. She is normally the first one to wake up and rush to the bathroom to fix her pretty face, causing a traffic congestion in any hostel shared bathroom. Whether touring London in search of afternoon tea or hiking through the jungle, her make up is always impeccable. I don’t pay too much attention to beauty queens, but they generally hate me because I may steal their stage at times (especially if I am the well travelled with one too many stories to share). Likes: receiving compliments. Best match: a good looking man willing to flirt, or a beauty queen wanna be that can be trained to stardom.

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Group tour person # 10: the beauty queen – courtesy of bitrebels.com

The photographer

I like taking pictures that can remind me of the places I have visited, and that I can share on social media to show my friends how lucky I was to visit those countries. But there are some who take their photography passion a bit too far at times, and for some reason, although they’d be better off traveling alone, they like joining group tours. A proper photographer never leaves without his precious bulky camera, he takes pictures of just about anything and anybody. He may detach himself from the group in search of the perfect shot, but will need help upon realizing that, while being totally concentrated on his pictures, his wallet has been stolen. Likes: taking pictures. Best match: a random local he can take a picture of.

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Group tour person # 11: the photographer – courtesy of media.digitalcameraworld.com

Now, the interesting thing of having put together a list of the people I would not want on my group tour is the realization that I may well be one of them! A good starting point to smooth down certain aspects that also make me wicked and annoying at times.

Have you ever been on a group tour? Which slightly annoying traveler are you? Which would be the most annoying group member for you?


 


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36 Comments

  • Karilyn
    26 May 2015 at 20:30

    Hilarious! I have only been on one two tours in my life and thankfully neither of them had many of the above. But there is ALWAYS a talker. A non-stop talker! and the drinker. All they want to do is know when we will be somewhere that they can drink. Great post!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      26 May 2015 at 21:19

      Hahahahahah yes. Funny enough I can’t stand the picky eaters and I am one of them!!

  • Ana
    27 May 2015 at 11:42

    hahaha so funny! True that you meet all kind of people in guided tours but this is not bad, traveling teachs you a lot about pacience and tolerance 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      27 May 2015 at 12:22

      Imagine being a tour leader and having all THOSE people in one of your groups, as it happened to me 😉

  • chrysoula
    27 May 2015 at 15:38

    Wow! I remember being on a guided tour in Edinburgh about ghosts and was one girl in the group that was totally drunk and spoiled the atmosphere.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      27 May 2015 at 15:43

      I bet!! She must have been annoying. Imagine the poor guide…

  • clara
    28 May 2015 at 15:49

    the VEGAN one is my worst nightmare baci claudietta

  • Claudia Tavani
    Claudia Tavani
    28 May 2015 at 15:58

    I led a tour of Mexico – it was actually my second trip as a tour leader. I had a group of old, upper class British people. One of them was vegetarian and she kept complaining ALL THE TIME that she couldn’t find vegetarian dishes, and that “the tour operator had known all along” that she is a vegetarian. Truth be told, all restaurants had vegetarian options – soups, salads, and one or two main courses – but she was never happy. Then again, if I told her I would scout for one restaurant that she may like, she said not to bother, that she did not want to be a cause of worry. Once I took the group to a vegetarian place. She ordered a cheese fondue and complained because instead of being served with veggies it was served with bread. Now, since when is a fondue served with veggies? I swear, I wanted to kill her!

  • Samantha
    28 May 2015 at 16:48

    I’ve been on a few group tours and on each one we had a mixture of all of the above. The Alcoholic who almost killed himself jumping off the boat, the beauty queen who held the group up because her straighteners weren’t working, the I’ve been everywhere guy who wouldn’t stop talking about his amazing life experiences and putting everyone down….I am normally the fussy eater because I don’t eat fish and certain meats! But I think it is the less annoying trait of your list 🙂

  • Claudia Tavani
    Claudia Tavani
    28 May 2015 at 16:55

    I am the fussy eater too, because I am lactose intolerant and I have some allergies 🙂 and I am all adorable, I promise you!

  • Revati
    29 May 2015 at 6:57

    Hahahah thankfully I’m none of these!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      29 May 2015 at 10:12

      Are you sure of that? 😉

  • Anna
    29 May 2015 at 22:32

    Ha ha! Hilarious post thanks for reminding me why I like to travel solo and independently – no putting up with other people! 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      30 May 2015 at 11:56

      Yeah, I agree on that. But sometimes guided tours are necessary to get to places otherwise impossible to reach!

  • Valeria @ Rome, New York, London, World
    30 May 2015 at 12:40

    I guess the beauty queen is the one that would bother me the most. Hurry the hell up, we all have to use the bathroom! I’ll add a category for myself: the one that enjoys her time alone and may come out as antisocial 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      30 May 2015 at 12:45

      That would have to be the one who always disagrees! Hehehe

  • Amanda Zeisset
    30 May 2015 at 14:58

    Great post! It just brought back so many memories of these people. For me, the one who doesn’t shut up is the worst…especially when they ask a million questions to the guide. Towards the end of the trip, I could answer all the questions for her because she had already asked them so many times.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      30 May 2015 at 18:00

      Hahahahhahahhahaha. Yup, that is annoying. Especially when she is late because she won’t stop talking. But in my tours I also came across men who would not shut up 😉

  • Travelwith2ofus
    30 May 2015 at 15:51

    Hmmm. Well that is about everyone then…lol

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      30 May 2015 at 18:00

      There is a bad tour member in all of us!

  • Brenda
    30 May 2015 at 20:15

    The absolute worst for me is the picky eater because I absolutely love food and it’s my top objective in my travels.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      30 May 2015 at 22:26

      Then I shall stay away from you!! hehe

  • Gemma Two Scots
    30 May 2015 at 23:23

    Oh this made me laugh. Craig is definitely the picky eater! You missed out ‘the blogger’ I bet we are the worst!

    Looking at the women in Cartagena, Colombia I wish I fell under the beauty queen category. The women here are pristine and always done up to the nines.

    I have real issues with the ‘selfish’ one – we have had many of them on trips in South America. One chick who crawled into bed with another traveller at 7am and giggled the whole time – GET A ROOM! More on that on our post about hostel room etiquette!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      31 May 2015 at 8:52

      Yup, I noticed that women in Colombia take the whole business of taking care of themselves a bit to the extremes. I saw them going on hikes completely made up!!

  • Tanj from A Travelogue
    31 May 2015 at 1:57

    I have met MOST of them in my years of travel! That is why, we don’t go on a group tour anymore. Haha!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      31 May 2015 at 8:53

      I think we should all do it every now and then. Take good notes, and then sell them to a good sociologist for his research!!

  • RaW | Ramble and Wander
    31 May 2015 at 4:05

    I’d be guilty of the last category, I think *gulps* which is why I usually travel alone but that is not something that I can do whilst on a fam trip somewhere.

    Re the point in the one who has travelled widely: “Best match: the talker, but only when s/he listens.” Not sure if I’ve met any talker who really listens. Most of the times they would just wait for points where they could insert their own stories and anecdotes, and then simply take over the conversation 😀

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      31 May 2015 at 8:53

      Yup, that is very much the case 😀

  • Heather Widmer
    31 May 2015 at 14:04

    Haha! There’s always “one” in every group, right?! I think I’ve just been lucky, the majority of group tours I’ve taken have been with cool people. My biggest pet peeve is litter bugs, surprisingly, I still see it on occasion and it drives me crazy!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      1 June 2015 at 9:28

      I think I am not sure what a litter bug is!!

  • Natalie Deduck
    31 May 2015 at 21:36

    You made me laugh a lot!
    And your list is totally true, I have already found many of those “travel fellows” . No doubts the snorer is the one that bothered me the most… And to be honest I think I´m the one that never stops talking 🙂
    hahahaha
    Cheers,
    Nat

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      1 June 2015 at 9:29

      Yeah but the level of annoying one can be depends on how nice one is. And I am sure you never are 🙂

  • Will
    2 June 2015 at 10:08

    Very true…I have certainly seen all of these…and im probably the alcoholic!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      2 June 2015 at 10:17

      You could be worst. You could be the snorer! 😉

  • Michael Huxley
    14 July 2015 at 21:49

    Definitely come across more than a few of these! It wasn’t a guided tour but on a recent trip with a DMO there were three ‘beauty queens’ on that with me. Stuck with them for 5 days they did nothing but complain, refuse t do activities, check their make up and pose every 2 minutes for a new selfie on Instagram! Nightmare!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      26 August 2015 at 22:19

      Oh my. Did you not consider placing a cockroach in their bed?

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