This is what you like to do on vacation; some of it’s not nice

2 Mar

And, oh, you steal stuff and you think Americans make crummy tourists.

That’s the portrait that emerged this week of the Angeleno/American traveler in a new poll released by Of the 4,000 people surveyed last month (with a subset of 200 for the L.A.-specific info and a margin of error of 1.5%), Angelenos ranked fifth among residents of 20 major cities in the number of foreign countries visited (New Yorkers were first, San Franciscans second) and right in the middle in terms of the number of vacation days used.


Which city’s residents used the fewest days of vacay? Cleveland. And Cleveland residents were also the least likely of the responding residents of the 20 cities to travel outside the country for vacation. Can it be that the people who live in the city at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River are just that much more industrious than the rest of us? More satisfied with their lot in life (although, as I write this, it’s 34 degrees and there is a chance of thunderstorms on Friday and snow on Saturday and Sunday)? Maire Griffin, a spokeswoman for LivingSocial who talked to me about the survey, thinks nesting may be part of it. (Clearly it’s time for me to visit Cleveland and discover its charms.)


Griffin said she was also surprised by how poorly Americans regard themselves as tourists. In the survey, 20% of respondents said the United States was the country with the worst tourists. “I was honestly surprised that we ranked ourselves as the worst,” she said. “We’re humble travelers. We know that we have a lot to learn when we go outside our country.”

We also think the Chinese, French, Japanese and Russians are poor accidental ambassadors, but we like the Irish, Swiss and Aussies.


And as for that stealing thing? Thirty-nine percent of respondents admitted they had taken stuff from hotels; they tended to rip off towels, robes, batteries (Batteries? Who steals batteries?), pillows, remote controls, sheets and umbrellas. But the second-to-the-last item on the list also surprised both Griffin and me: Bibles.

What happened to “Thou shalt not steal”?

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