Created By: BloodPlum on June 22, 2011 Last Edited By: BloodPlum on April 28, 2012

Tourists Beware

Bad things tend to happen to people when they're away from home, I.E. on vacation.

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Trope
So you're on vacation, it's a different town, city, country, some place you wanted to go and everything is new and exciting and then, s#*t hits the fan. Maybe that nice stranger you met on the street is actually part of a terrorist group and has implicated you somehow. Maybe you've been marked as an easy target for exploitation and someone steals all your stuff, or tries to sell you into slavery. Maybe someone's trying to kill you just because you're from another country. Point is, you're a long way from home and because you're on vacation, you don't know the area or aren't as cautious as you should be leads to some horrible things happening.

Truth in Television as people in other countries look for tourists in particular as they tend to have a lot of spending money and poor language skills.

This sort of thing can happen on a Road Trip or Vacation Episode, also comparable with The Tourist Trap or Hell Hotel.

Examples

Commercials
  • American Express had a series of ad campaigns in the 70s and 80s for American Express Traveler's Checks: "Never leave home without them" -- and every commercial was about somebody getting robbed while on vacation somewhere.
Films
  • Hostel: A very, very gory version.
  • Taken: Poor Kimmy, being kidnapped and almost forced into prositution, all within hours of her arriving in France.
  • Unknown: Another Liam Nelson, this time pretty much losing everything in his life on a trip to Berlin.
  • Played straight and then subverted in A Perfect Getaway, where a honeymooning couple try to enjoy their vacation amidst troubling tales of serial murder. Paranoia and self-preservation run high, and anyone could be waiting to slit their throat while they sleep. Except the main characters were the serial killers from the start.
  • This is pretty much the premise of the French movie Banzai with Coluche. The protagonist is an employee at an insurance company specialized in bringing back tourists encountering a mishap or medical emergency. The most outstanding example is certainly when a friend of the protagonist is seized by a triad in Hong Kong and repeatedly thrown from about one-story high into hard stone (if you wonder, this is Played for Laughs). The mobsters don't want to kill him, but to take advantage of the urgent repatriation to smuggle some drugs.
  • The Man Who Knew Too Little
  • The Hills Have Eyes
  • Busman's Holiday
  • Guys and Dolls (1955). In the opening sequence, a man in a tourist group is pickpocketed by a local while he's distracted. Watch it here.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park: The first victims shown in the movie are tourists.
  • Invoked, albeit in a foreign language, in the title of Turistas.
  • Fuckin' Bruges.
Video Games
  • The Davis family from Modern Warfare 3. They're on vacation in London. You take control of Mr. Davis about thirty seconds before he, his wife, and his daughter all die in a terrorist attack.
Live Action TV
  • An episode of CSI: New York discusses this when the Victim of the Week was wearing an "I <3 New York" shirt and was apparently stabbed in a mugging. The victim was mugged, but not only was he having none of it, but he was there to find his daughter (who'd been kidnapped and sold into prostitution; her pimp was able to get the drop on him with the knife the muggers left).
    • Another CSI: New York example involves a girl who befriends other girls out of state (pretending to be a few years younger than she actually is) and convinces them to come on a trip to New York with her, where they're drugged and forced into prostitution.
  • CSI example, this time from Las Vegas, involved a particularly dead-eyed gang of juvenile delinquents who beat up tourists For the Evulz, knowing that as juveniles they would face relatively short sentences if caught.
Western Animation
  • In The Simpsons, the first time Homer visits New York his wallet is stolen. He goes to complain to a cop, who steals his suitcase.
    • In another Simpsons when they went to Brazil Homer ignored the warnings, got into a gypsy cab, and was kidnapped & held for ransom.
Anime & Manga
  • Bondage Queen Kate features an inter-planetary crime syndicate that kidnaps female tourists who travel to the desert planet Dune, to force them into sexual slavery.
Literature
  • Happens in the Michael Palmer novel The Fifth Vial, which is about an illegal organ harvesting program in Brazil.
  • Discworld: What hasn't happened to Twoflower and Rincewind?
    • Inverted in Witches Abroad, as the vampire who tries to apply this trope to the witches winds up smacked in the face by window shutters and a garlic sausage, then eaten by Greebo. The witches' vacation is not disrupted in the slightest, as they never noticed it was there.
Comedians
  • According to Dave Barry, using turn signals in Miami amounts to informing Miami drivers that you are a tourist, and that they may therefore help themselves to your cash, electronics, and medically valuable organs. Similarly, he recounts three German tourists in the New York subway system who politely asked to get off, he believes they probably got let out in the Bronx where they were sold for parts.
Web Comics
  • Not quite tourists, but the principle is the same: a small town in Order Of The Stick gets wind that the adventuring party is approaching, and immediately springs into a frenzy, increasing prices tenfold and putting price tags on everything (An old guy on a porch holds a sign reading "Cryptic ramblings from an old man").
Real Life Examples
  • Apart from tourists being possible victims of crime, in Real Life they have also been the target of politically motivated terrorism, as when Islamic extremists murdered a number of visitors to Luxor in Egypt a few years ago.
  • The Bali Bombings - Terrorists bombed areas where Western Tourists (Mostly Australians, if I am remembering correctly) frequented.
  • Drug dealers trying to sell to Tourists in a country that takes a harsh stance on it like Indonesia .
  • Florida has very friendly gun laws that make most crime a risk to the criminal. To get around this, Miami has become infamous for criminals targeting people going out of the airport, as they won't be armed.
  • Popular urban legend: Couple goes to a foreign country on vacation; while they're out having dinner, their room is robbed, the burglars only leaving two things: their cameras, and their toothbrushes. They use up the rest of the roll of film and continue using the toothbrushes, until finally they get their pictures back, and discover a bunch of them are of the burglar with their toothbrushes up his butt.

Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • June 22, 2011
    32_Footsteps
    That title is already being used by an ill-fitting trope, and this trope doesn't fit it much better.

    Maybe Tourists As Targets?

    As a Real Life example, Florida actually passed a law that rental cars were to no longer be noted as being rentals on the license plates because criminals (particularly in Miami) started targeting them specifically.
  • June 22, 2011
    BloodPlum
    I actually saw, maybe we could rename that one as Tourist Location. Ohh wait, nevermind I see what you mean. Tourist as Targets sounds reasonable, though maybe something Catchier.
  • June 22, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • American Express had a series of ad campaigns in the 70s and 80s for American Express Traveler's Checks: "Never leave home without them" -- and every commercial was about somebody getting robbed while on vacation somewhere.

  • June 23, 2011
    Chabal2
    Most of these will probably involve New York or Miami, as they are flanderized into Wretched Hives.

    • According to Dave Barry, using turn signals in Miami amounts to informing Miami drivers that you are a tourist, and that they may therefore help themselves to your cash, electronics, and medically valuable organs. Similarly, he recounts three German tourists in the New York subway system who politely asked to get off, he believes they probably got let out in the Bronx where they were sold for parts.
    • In The Simpsons, the first time Homer visits New York his wallet is stolen. He goes to complain to a cop, who steals his suitcase.
    • Not quite tourists, but the principle is the same: a small town in Order Of The Stick gets wind that the adventuring party is approaching, and immediately springs into a frenzy, increasing prices tenfold and putting price tags on everything (An old guy on a porch holds a sign reading "Cryptic ramblings from an old man").

  • June 23, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Guys And Dolls (1955). In the opening sequence, a man in a tourist group is pickpocketed by a local while he's distracted. Watch it here.
  • June 23, 2011
    robybang
  • June 23, 2011
    Bisected8
    • An episode of CSI New York discusses this when the Victim Of The Week was wearing an "I <3 New York" shirt and was apparently stabbed in a mugging. The victim was mugged, but not only was he having none of it, but he was there to find his daughter (who'd been kidnapped and sold into prostitution; her pimp was able to get the drop on him with the knife the muggers left).
  • June 23, 2011
    EnemyMayan
    Film:

    Literature:
    • Happens in the Michael Palmer novel The Fifth Vial, which is about an illegal organ harvesting program in Brazil.
  • June 23, 2011
    captainbrass2
    • Another CSI example, this time from Las Vegas, involved a particularly dead-eyed gang of juvenile delinquents who beat up tourists For The Evulz, knowing that as juveniles they would face relatively short sentences if caught.
    • Apart from tourists being possible victims of crime, in Real Life they have also been the target of politically motivated terrorism, as when Islamic extremists murdered a number of visitors to Luxor in Egypt a few years ago.
  • June 23, 2011
    genewitch
    tourists beware has 5.5Million hits on the googz. alternate title?
  • June 26, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    Troll 2, maybe?
  • June 26, 2011
    BloodPlum
    Anyone else?

  • June 26, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In another Simpsons when they went to Brazil Homer ignored the warnings, got into a gypsy cab, and was kidnapped & held for ransom.
  • June 27, 2011
    oztrickster
    Real Life Examples The Bali Bombings - Terrorists bombed areas where Western Tourists (Mostly Australians, if I am remembering correctly) frequented. Drug dealers trying to sell to Tourists in a country that takes a harsh stance on it like Indonesia

  • June 27, 2011
    Bisected8
    Another CSI New York example involves a girl who befriends other girls out of state (pretending to be a few years younger than she actually is) and convinces them to come on a trip to New York with her, where they're drugged and forced into prostitution.
  • June 27, 2011
    TheFifthWall
    Discworld: What hasn't happened to Twoflower and Rincewind?
  • June 28, 2011
    Cuchulainn
    Popular urban legend: Couple goes to a foreign country on vacation; while they're out having dinner, their room is robbed, the burglars only leaving two things: their cameras, and their toothbrushes. They use up the rest of the roll of film and continue using the toothbrushes, until finally they get their pictures back, and discover a bunch of them are of the burglar with their toothbrushes up his butt.
  • June 28, 2011
    Fandom11
  • June 28, 2011
    deuxhero
    Another Truth In Television, Florida has very friendly gun laws that make most crime a risk to the criminal. To get around this, Miami has become infamous for criminals targeting people going out of the airport, as they won't be armed.
  • July 13, 2011
    BloodPlum
    Any other?
  • July 13, 2011
    MiinU
    The only one I can think of (the Jurassic Park example) is already taken. Sorry, man.
  • July 14, 2011
    Meeble
    Anime & Manga

    • Bondage Queen Kate features an inter-planetary crime syndicate that kidnaps female tourists who travel to the desert planet Dune, to force them into sexual slavery.
  • July 14, 2011
    StFan
    This is pretty much the premise of the French movie Banzai with Coluche. The protagonist is an employee at an insurance company specialized in bringing back tourists encountering a mishap or medical emergency. The most outstanding example is certainly when a friend of the protagonist is seized by a triad in Hong Kong and repeatedly thrown from about one-story high into hard stone (if you wonder, this is Played For Laughs). The mobsters don't want to kill him, but to take advantage of the urgent repatriation to smuggle some drugs.
  • August 21, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    • Played straight and then subverted in A Perfect Getaway, where a honeymooning couple try to enjoy their vacation amidst troubling tales of serial murder. Paranoia and self-preservation run high, and anyone could be waiting to slit their throat while they sleep. Except the main characters were the serial killers from the start.
  • January 15, 2012
    Oreochan
    Bump.
  • January 15, 2012
    Lawman592
    Have both versions of the movie The Out Of Towners been mentioned?
  • January 16, 2012
    SharleeD
    • Inverted in Witches Abroad, as the vampire who tries to apply this trope to the witches winds up smacked in the face by window shutters and a garlic sausage, then eaten by Greebo. The witches' vacation is not disrupted in the slightest, as they never noticed it was there.
  • January 16, 2012
    nielas
    In many crime dramas like CSI, averting this trope (at least in the public perception) is the reason why a case is given a high priority. Cities like Las Vegas, New York or Miami get a lot of tourist business and it can cost the city millions of dollars in lost revenue if there is a public perception that the city is unsafe for tourists.

  • January 16, 2012
    MysteryChild
    The Shining . Both the film and the book are examples of this.
  • January 16, 2012
    KTera
    • The Davis family from Modern Warfare 3. They're on vacation in London. You take control of Mr. Davis about thirty seconds before he, his wife, and his daughter all die in a terrorist attack.
  • January 19, 2012
    ScanVisor
  • April 28, 2012
    StevenT
    • Madrid, Spain is a veritable hive of child pickpockets targeting foreigners.
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