At times tourists have a bad reputation, especially in popular tourist destinations. There are some common stereotypes that are associated with tourists from different countries and Americans unfortunately often have a bad reputation. Though these are broad generalizations it is better to avoid the negative associations.
Avoiding these stereotypes will help you blend a bit more when abroad. There are other benefits to trying not to look like a tourist. Safety and keeping your belongings safe while traveling is important because in some places, tourists are prime targets for robberies. Blending in with the locals makes you less conspicuous.
If you are American, your accent is hard to hide, but there are some other ‘typically American’ things that you can try to avoid. Taking the time to learn about the country and culture before you travel will help stop you making common travel mistakes.
Here we look at some things that often make Americans stand out abroad. They are not all bad by any means, it is just good ideas to bear in mind when traveling.
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.
Cargo pants, zip off trousers and clothes made with quick-drying material are good for outdoor activities or hiking. In urban areas though, they scream tourist.
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.
The type of jewelry you wear is more dependent on taste than culture. However, statement pieces such as men’s diamond rings can be associated with American culture. This is particularly true in poorer countries where jewelry choices are more low-key, or where people cannot afford flashy expensive styles.
Walking While Eating
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.
Not Understanding the Metric System
This is not obvious depending on your perspective, but if it comes up in conversations then it is a definite American trait, as the majority of the world uses the metric system.
Soccer vs Football
Football is hugely popular across the world. American’s refer to it as soccer.
Being Very Friendly and Outgoing
Americans, in general, are often more outgoing than people from other nations. Where the local people tend to be more reserved, Americans come across as very loud and talkative in social situations.
It is a common stereotype that Americans speak very loudly. Whether it’s on the phone or just on an everyday conversation with friends, they generally speak louder than is customary in other countries.
Wearing a fanny pack instantly indicates that you are a tourist. No one seems to wear one at home, just when they go on holiday.
Going on holiday abroad is an exciting opportunity to explore new places and learn about other cultures. It is often easy to spot an American abroad, but there are things you can do to look less like a tourist. To make the most of your trip it is better to be respectful of the local traditions and culture, and try and fit in as well as you can.