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New survey identifies world’s worst tourists

We have seen the enemy and he is us. Or so indicates a new travel behavior survey to be released Friday by LivingSocial.

Americans topped the list as being the worst-behaved travelers in a survey of 5,600 respondents, 4,000 of whom were Americans. Other respondents were in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. But even American respondents buttonholed their compatriots as the worst travelers from a list of 16 nationalities. (Canadians and Australians also put Americans in the No. 1 spot. Irish respondents pointed to UK residents and UK respondents gave Germans the nod. On the other hand, 37% of Americans opted for “none of the above” in answer to the worst-tourists question, displaying more tolerance and open-mindedness than the other nationalities.)

Other survey questions had respondents ‘fessing up to pilfering from hotels. Four in 10 U.S. survey-takers said they’d stolen something – mostly towels (28%) and bathrobes (8%). Other popular pinched items included pillows, remote controls, Bibles (!) and sheets.

Not surprising is that Americans have less time off from work than other nationalities. Americans reported getting 16 days off, compared to 28 days for the Irish, 27 days for Australians, 23 days for UK workers; and 21 days for Canadians.

More surprising is that 78% of the American respondents said they’d visited at least one foreign country and 61% said they’d been to multiple foreign destinations. (That figure doesn’t square with the fact that only about 37% of Americans possess a passport. Go figure.)

In the travel mishaps department, the most common travel disaster reported by Americans was lost luggage on an airline (21%); bad weather (21%); and getting very lost (16%).

As for places Americans most want to see, Disney World and Las Vegas made the top 10, but they weren’t at the top of the heap. And New York didn’t make the cut.

The top 10 dream destinations for Americans, according to the survey:
1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
2. Eiffel Tower, Paris
3. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
4. The Coliseum, Rome
5. Disney World, Florida
6. Las Vegas
7. Grand Canyon, Ariz.
8. Buckingham Palace, London
9. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
10. Great Wall of China, China

And finally, among the most popular celebrity Twitter users Americans would most like to hit the road with (in their dreams, anyway): 1. Ellen DeGeneres 2. Oprah Winfrey 3. Taylor Swift 4. Leonardo Dicaprio and 5. Katy Perry.

The LivingSocial Travel Survey was conducted by Mandala Research in February and was not limited to users of the online deals site.

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