Whether you’ve done this yourself, or whether you have come across a fellow American tourist during your own traveling adventures, you’ll recognize that these behaviors really tell us apart when we’re abroad.
Although we like to think that we live in a world devoid of judgment or stereotype, that just isn’t the case. That’s because we live in a world where every single country is different, and this breeds a very specific kind of person that has their own quirks and characteristics. Due to the fact that we have so many countries on this planet, there are bound to be a few differences here and there – and most of them are pretty awesome!
Considering America has one of the largest populations that this world has to offer, it should come as no surprise to learn that American travelers take the rest of the world by storm. After all, many of us live in our own little bubble in the US, and we rarely get to leave our beloved country. But when we do decide to travel the world and see what some of the coolest destinations in the world have to offer, we realize that some of our habits are pretty confusing…
Smiling at strangers
Many people would question us as to why we are questioning the politeness of American tourists, but the question really does have to be asked. So, why do American tourists insist on smiling at complete strangers they do not know, and probably will never know over the course of their whole entire lives?!
It just doesn’t make sense to us. While other Americans acknowledge this smile with a return smile of their own, it’s safe to say that those not from the United States don’t appreciate this stranger danger. Instead of smiling back, they will return a look of disgust and put an extra step between themselves and the creepy smiler.
Being amazed by ancient history
It’s no secret that America is a baby in terms of other countries in this world, but many tourists often forget about this little nugget of information. Because of this, it’s always strange to see American tourists react to buildings and artifacts that are thousands of years old.
Their awe and wonder are like nothing we have ever seen, and sometimes we have to stop ourselves from telling them to calm down. After all, it’s just a mummified body from a volcanic eruption that happened 1940 years ago and has since been perfectly preserved ever since. You need to calm down, people.
Wearing shorts all-year-around
Let’s be honest; American tourists just love to wear shorts. In fact, most people know when they are standing in the presence of an American tourist because they’ll be able to see their kneecaps in so much detail, they could probably recite every wrinkle and freckle.
While there’s nothing wrong with wearing shorts when the weather is warm and the sun is shining, many American tourists find themselves wearing shorts when that’s not the case. Is it pouring it down with rain? Snowing in the mountains? Freezing cold at the top of a volcano? Well, you can guarantee that there’s an American tourist somewhere wearing shorts.
Saying what town or city they live in
If you live in America, there’s a high chance that you’re pretty familiar with your national geography. You might know all of your states, and you might even know a huge number of towns and cities within these states. However, the same can’t be said for the rest of the world. To non-Americans, your country is pretty confusing.
With so many states to remember and so many different areas of the country to deal with, these places all blur into one. So, when an American tourist tells us that they are from Poughkeepsie, we don’t know whether that’s in the north, the south, the east, the west, or even in the middle. Sometimes specificity doesn’t work in your favor.
Expecting people to speak English
Although there’s no doubt about the fact that English is a universal language that is spoken by millions across the globe, that doesn’t mean that every single person on this wonderful planet speaks this language.
Many American tourists don’t quite get that, and will continue to speak to those who have made it quite clear that they don’t understand English, while normally pointing and gesticulating rather aggressively in the process. If you’re one of those tourists, it might be time to put a stop to that. If you can’t learn a few words in another language, then just use your phone! Google Translate is a lifesaver, you know.
Wearing socks with sandals
Okay, so someone needs to help us out with this one. Sandals are normally bought for the wonderful summer months where you get to whip out your legs, get some sun on your shoulders, and not have to deal with hot feet when it’s already one million degrees outside. Sandals allow you to get some air through your shoes and show off your new mani-pedi, so why do so many American tourists wear socks with sandals?
Surely that completely defeats the object? Not only do they have to deal with the fact that their feet are going to be ridiculously sweaty and warm, but they also have to deal with the judgmental stares of non-American tourists who know that this is the ultimate fashion faux-pas.
Wearing Hawaiian shirts
While we know that Hawaii is a part of the United States, it seems as though those who have never even been to Hawaii just love to whip out their multi-colored shirts when they go abroad. In fact, it’s become somewhat of a tourist trademark.
Normally, this Hawaiian shirt is teamed with some cargo shorts, a large backpack, a baseball cap, and those less-than-iconic socks and sandals. If you’re one of the people who wears this outfit when they are touring it up in a new destination, you should probably know that people are questioning your life choices whenever you do so.
Asking serving staff how they’re doing
In most countries around the world, serving staff make their way to their coffee shop or restaurant and do their job while thinking of what they’re going to eat when they get home. Because most customers are too socially awkward to say anything other than the coffee they require or the food that they want to chow down, servers and customers always have a divide between their personal lives and their professional lives.
However, it’s safe to say that most American tourists come along with a giant sledgehammer of confidence and knock down that divide. They always have to ask serving staff how they’re doing, and it’s something we will never understand.
Wearing sneakers everywhere
Don’t get us wrong; we love a pair of sneakers. They are practical, they are comfortable, and there are so many amazing pairs to choose from. In fact, we’ve got a fair few pairs of sneakers in our closet right now, and we love to whip them out every now and then. However, we also have other pairs of shoes, because our lives don’t revolve around our Air Jordans.
While we’d love to say the same for American tourists, we’ve always been told not to tell lies. No matter where American tourists go, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are going to be wearing a pair of sneakers. That’s just the way they roll.
Thinking in dollars across the globe
Although we all get used to using our own currency, it’s safe to say that Americans get pretty content with using dollars wherever they go. After all, many Americans rarely have to travel outside of their own country because theirs is so large. Because of this, heading across the world and into a country that doesn’t use the dollar can be a pretty strange experience for them.
In fact, it’s often impossible for American tourists to stop thinking about how much something would be in dollars because they just can’t get out of that mindset. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s certainly something that raises a few eyebrows.
Clapping at everything
Have you ever noticed this? If you’re an American tourist yourself, you’ve probably never noticed this little trait you have. If you’re not an American tourist but have been around American tourists in the past, you have probably noticed this trait more often than you would like.
That’s because these people seem to have a real love for slapping their hands together in a rhythmic fashion. This could be because they’ve seen an adorable squirrel over in the trees. This could be because their server brought over a fresh glass of tap water. This could even be because they finished eating their sandwich before their significant other. The clapping just never stops.
Supersize their meals
It’s fair to say that everyone loves food, right? Food is even better when you get to head across the globe and try something new and exciting. While this may be something you eat once and never eat again – you know, like snails in France – it’s an experience that most people won’t be able to forget.
However, it seems as though many American tourists take their home eating habits across the globe with them. When faced with the smaller portions of the Meditteranean or tapas dishes, many ask to supersize their meals. This doesn’t go down too well with many restaurant owners in these places. In fact, it can get pretty awkward.
Using the imperial system
We don’t know the specifics behind the allergies that American tourists have, but we’re pretty sure that most of them are allergic to the metric system. In fact, we’re pretty sure that the whole country is allergic to the metric system. The people of this fine country still abide by the imperial system, which would be totally fine if any other country still used it.
However, that just isn’t the case. Everyone else has decided to adopt the metric system and live long and prosperous lives because of it. America, however, has decided to be awkward, and this sometimes makes for some difficult conversations between American and non-American tourists. How many pounds are in a stone, y’all?
Handing over a credit card
In a world where everyone seems to be at risk of identity fraud, it seems a little bizarre that American people would just hand over their credit cards to pay their restaurant bill. However, that’s exactly what they do!
Of course, this is picked up whenever American tourists make their way to other countries in the world, as most servers would give these people a strange and scared look if they were handed a credit card. That’s because most other countries will bring the card reader and machine over to the table to play it safe. So, whatever you do, keep your card to yourself.
Being overexcited about everything
Although we hate to stereotype, there’s no doubt about the fact that there’s a fairly common stereotype about American people. Yes, you probably know the one. This stereotype is that American tourists get pretty excited about everything.
If you’re an American and love to travel the world, you might be thinking that that’s pretty true. Ever gotten over-excited about a rock on the ground? Then we rest our case. Of course, traveling the world and seeing new things is pretty exciting, but we don’t think it requires you to jump up and down and clap your hands for a full five minutes.
Speaking louder than everyone else
While there’s nothing wrong with getting your voice heard, there’s no doubt about the fact that this can often get American tourists in trouble every now and then. After all, just because you like speaking louder than everyone else doesn’t mean that other people like you speaking louder than everyone else.
If you’re touring an old church or an ancient site that demands quiet, chatting about last night’s episode of The Bachelor might not go down well. In fact, you might get a few annoyed looks and some muffled shushing, because most people don’t like confrontation in the real world…
Giving a thumbs up
Are you American? Do you love giving the ol’ thumbs up when you’re content with what’s happening in front of you? Well, you might want to think twice about doing this when you’re traveling the world or visiting a new vacation destination. That’s because – although you might think otherwise – a thumbs up is not a universal sign of happiness.
In many countries across the globe, this action is actually similar to cursing at someone or giving them the middle finger. If you find yourself in one of these countries and stick your thumb in the air, you might not be leaving with your thumb intact. Just a warning.
Asking for tap water
Although most American tourists love to talk about dollar bills and think with the dollar signs in their eyes, it seems as though they’re not quite ready to splash the cash when it comes to hydration. While the rest of the world have no qualms about spending a few coins on a fresh, cold bottle of water, those from the United States aren’t too keen to do this.
They will instead ask for tap water everywhere they go and will make sure that their server knows that they don’t want bottled water. After all, it would be a nightmare if they had to pour water from a bottle. A jug of tap water is much more satisfactory, thank you very much.
Sit in the back
If you live in America, you’ll know that sitting in the back of a cab is one of the strangest things that anyone can do. After all, have you ever watched a movie where someone has hailed a cab and then sat in the front with the driver? Because of this, most American tourists take this little nugget of social interaction abroad with them.
However, this often earns them strange and confused looks from taxi drivers in other countries. That’s because sitting in the back of a cab is considered to be incredibly rude in many countries around the world. Do you want people to think you’re a snob? We didn’t think so.
Overpacking their luggage
Let’s be honest; there are three kinds of people in this world. There are those who just pack a backpack for a six month trip across the globe. There are those who pack just the right amount of clothing and toiletries for their week-long vacation. Then, there are American tourists who seem to overpack their luggage no matter where they are going or what they are doing.
Many other tourists find this pretty confusing because it just doesn’t make sense to them. Why would you want to carry so much stuff around you when you’re traveling? Why do you need three suitcases for a trip to the Bahamas?
Walking while eating and drinking
We have one big question for the American tourists in the world: Why are you in such a rush?! It seems as though those from the United States just can’t stand sitting down and having a bite to eat, or staying in a cafe for a few more minutes so that they can finish their drink.
Instead, they grab their food and drink to go, and they make their way down the street with these beverages in their hands. While this seems to work for them, it can be pretty confusing to the rest of the world. Surely you don’t want to be carrying a drink cup around with you for the rest of the day? What if there’s no trash can around?
Having a cup full of ice
If you live in America right now, we’d love to know why everyone has such an obsession with ice. Surely it just waters down your drink and leaves you with a soda that no longer tastes like soda? Despite this, you seem to love filling your cup of ice with a small portion of liquid, and you also love to take this trend across the world with you.
Of course, what you might not realize is that this is not the norm in other countries around the world. While many places do offer a small amount of ice with their drinks, asking for a glass completely full of ice will leave you with some rather strange looks.
Requiring physical space
Now, we’re not the kind of people to get all up in your grill when having a conversation with people, but one thing we just don’t understand is how much personal space American tourists require. It seems as though these guys just hate to be up close and personal with other human beings – and we do kinda get that.
Nobody likes to breathe in someone else’s exhalation, but it seems as though America tourists need more than most. This means that things can get pretty testy when you’re in group situations, such as a tour around the Golden Circle in Iceland. Instead of huddling like penguins, you have to give them a wide berth.
Showing off the flags
If you’re not an American tourist, then you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. If you are an American tourist, you might be a little befuddled. Well, let’s walk you through this. If you live in America, there’s a high chance that you pledge allegiance to the flag on a regular basis.
While this patriotism is endearing, it’s something that doesn’t really happen elsewhere across the globe. So, when you turn up to your cruise with socks that features stars and stripes, lapel pins that are obviously red, white, and blue, and a tote bag that comes complete with the national anthem, you are going to get a few funny looks.
Tipping is a huge thing in the United States, and it’s not hard to understand why. Because many servers base their livelihood on the extra service charge and tip, American citizens have got into the habit of giving these people a little somethin’ somethin’ to say thank you for their service.
However, things work a little differently across the globe, and if American tourists don’t realize this before they travel, they can find themselves looking a little silly. That’s because most countries across the globe include the service charge within the bill, which means that if you give extra, it just looks as though you’re showing off your money…
Requesting doggy bags
This strange custom actually has to be commended, really. That’s because Americans really don’t like to leave good food behind, so they often ask to take their uneaten food home in a doggy bag. While they think that this is perfectly normal behavior, it’s fair to say that most people in other countries wouldn’t agree with them.
In fact, many restaurants across Europe will turn their nose up when asked for such a thing and suggest that it’s one of the rudest things anyone can ask. Because of this, it’s better just to eat as much as you can when you’re an American tourist, or you run the risk of having to wave goodbye to your lasagne through the window.
Calling it the “restroom”
It’s no secret that Americans have their own way of saying things, but this can often get pretty confusing if you take that lingo out of the country. This is largely because there are many people around the world who just don’t get this language and the words used.
Why is the bathroom called the restroom? Is it a place you go to rest your weary legs? But what happens if you need to do your business? Do you need to hold off until you’re done resting? Using these terms while traveling around the world can get a few wires crossed, and you may be pointed in the direction of a room that most definitely isn’t the restroom.
Not drinking tea
If you travel anywhere across the globe, there’s a high chance that the country you land in will drink tea. It might grow tea leaves in the countryside, or it might just exist without you realizing it and pop up in your hotel room when you need it most. However, if you’re American, you probably don’t drink a lot of tea.
Not hot tea, anyway. When you’re not drinking iced tea, you don’t have the chance to make a proper “brew” because you rarely have kettles in your life. Because of this, most people think you’re pretty strange when you go abroad, and you don’t go loopy over the fact that there’s unlimited tea at the breakfast buffet – and with so many options! Do you fancy Earl Grey or English Breakfast?
Keeping things private
Although American people love to get excited and laugh about everything and everything, it seems as though they don’t really like to talk about themselves. Yes, it seems as though Americans are pretty modest, and this can make interacting with others pretty difficult.
When you head across the globe and make friends with those from another country, what do you talk about? It’s been suggested that Americans don’t like talking about their accomplishments in their career or even what they have achieved in terms of their financial goals, so is weather the only topic on the menu? This lack of communication can infuriate the rest of the world.
Socializing in an instant
Don’t get us wrong; we love socializing as much as the next person. However, non-American tourists can’t just drop what they’re doing and socialize with their new vacation friends in an instant. These people need to head back to their room, unpack their bag from the day, have a shower, change their clothes, catch up on an episode of Breaking Bad, and then brush their teeth before they can head back down to the bar to talk about the weather.
Yet, it’s not quite the same for Americans. These tourists don’t worry about the fact that that they’re still wearing their red, white, and blue shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, because they’re ready to go.