Top Ten Things Not to Do Touring Overseas



The inspiration for this list is my current tour of Scotland. I figure I will only have one chance to use this list so I’m going for it. I hope you like it.

10 If you are touring overseas, do not try to plug your phone charger into a socket without an adapter. if you do, at best it won’t work. At worst, forcing the connection may cause your phone to be damaged. (Now what are you going to do with a melted phone, Herb?)

9 If you are touring overseas, do not ignore the pedestrian crossing signs. If you do, at best all the brakes will be in good condition. At worst, you’ll end up on the hood of a cab driven by Tiny the WWF champ who has just received his license back from too many accidents. (Now, the collision didn’t kill you but there is no guarantee after Tiny is through with you, Burt. He looks pretty mad too.)

8 If you are touring overseas, do not ask the local restaurant if they have Big Macs. If you do, at best they may not understand you. At worst, they will serve you yesterday’s food rescued from the can out back. (You tipped your hand on your gastronomical sophistication huh, Bosco?)

7 If you are touring overseas, do not try to pay with American money. If you do, at best you get an exchange rate of 30%. At worst, you will not find anyone to take the money and the police will be called as you try to leave the establishment. (You should have checked before ordering that big dinner, Putz)

6 If you are touring overseas, do not expect everyone to speak and understand English. If you do, at best you will be doing without a lot. At worst, in trying to communicate you may inadvertently use a phrase who’s essence is perceived to put a curse on the person. (I guess you are wondering why the formally calm person is running at you with a large sword huh, Buford? Don’t worry you have your NIKE’s on but I would get moving.)

5 If you are touring overseas, do not take aΒ picture of anyone without asking permission. If you do, at best they won’t notice. At worst, you’ll snap a picture of a major political figure who doesn’t want anyone to know he is where you captured the photo andΒ who he is with. (Yes, Ferd. It is complicated and now your camera is gone. Those guys were big.)

4 If you are touring overseas, pay attention and heed warning signs. If you don’t, at best you’ll survive the day. At worst, the sign that asked you to mind the path is but a memory as you are being chased by the queen’s security force.(Good thing you have those Nikes huh, Bunky? Of course, that stun dart is starting to slow you down as you Β can’t feel your feet.)

3 If you are touring overseas, do not litter. If you do, at best a gentle person will remind you. At worst, you just threw down a paper in front of the leader of the Militant Litterer Crushers. (Sadly the paper isn’t that tasty is it, Bud?)

2 If you are touring overseas, do not ignore the local rules of tipping. If you do, at best you’ll get away with one faux pas. At worst, you may have lost luggage, poor service, and soup that is only 89 % spit-free.(You may have saved a little in the short run huh, Leroy?)

1 If you are touring overseas, do not try to navigate the cities and countryside without a map. If you do, at best you’ll be able to ask directions. At worst, you may end up hopelessly lost and a perfect candidate for the pirate press gangs roaming the land. (Okay so there are no press gangs Stew. It sure is dark in this ally though, isn’t it?)


I am still overseas and will try to keep up with comments but apologies if I get behind.


  1. Gwen Plano · ·

    #6 brought back a memory. I was living in Japan and fondly called a child my “little pumpkin.” The mother was horrified, resulting in a lot of explaining. I learned the hard way about such phrases. LOL Have fun touring today!

    1. Thank you, Gwen. I can imagine you and the mother getting that straightened out. πŸ˜€

  2. I am currently in Europe, John – France to be specific and the last of the six countries we’ve been in. I have a list of ten reasons why not to visit Europe in the summer – coming up on a post when I get back! Enjoy Scotland! Bet it’s cool!

    1. I’ll look forward to your post. It is very cool. The weather is nice and cool too. πŸ˜€

  3. Or not tip – as the case may be!

    #11 – Holland only – don’t look at pedestrian stop lights when you’re on a bike. I had a near collision yesterday when a Dane started biking (the bike light was green) but then came to an abrupt halt when he noticed the pedestrian light was red. He now thinks Dutch are super friendly and speak awesome English. Ha! Ha!

    1. Good one, Dena. Thank you. πŸ˜€

  4. Great suggestions, John. Number eight reminded me of a trip to Venezuela. I thought I was ordering lobster, but ended up with some sort of animal brains.

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks, Jill.

  5. #3 reminds me of what I was told about Singapore. Spitting in public is met with a caning or whatever it’s called. They’re really strict about littering over there.

    1. Gum chewing is outlawed too. Thanks, Charles.

      1. I think I heard of that. Guess it helps to keep things clean. That caning thing has me worried though.

  6. I hope you’re taking all of your own advice to heart, John, while enjoying your trip!
    This was a fun list. I especially liked #6. You’re so clever πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Mae. πŸ˜€

  7. I kind of knew it was coming, and the post still found new ways to crack me up.

  8. Terrific John… hope you are having a wonderful time… look forward to hearing all about it.. xx

  9. Another excellent list, John. Hope you enjoy your tours today!

    1. Thanks, John πŸ™‚

  10. 6 If you are touring overseas, do not expect everyone to speak and understand English.

    Especially in Scotland. No one speaks English there.

    I once asked a German what language a group of footballers were yelling at each other. He asked me to guess. My best guess was Basque. He told me they were from Edinburgh.

    1. Ha ha ha. I can see that, Greg.

  11. Glad you’re enjoying yourself, John – still waiting for that kilt pic.

    1. Still too windy. πŸ˜€

  12. HaHa, guess this is what they mean when they say When in Rome do as the Romans do, right, John?! Great list — and I’m sure you haven’t violated a single one, especially with Tiny on the loose!

    1. I have been good, Debbie. πŸ˜€

  13. In the days before dual voltage power supplies. we had a rather expensive laptop returned to us for “repair” – “it was working fine when I last used it…” I wish Tiny had been working for me at the time.

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks, Dan.

  14. janhawke2014 · ·

    Ah! The joys of cultural exchange in the British Isles! Even though we are (mostly) a United Kingdom your language comprehension of the Queen’s English may vary greatly between geographic regions, or in some instances, just around the corner…
    WE’re a diverse little island and in Scotland the English sounds difference in Edinburgh, the Highlands and especially in Glasgow (or Glasgee depending on the time of day & how long the pubs have been open)! πŸ˜›

    The Scots are a friendly, forgiving bunch though – just stay off the subject of the Jacobite Rebellions 😎

    1. Thanks for the tip about the rebellions. I found Scottish independence to be a touchy one as well. πŸ˜€

  15. So many ways to interpret that sign, John, and they’re all golden.

    And sometimes, I wonder if #8 isn’t the same thing?

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks, Phillip.

  16. dlfinnauthor · ·

    Have a great trip. You covered all the bases with your list and cracked me up.I found you you couldn’t take a picture of your country’s embassy, either… Having a good pair of Nikes needs to be on that list πŸ™‚

    1. I decided on Rockports. Thanks for the tip on the picture. πŸ™‚

  17. Touring Scotland, eh? One of my favorite places! I can add a couple based on my own tour of Scotland. We had a tour director. He HATED me. I’ve never had a situation like this before or after (except that one girl in second grade who tripped me on purpose). So on purpose he put my family of 4 in a tiny room and gave the big rooms to groups of two. It was his job to put the people on the tour in the rooms of the hotel. So rule #1, never tick off the tour director, either unintentionally or intentionally. rule #2, never pull that string in a public bathroom. The master of ceremonies for the upcoming show of Scottish music and dance will rush in to save you.

    1. I have wondered about that string. Thank you, Luanne. πŸ˜€

  18. Love them! And, I loved what Luanne added to your list. πŸ™‚ Keep having fun, John!

    1. Thanks, Jan. πŸ™‚

  19. I thumbed my way (whilst giggling) through this post during lunch as well. Being that I am so lousy with texts, I waited on a reply.

    I can’t help thinking Number 9 is an homage to Paul McCartney. Tiny gave it away . . .

    As for Number 1, too late! Where were you when I needed you!

    Funny man, you have done it once again. Do you EVER really take a vacation?! Be safe and well.

    1. Thanks, Pilgrim. I think you are right. I never take a vacation.

      1. Don’t be too hard on yourself, Sheriff. Those images tell me you are having a great time.

  20. Great post, John. These are very amusing. Hope you are having a lovely holiday.

    1. Thank you, Robbie. I am. πŸ˜€

  21. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here is another great Top Ten List from John Howell’s blog. This one is on what not to do when you’re overseas.

    1. Thank you, Don. Looks great.

      1. I may be going overseas, so it was helpful. I could see me doing some of these things πŸ™‚

      2. Ha ha ha. I doubt it.

      3. Well, now I will re-frame them as a list of challenges πŸ™‚

      4. There’s an idea.

  22. Hahaha! I’m glad you took Tiny to Scotland with you. Hugs.

    1. Thank you, Teagan.

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