Non-Americans Share the Hilarious Ways They Can Spot American Tourists Abroad
From their love of corndogs to their obsession with CrossFit, it’s no secret that Americans have some unique tastes and habits. Of course, when they’re at home in the US of A, all their cultural quirks and patriotic pastimes seem perfectly normal. It’s when they’re traveling abroad that they truly stand out from the crowd.
Redditor u/Xark_Oasis asked, and fellow Redditors responded with the most common ways to recognize an American tourist from a mile away. Prepare to laugh at these hilarious responses.
Celebrating the Wonders of the Past
Americans often find themselves awestruck when faced with artifacts and relics that are more than two centuries old. It’s as if their minds can hardly comprehend the fact that something has survived and endured for such a long time.
Perhaps this is because, in the United States, few structures have been around for more than two hundred years. In a world filled with technological advancements and modern marvels, it’s sweet to see US citizens so dazzled by the wonders of the past.
No Volume Control
Have you ever enjoyed the gentle ambiance of a museum? The place can be thoroughly crowded, but all you hear are a few faint murmurs as people gaze at the ancient artifacts and treasures. Unfortunately, many Redditors reported that American tourists don’t seem to be able to read the room on such occasions.
Instead of quietly absorbing hidden stories of the past, many Americans feel the need to loudly narrate their inner monologue as they stroll by the exhibits. They’re disarmingly cheerful, but have they not heard of volume control?
Always Representing Their Alma Mater
College is a time of growth, learning, and memories. For many, it inspires great pride in the institution that made it all possible. Perhaps that’s why we so often see Americans wearing college t-shirts, sweaters, and caps long after graduation.
It’s a way for them to show their school spirit and express their loyalty to the place that has given them so much. However, to the outside world, it seems like Americans are a little too obsessed with their college days.
The American Urge to Tip
Do you know that Americans try to tip everyone, even in countries where tipping isn’t a thing? As good-natured as this gesture is, there’s a problem – tipping can be seen as insulting in some cultures.
Tipping is a unique social norm that varies from place to place. In some countries, it demonstrates respect and kindness, while in others, it’s viewed as an insult. So, here’s a tip for American tourists: check out the tipping etiquette before you head to another country!
Bathrooms and Restrooms and Washrooms – Oh My!
Americans are a polite bunch, so when they want to use a public toilet, they often ask for the nearest bathroom, restroom, or washroom. These words distance them from what they plan to do in the toilet, thus sanitizing the request. However, it’s hilariously confusing to non-Americans.
Here’s the consensus from non-Americans: Do you want to take a shower, lie down, or powder your nose? If so, go ahead and ask for a bathroom or powder room. If not, you should feel perfectly comfortable simply asking where the toilet is!
Obedience vs. Freedom
Americans love to remind the rest of the world that they are the “land of the free and home of the brave.” This is perhaps why so many travelers are amused to see Americans obediently removing their shoes at airport security, even when there are signs clearly stating that you don’t have to do so.
Some habits are hard to break, and for Americans, this one is a doozy. However, it leaves the rest of the world confused about why they’re so keen to have their socks searched.
Assuming Everyone Knows Every Inch of America
When Americans meet someone new, they rarely just say they’re from the US. Instead, they often proudly proclaim the state or city they call home. While this makes sense if you’re from somewhere famous like New York or San Francisco, it can leave people confused if they’ve never heard of the town mentioned.
Whether it’s the culture, the climate, or the history, Americans are fiercely loyal to their home states and cities and proudly declare it when introducing themselves. Celebrating regional pride is lovely, but when meeting fellow travelers, it’s best to start with information they’ll definitely know!
Americans Are Friendly to a Fault
Okay, no one’s going to criticize Americans for being friendly – it’s a wonderful trait that many people admire. However, in some countries, people find it odd that Americans ask so many personal questions of baristas, restaurant servers, and retail workers.
Of course, that doesn’t mean American travelers should stop! Though their friendliness may be surprising to some, it’s one of the more endearing qualities that make people smile when they think of American tourists.
Talking to Strangers
Americans are well-known for their confident and daring attitude when it comes to having conversations with strangers. Whether it’s in their home country or abroad, they are not scared to ask anyone on the street about anything.
One Redditor spoke about watching, wide-eyed, as Americans approached complete strangers in his country and started conversations he would never even think of initiating. Their fearlessness is remarkable, but we wonder if it’s gotten any Americans in trouble!
The Infectious Cheerfulness of American Travelers
Have you ever felt the contagious energy of American tourists when traveling? They always seem to be in a jovial mood, with beaming smiles and radiating positivity. Tourists from other places, on the other hand, appear more neutral or even unhappy.
This stark contrast showcases the infectious joy that Americans possess when they’re out exploring the world. Their cheerfulness may make them loud and boisterous, but it’s nice to see Americans having such a good time on their travels.
Why Are Americans Obsessed with Ice?
It seems that the rule in America is that a thirst-quenching beverage should always come packed with an overabundance of ice. Since people in other countries prefer to leave as much room as possible for the actual drink, American traveler always needs to make ice a special request.
Americans seem to be single-minded on this point – ice makes for a delightful and refreshing drink. So next time you’re craving something cool and delicious, channel your inner American and ask for extra ice in your drink!
The American Adoration of Cheese
In America, cheese is for food what ice is for drinks. It has the magical ability to elevate the flavor of almost any dish. From pizza to pasta, salads to sandwiches, cheese seems to be every American’s go-to ingredient for adding a creamy, flavorful touch to food.
In American supermarkets, there are aisles filled with an incredible abundance of cheeses. There’s even sprayable cheese in a can! While this sounds perfectly normal to US residents, the endless requests for cheese are decidedly strange to foreigners.
Americans Are Always in a Rush
Americans are known for their “go-getter” attitude, and it’s no surprise that this extends to how they take their coffee. While in Europe, most people take time to savor and enjoy their coffee at the café. However, Americans usually request to-go cups. This indicates the Americans’ preference to be on the move and always in a rush.
To-go coffee has become a prominent part of American culture, with coffee shops providing many options to suit individual preferences. Whether it’s a cappuccino, americano, or latte, Americans can easily grab their supersized coffees on the go and continue their busy day.
Adorably Puzzled by the Metric System
Only three of the world’s 195 countries still use the imperial system: Liberia, Myanmar, and the United States of America. Even Canada and the UK have figured out the metric system, but Americans are still hopelessly attached to inches, feet, miles, pounds, and degrees Fahrenheit.
With a few basic conversions, you can easily understand and participate in conversations using imperial or metric units. All you need is a conversion calculator, and you’ll be able to comprehend either system in no time!
European Store Hours: Not What You Expect!
Are you surprised to learn that most stores in European countries close by 7 pm? You’re not alone! Many American travelers assume that stores remain open late or even 24/7, but this is often not the case. This is one of many surprises waiting for Americans who venture away from their culture that never sleeps.
In many European countries, you’ll find that most stores close earlier than expected, making it important to plan your shopping trips accordingly. Don’t be caught off-guard, Americans – know the store hours in the European country you’ll be visiting!
The Art of Facial Hair Maintenance
Be it a soul patch, a handlebar mustache, or a full-on beard, Americans know how to maintain their facial hair with incredible precision. Whether they’re prepping for a holiday or just keeping up appearances, their grooming skills never disappoint.
It’s no wonder that every time we see Americans abroad, we’re always impressed by the neat beards and mustaches they’re rocking. Who says looking good can’t be effortless?
The Fashion Faux Pas of Americans Abroad
From bright Hawaiian shirts to cargo shorts, some Americans tend to dress like they are ready to explore the Amazon rainforest while traveling abroad. This fashion faux pas is a common sight in European cities, where tourists often opt for comfort over style.
Whether it’s a lack of cultural knowledge or simply a desire to stand out, this US-specific tourist look can be spotted on the streets of many foreign destinations. To truly blend in with the locals, it’s important to dress appropriately. Investing in a few timeless pieces is a great way to look chic and travel in style!
White Socks for the Win!
Nothing says cool and classic like white socks paired with sandals! Whether you wear this winning combo with shorts, jeans, or a skirt, socks and sandals will add a timeless look to any outfit. Well, that’s what a good portion of North America seems to think anyway!
If you want to up your socks-and-sandals game in true American style, opt for bright white socks and pull them all the way up. You may get a few odd looks from other travelers, but you’ll be carrying on a classic American tradition.
They Insist on Pedestrian Rights
Americans are accustomed to pedestrians having the right of way, expecting that cars will stop when they cross the street. Sadly, this is not the case in many places around the world. Indeed, one Redditor noted that in their country, a car could run you over without the driver thinking twice about it.
This is an unfortunate and dangerous reality that pedestrians must face, and it’s one that needs to be addressed. However, we’re not sure that the American tourist approach of simply strolling out into traffic is the ideal way to create change!
Ketchup Lovers Unite!
Do you love ketchup? Does your heart flutter at the sight of a bottle of tomato sauce? Are you one of those people who request ketchup no matter what you’re eating? Then you’re probably American!
From french fries to hot dogs, burgers to chicken wings, ketchup is the perfect partner for any American meal. It can be found on every restaurant table in every corner of the country, so it’s no wonder Americans expect it when they travel.
American Travelers and Their Incredible Resistance to Cold Weather
It’s a cold winter day, and everyone is bundled up in their warm coats, scarves, and hats. But then, there is that one American who seems to be untouched by the chill of the season, walking around in shorts and a t-shirt as if it’s nothing!
This unstoppable American is clearly not intimidated by the cold weather and has an undying enthusiasm for life. Whether it’s playing in the snow or enjoying a hot cup of tea, nothing can stop this American tourist archetype from experiencing the best of winter.
Everything Is Amazing
Do you find yourself marveling at the simplest of everyday occurrences? From the vibrant colors of a rainbow to the lush green of the grass, Americans love pointing out the obvious and acting like it’s amazing.
People from more sedate cultures often raise an eyebrow at their endless exclamations, but it’s also lovely to see Americans marveling at the miracles of nature. We aren’t critical of this tourist trait at all, but we do still find it amusing.
Not Making an Effort with Pronunciation
Americans are famous the world over for making no attempt whatsoever to pronounce words the right way, leading to miscommunication and confusion. If they bother to learn a few words of another language, American tourists often pronounce those words in their own super-American way, making them unintelligible to locals.
These mispronunciations can lead to misunderstandings, but at least they give everyone a laugh. If you’re an American reading this, try not to feel too offended. Instead, make an effort to pronounce words in other languages correctly when you travel!
Complaining About Portion Sizes
Are you feeling unsatisfied with the small portions you often get at restaurants? Do you feel like you’re not getting enough bang for your buck? If you answered yes to these questions, we feel confident in guessing that you’re American.
Americans come from the land of supersized everything, so we can’t blame them for being shocked and appalled at the serving sizes in other countries. We guess the only options are to be satisfied with less or buy two meals at a time when traveling!
Americans Smile at Everyone
Redditor u/thewidowgorey put her hand up as an American traveler with some info on how people spot her when she’s overseas. She spent a lot of time wondering how people could tell she was American before she said a word. The answer? She smiles at everyone.
A friend filled u/thewidowgorey in on this interesting fact. She never wore socks with sandals, didn’t don safari outfits, and brushed up on local tipping etiquette, but the friendly smile she offered to everyone gave her away.
Revealing Their Innermost Secrets to Strangers
Americans have an uncanny way of connecting with strangers. While this is lovely, some foreigners are taken aback by how willingly Americans will pour their hearts out to bartenders, taxi drivers, and fellow tourists.
Perhaps it’s this sense of anonymity that prompts Americans to share their most intimate secrets with people they may never see again. Unloading our troubles on strangers is a quintessential American trait – and it’s not hard to guess that someone is an American if they start spilling their heart out to a complete stranger!
Popped Collars and Backwards Baseball Caps
Do you want to show your American pride? Look no further than the classic baseball cap – just be sure to whip it around, so it’s shading your neck! It’s the ultimate symbol of American culture and has been the go-to accessory for decades.
Even when we’re overseas, wearing a baseball cap will mark us as Americans. If you want to really stand out in the customs line or taxi rank, wear a polo shirt with your backwards baseball cap and pop the collar.
Americans Applaud Everything
Clapping is an essential part of any performance, and it’s always appreciated. However, Americans have earned a reputation for applauding inappropriately in movie theaters, on planes that land smoothly, and when listening to pre-recorded music.
We must put an end to this unnecessary clapping and show our appreciation for the performers in a more responsible manner. Let’s celebrate the talent and hard work of our favorite artists by cheering for them in the right place and at the right time!
The One Thing Americans Can't Hide
If you’re from the USA and trying to keep a low profile, you may have to update your slang. But here’s one thing you don’t have to worry about: “Bro” is no dumber than any other term of endearment used around the world.
So don’t feel embarrassed about saying it – it’s no different than “mate” in Australia or “bruv” in the UK. The little differences in language are what make us unique and interesting!
Fanny Packs for the Win
When we venture out of our home country, it’s often tempting to take the same security measures we do in the States. However, it’s important to remember that traveling abroad requires a different approach to keeping your belongings safe and secure. Fanny packs are the perfect solution for this!
They may be convenient, but they also make you stand out from the crowd in a way that screams, “I’m American!” Of course, this isn’t a bad thing, so feel free to rock your fanny pack. Just don’t call it a “fanny pack” in Australia or the UK – you’ve been warned!
Puritanical Ideas Still Dominate American Thinking
Americans love to have a good time. However, the nation’s puritanical roots still have a profound influence on what’s considered acceptable. As such, Americans often stand out in Europe due to their horrified reaction to sexual depictions in art.
An example of this can be seen at art galleries, where visiting Americans might express disapproval at a figure’s lack of clothing in a painting by Raphael. It appears that in America, we strike a balance between having fun and exercising prudence.
Wearing Shorts When No One Else Is Wearing Shorts
Americans love to express themselves through their clothing, especially when it comes to shorts. Whether it’s a scorching summer day or a cool autumn evening, shorts are the perfect way to show off your style and stay comfortable if you’re an American tourist.
In India, however, shorts are typically seen as an item of clothing for children, so a grown man in shorts may seem comical. Even as close to home as Mexico, people often comment on how easy it is to spot an American tourist – just look for the people wearing shorts!
Saying “Soccer” Instead of “Football”
Americans aren’t entirely indifferent to the global obsession with football. The problem is that we use the term “football” to refer to Gridiron. For this reason, most Americans use the term “soccer” to refer to what the rest of the world calls “football.”
We are not saying either word is right or wrong, but we will tell you that football fans notice when you use the word soccer. They notice, and they know immediately you’re an American tourist.
Walking While Eating
We learned earlier that Europeans can always spot Americans by the takeaway coffee cups in their hands. Well, it seems this logic extends to food as well. While people from cultures across the world prefer to sit and enjoy their meals, Americans love getting a bite on the go.
Walking while eating is a habit that is often seen as distinctly American. So if you’re a US resident who’s out exploring the world, why not try doing things the local way once in a while? You might discover a new appreciation for food!
Refusal to Even Try with the Metric System
We mentioned earlier that people can spot Americans a mile away by their need to convert everything to the imperial system. However, there’s another level to the story. Not only do Americans need to convert everything to imperial, but they also refuse to give the metric system a chance.
This stubbornness was recognized by many Redditors who noted that Americans often get surprisingly defensive about the imperial system. Do you think it might be time for America to catch up with the rest of the world and switch to metric units?
Seeking Out McDonald's Wherever They Go
Traveling abroad can be a great experience, but why go to all the expense just to eat the same food you would get at home? Many Americans seem to disagree with this sentiment, as McDonald’s is one of the most popular restaurants among US expats around the world.
In fact, locals can tell if someone is from the US just by asking, “are they eating McDonald’s?” – a testament to the power of the golden arches. McDonald’s abroad provides expats with a taste of home and fries on the side!
Goodbye Germs, Hello Hand Sanitizer!
Americans aren’t obsessed with cleanliness, but they sure do love their hand sanitizer! When it comes to eating out in public, there’s nothing quite like the convenience of a trusty travel-sized bottle of Purell.
No matter where you are, you can feel safe that germs won’t be following you around. Just remember that every time you pull out your pocket-sized Purell, you’re telling everyone in the vicinity that you’re an American tourist.
Expecting Everyone to Speak English
The United States covers more than 3.5 million square miles, and in all that space, one language dominates: English. Of course, there are plenty of other languages spoken by immigrants to the US. However, many Americans still grow up with the idea that everyone around them naturally speaks their language.
Perhaps this is why Americans seem so exasperated when they go to non-English-speaking countries and discover that people don’t speak English. This expectation that everyone should speak English is uniquely American, and according to Reddit, it has not gone unnoticed!
Shouting Across the Room - Is It Really Necessary
Talking louder can definitely be effective when trying to get someone’s attention, but it is not always necessary. Unfortunately, Americans have yet to master the art of the “inside voice.”
If you want your accent to be the only thing that gives you away, you’ll need to learn to use your inside voice. It can be a great way to show respect in various settings. So next time you feel the urge to shout, take a deep breath and think twice. You never know who may be listening.
Treating Other American Tourists Like Best Friends
Nothing brings US citizens together like an unexpected reunion abroad! From a distance, it may appear to be a family reunion, but these are complete strangers. When two Americans cross paths, there is an undeniable joy in the air as they share stories of their home states.
Conversations get louder and more animated, and everyone around them is sure to know they are from the United States. This is another one of those traits that’s more adorable than annoying.