Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

Eli Orzessek: World's worst travellers

Accent and emblem of our neighbours too close for comfort, says Eli Orzessek.
Australian mates the Budgie Nine were facing jail time for stripping to their budgie-smugglers, Malaysian flag on the back, at the Grand Prix. Photo / AP
Australian mates the Budgie Nine were facing jail time for stripping to their budgie-smugglers, Malaysian flag on the back, at the Grand Prix. Photo / AP

Twenty per cent of Australian travellers admit to being 'too trolleyed to fly'American tourists get an unfair rap sometimes - some of them even have Canadian flags on their backpacks to escape the stigma.

Perhaps we should have changed our flag after all, because some of the worst overseas behaviour can be attributed to our neighbours across the Ditch.

During my recent visit to Malaysia, the media was abuzz with the story of a group of nine Australian mates who stripped to their budgie-smugglers - with the Malaysian flag printed on their rear ends, no less - at the Grand Prix.

Unsurprisingly, the stunt didn't go down well and the group was detained and threatened with a two-year jail sentence for "intentional insult with the intent to provoke a breach of the peace".

If any of the group had done even the smallest amount of research on the country they were visiting, they would have known this would be a very bad idea.

Thanks to political connections, the "Budgie Nine" walked free in the end.

Perhaps alcohol has something to do with it - a recent survey by Cheapflights.com found 60 per cent of Australian travellers drink before even getting on a plane, with 20 per cent admitting to being "too trolleyed to fly".

It's no surprise that some of the worst Australian tourist behaviour is in their backyard playground of Southeast Asia - particularly in Bali or Thailand and other destinations popular with the Bintang singlet set.

Following the execution of convicted drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Australians started a social media campaign threatening to "#boycottbali".

A backlash from Indonesians quickly followed, with many encouraging the boycott. "Australia can #boycottbali all they want," one local tweeted, "that only means no more stupid drunks on board Indonesian airlines."

But what really rubs in the bad behaviour is that classic Aussie arrogance: "We're here and we're going to have a good time without any regard for you locals - you should be grateful we're even here!"

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy that happy-go-lucky Strayan nature. Some of the best nights out I've had abroad were in the company of Aussies - they sure know how to have a good time!

However, as I've travelled more around Asia, I've become acutely aware of the similarities between our accents and flags - and Red Peak really would've looked great on a backpack.

- NZ Herald

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Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

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