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
- 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.
- 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.
Live Action TV
- 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.
- 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: Crime Scene Investigation 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.
Anime & Manga
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Real Life Examples
- Not quite tourists, but the principle is the same: a small town in The 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").
- 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.