The US state department's bureau of consular affairs has apologised after suggesting on Twitter that unattractive Americans should be wary if a good-looking local offers to buy them a drink.

As part of its "#springbreakingbadly" series, targeting travelling students, the department warned those who were not considered attractive in the United States to be vigilant if someone offered to buy them a drink in a bar overseas - as it was likely to be a scam.

The tweet read said "Not a '10' in the US? Then not a 10 overseas. Beware of being lured into buying expensive drinks or worse - being robbed. #springbreakingbadly".

The well-meaning warning attracted plenty of criticism and ridicule on social media.

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The offending tweet was later deleted and the department issued an apology.

Another deleted tweet warned travellers about making friends overseas.

"Meet your mate online and now he needs you to send him money overseas? It might be a scam- don't fall victim to it!" it said.

@TravelGov has tweeted out several other pieces of travel advice in the #springbreakingbadly series, most of it quite obvious.

- nzherald.co.nz