How to Spot an American Tourist


Although I will admit that there are times where it is so easy to spot a tourist thats not American in the crowd while traveling, But I wonder how easy it is to spot us Americans in the crowd when we travel overseas.


You hear us before you see us. I don’t think we have to be overseas to be loud. I have a feeling that Americans like to show that they are Americans so they speak English loudlier than normal so people can spot them. Native English-speakers have that fuffly kinda bitchy accent


Un-naturally white, perfectly straight-toothed smiles have “U.S.A.” written all over them. The American dental experience is far superior to most first-world countries. What’s more, we love our white, straight-toothed smiles, and we flash ’em all around like the AmEx cards few non-American vendors accept. Beware that in most cultures, smiles are a rare invitation to chat, especially from women.



Ask a bunch of foreigners how to spot an American abroad, and this is the one that comes up the most often. In fact, our outgoing personalities are often startling to more reserved types like Germans and Brits. An American tourist is very outgoing and friendly; he/she would talk to people who are complete strangers, just for the sake of having smalltalk for a while.


Fanny means something sooo entirely different in British English, so beware with using that word. Secondly, fanny packs? Really? They don’t even look good in the United States, let alone abroad. They are a clear invitation for thieves, and they’ve got ‘tourist’ written all over them. Leave this fashion faux pas at the bottom of the closet where it belongs. Just FYI I own a fanny pack and LOVE it.


Others around the world mostly wear darker-colored socks. In fact, in Paris, people actually find white socks offensive. Wearing socks with sandals is generally acknowledged as a no-go anywhere, so don’t do that. Wearing white socks, especially if pulled up, is primarily associated with Americans. Europeans tend to wear darker colored socks that match their trousers.


As a proud tipper in America, I still have an internal struggle with this one every time I’m in a restaurant. (You mean I shouldn’t tip at least 15%?) Although tipping is less prevalent in Europe, it varies from country to country. One rule of thumb is to always make sure you look up the tipping etiquette for the country you’re visiting. If service isn’t included in the bill, a 5-10% tip is the standard amount for restaurant service. Anything more than that is unnecessary.


It is an unfortunate truth that American students have earned a reputation abroad for excessive drinking. Not only is this dangerous because your decision making skills are impaired, but it makes it more known that you are foreign. Keep in mind that if you wouldn’t do something at home, why on earth would you do it abroad. Just because drinking is legal, and alcohol is easily accessible doesn’t mean you need to drink as much of it as possible every night. Know your limits is you choose to partake.


English is indeed widely spoken all over the world, but not making any effort will just make everyone hate you. “If at all possible, at least say a greeting in the other person’s language, and then say, ‘Do you speak English?’ right after that, Yes, it’s likely that a lot of people, especially in touristy spots, will speak English, but the presumption that they do is really obnoxious. No need to bust out an entire language dictionary either. “If nothing else, learn how to say hello, thank you, and please



Another easy way to spot an American abroad? Proudly displaying your favorite university/sports tee. Nothing screams “USA” more than a Miami Dolphins t-shirt. Skip the logo and opt for a sleek, monochrome tee instead.

The baseball cap is the classic American fashion piece. It is not so commonly worn in other countries as an everyday item. If it is to shade your eyes sunglasses are a more popular solution abroad.


In the US people are always on the run, and grabbing a quick lunch is normal. It is not out of the ordinary to eat whilst walking down the street. However, in other countries, this is not common at all and goes against etiquette in some places.


We’re looking at you, backpackers traipsing past the  the Duomo, or through Times Square. Seriously, unless you’re on a hiking trail or deep in the woods, you probably don’t need all of whatever it is that you’re carrying. For day excursions, I suggest a canvas tote or a messenger bag which can be worn across your body.  These are pretty much universal and also inexpensive, and you won’t leave your zippered pockets vulnerable, as you would with a backpack.  If you don’t have a place to drop your bulky luggage, do some research at airports, bus depots, train stations, major tourist attractions, and even a few local hotels. Many of these spots will be able to hold your big bag for a small fee. And trust me, you’ll enjoy your destination much more if you go there unencumbered.

These are just a few examples of how, us American look when we go overseas. It’s funny even when you see people from out of town in america. Let me know in the comments if you are one of these tourist. 

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