I know this topic could be misunderstood and polemic, but I believe that everybody here is clever enough to understand my words and give good advices.

Last April, I came from a trip to Brazil. This is the third time I go to South America (Peru 2006, Argentina 2008 and Brazil 2013) and in all my trips I have had problems with Israeli groups. This time the problem was a very impolite use of the shared hostel room (smoking inside the room, music at 4am, etc). Obviously it's not a "prejudices" problem, because I didn't know they are from Israel until I speak with the hostel manager. She said that this is very common and she always try to not mix Israel people with other travelers.

And the most important, what to do? This time I talked with the management and they tell me to move to another room. I did, but I would like to avoid this situation in my next trip before it happen (and no, to use a non-shared room is not an option :) because in Argentina the problem was during a 8-hours bus trip).

EDITED to ask only one question: I don't understand this behavior but I would like to know what to do to avoid contact with impolite groups of Israeli people in South America.

  • 5
    I think the "unpolite" part of the question is very tricky. I imagine a Japanese asking "Why are Americans so uncultured?" Maybe rephrasing your question to find differences in culture that become so apparent is better than labeling it as unpolite.
    – uncovery
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 10:13
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    @Dirty-flow which question is not constructive? I believe I'm not generalizing when in the title I have written SOME in capitals....
    – Ivan
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 10:21
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    @Geeo some people in their worst are better than some in their best... Commented May 2, 2013 at 10:23
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    I think it could be an interesting question if it's not targeting a specific ethnicity but it just asks for advices on how to deal with unpolite guests in a hostel dormroom.
    – Geeo
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 10:33
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    @Geeo I believe that "unpolite guests in a hostel" is a question that was asked before in stackexchange, my question is about that specific group of people, because I'd like to understand what happens in their mind to have this behaviour or if that's normal in Israel or if nothing of this is possible, how to avoid the contact with them... I don't want to avoid visiting south america for this.
    – Ivan
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 11:19

2 Answers 2


As someone who travelled a lot and stayed in many hostels let me say I also saw similar behaviour in many places, not only hostels but also on buses and at tourist sites. This is not limited to South America, but also happens in South East Asia and India.

When speaking to Israelis who travel alone and are usually a little bit older they confirmed my observations and are ashamed of their countrymen and try to stay away from Israeli groups themselves.

In many cities in South America there are hostels specifically for Israelis, while certain other businesses refuse to deal with Israeli clients at all.

My thoughts on the reasons:

Any group of people travelling together are prone to do their own thing and care less about other travellers than people travelling individually.

If the group consists of young men (and also women) in their early 20s, its even more common to party and "misbehave".

If you go to any beach holiday resorts in the Mediterranean or places popular for binge-drinking you will see tons of young Germans, Brits, Dutch and Danish (among others) people 'misbehaving' badly. The same is true for North-Americans at spring-break in Florida or Mexico.

So why do we travellers see this mostly with Israelis? All young Israelis have to do military services for three years (women have to do two years). After this time (which is very regulated as in any army) many of them just don't go to the beach for a few weeks, but take six or twelve months to travel around the world (mostly in cheap places because they haven't earned much money yet). In many cases with their friends from the army.

So imagine you are young, just did three years of hard military service and now travel with your friends in foreign countries and want to have fun. You don't give a s**t about anybody else.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like their behaviour and I think they should be more considered, but I'm trying to explain where I think they are coming from.

As for what to do about it?

Hmmm, I don't have a good answer.

As I said before I talked with single Israelis about this and they all agreed that this behaviour puts all Israelis in a bad light.

Maybe talking about this with a single person out of the group by himself may help. Ideally you find another Israeli person to do this talking, as sometimes any criticism of Jewish people may be interpreted as Anti-Semitism (which has nothing to do with it).

  • The bazaar have have traveled. :)
    – Karlson
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 19:38
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    The problem is common to "young" people of many groups. But the Israelis DO have a particular issue with their military service. Apparently the answer to the OP's question is to stay in hostels that don't cater to Israeli's.
    – Tom Au
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 22:52
  • Thanks for your reasonable answer. I didn't know about this 2-3 years of military service and the gap year they take.
    – Ivan
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 10:25
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    many of them just don't go to the beach for a few weeks - No they don't. :) But sometimes...
    – Karlson
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 14:31
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    I'm from Israel (a bit older, in my early 30's) and I hate this behavior as well. as other said, many Israelis are traveling after their military service for long times to relatively cheap places such as South America so that's why You see so many of them. but I bet that this behavior is the same for any other kind of group of young people. after all, it depends more on their attitude than where they're coming from. Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 12:44

First of all, I think you did good when you said SOME in your title. This will save your question from being closed ;)

Second, in some areas of the world smoking in public places and indoors is tolerated unlike Europe and speaking loudly or making noise in the middle of night is just ok, such as in the area these group came from. People from these areas and some other areas around the world who do not travel a lot tend to behave the same way as they behave back where they live. I think if you talk to the management and the management talks to them they will understand and will stop this. I do not recommend you talking to them because this could lead to some unexpected reactions from such groups, including physical and verbal assault.

One more thing, these kind of experiences are to be expected for travelers, you can not expect everybody to perceive the same behavior as polite or as civilized as you do. Enjoy :)

  • Well, in Brazil and in Israel smoking is forbidden, so they know that her actions are ilegal.
    – Ivan
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 14:29
  • @Ivan Smoking is prohibited everywhere, but tolerance is different from one place to another.. Commented May 2, 2013 at 23:19

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