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15 of the most obvious ways to spot an American tourist as shared by non-Americans
These are spot on.
Colby Maxwell
12.02.21

American tourists have international stereotypes – it’s true. Still, that doesn’t mean that they are all bad, it just means we are pretty easily identifiable whenever we travel abroad. Depending on where you are, different countries can tell you are a tourist from a few specific behaviors. Are some of these a bit embarrassing? Absolutely. Are most of them true? Again, absolutely. Let’s look through 15 of the best ones we could find on Reddit.

1. Loud and proud

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This Redditor’s reply was rather telling. Americans are notoriously loud. Maybe it’s because so many of us are Italian?

“Americans are very loud, I swear you have loudhailers hidden in your clothes somewhere.

Over 40, the tourists tend to be more on the very overweight side, but the women still wear yoga pants and the men always have a combination of button up shirts and loose fitting cargo shorts. And both men and women wear baseball caps and Oakley’s or sunglasses similar to that style; with white trainers.

Under 40, you’re very friendly, in a way that’s both endearing and creepy. When we chat I feel like I’m being indoctrinated into a cult.” – ScoObySnax

2. Jungle exploring

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It’s true, seeing an American dress up in FULL explorers gear to go get bread in France is truly hilarious. How dangerous can the urban European metropolis be?

The way they dress. For some reason Americans abroad dress like they’re doing some hard core exploring in the Amazon…even when they’re just visiting a European city.” – jackofharts94

3. Descended, not from.

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American’s typically don’t say they are “American”. Most of the time it’s a list of random European countries that they learned about from their Great Nana or a 23&Me test.

“Hey oh you’re [Irish/Scottish/Italian/etc]! I’m [same] too!”

“Oh really? Whereabouts you from?”

“California. My great great great grandpappy was from here though!” – Deleted

4. Ancient history

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Since America is such a young country, anything more than 200 years old is REALLY hard to find in the states. In Europe, it’s so common it isn’t novel.

Amazed by things which are more than 200 years old, presumably because they don’t have many things that old in the USA.” – Dusepo

5. Being… nice?

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It looks like Americans may be nicer than other people around the world? In the south, at least, Americans are always polite, even if they don’t like you.

Saying “hi, how are you?” to the barista, servers, retail workers. My country doesn’t quite have that culture so I find it really sweet.” – tomayto_tomaahto

6. Regionally minded

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This one likely comes from the fact that Americans don’t interact with other countries that often, only being bordered by two. Also, America is so large that saying “America” isn’t very useful (unless you are in a different country).

“When they introduce themselves they never say they’re from America: mostly the state/city they’re from.” – hazily

7. Portion control

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This one makes sense. People typically eat more in America, it’s pretty well documented.

They complain that the portions at restaurants are too small.” – TheBenji300

8. Socks and Sandals

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This one is criticized even in America. The classic “socks and sandals” look is often known as a “dad vibe”.

“They wear white socks pulled all the way up.” – grittypokes

9. A mixture of it all

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This Redditor brought a few things we’ve already seen but includes a “tell” for teenagers.

“In my experience, any combination of the following:

white socks
wearing a sun visor
Talking incredibly loud
Their phone will be on a belt loop
American teenagers are usually better at blending in however, so the trick with these guys is to wait until you’re in a restaurant, at which point they’ll make their presence known by complaining about the local food.

In terms of positives however, I find most American tourists are incredibly friendly and sociable, they usually have no problem talking to strangers and striking up a pleasant conversation, something we Europeans never do with each other (this is also another “tell”, but it’s one we should adopt).” – the_drew

10. Lack of language

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Most Americans can ONLY speak English – it’s a pretty bad stereotype that is, unfortunately, true.

Expecting everyone to speak English and/or not wanting to learn the local language.” – Dusepo

11. A good one for a change

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This foreigner has some GOOD experiences with the Americans that came through! Gotta say, this isn’t true of all Americans, but it’s how many Americans feel about people in NYC or LA – many people are too hot to be real.

“I remember I was a small kid in Tijuana. They were typically a lot more good looking than the local population. The girls were hot as hell. The Marines that would come around from San Diego looked like superheroes and made these other guys look like sh*t.

We’d get European tourists as well but the American ones looked bigger and kind of stronger. Especially the military guys, like something out of these Marvel comics, at least the ones in their twenties.

All buff, tall, etc.

The military tourists were always very friendly to me and made me want to be like them when I grew up, which is why I’m going to enlist in the USMC a few years after college, haha.

Very friendly, generous people, very funny too.” – JFMX1996

12. Excitable

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This may make Americans look naive, but is it really a bad thing? Being in a constant state of wonder about the world?

They get over-excited over very ordinary events and say things like “OMG look that grass how green it is!” – tajmer

13. Spot the European

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Here’s a flipped one! This American can always spot the European from how red they are from the sun. Gotta wear that sunscreen!

“I always felt embarrassingly underdressed when traveling in Europe.

On the flip side, as a native Arizonan I can always spot the European/English tourist because they will be bright red.” – DeadSharkEyes

14. Extra information

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As this individual explains, Americans always include extra information where in other countries (middle eastern ones, in particular), a yes or no is more valued.

Many of the things we say loudly, includes many irrelevant details. In Israel, no one gives a f*ck about irrelevant details. “Yes” or “no” answers are of high value in middle eastern culture; but in American culture we like to tell you all about why something is or that our daughter got married last year or our cat has diabetes.” – spaghatta111

15. Fanny (both meanings)

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A fanny pack is usually a dead giveaway that someone is from America. Also, just using the word fanny is one of the biggest insults in most other English-speaking countries.

“F***y usually means something completely different in other English speaking parts of the world!” – 8thzaw

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By Colby Maxwell
hi@sbly.com
Colby Maxwell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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