American tourists aren’t always the best at blending in. In fact, many countries have found ways to spot an American traveler almost immediately. The truth is not many of us travel outside of the country, only 35% of Americans hold a valid passport, and only one in five Americans travels abroad with regularity.
Therefore, we tend to stand out. But there are plenty of ways to avoid looking like that stereotypical American tourist, and the first step is awareness. Read these 7 dead giveaways that you’re an American abroad from people who live overseas, and perhaps avoid them if you prefer people didn’t know where you are from.
Okay, I’m kind of kidding. You should, of course, smile while you’re traveling. You should smile all of the time. But it is true that foreigners can easily identify an American by their straight, white, shiny teeth. Braces are commonplace across the U.S., as is teeth-whitening—not at all as commonplace as other places, making it an easy identifier.
They Can Be Found in McDonalds
McDonalds biggest customer in many foreign countries, are still in fact Americans. Of course, if you’re feeling homesick, it might be nice to stumble upon something as common as McD’s. But considering you will be able to indulge in the American hamburger as soon as you’re home, it’s better to embrace the culture’s cuisine.
They Are Prude About Nudity
Compared to many Europeans, Americans are considered quite prude when it comes to showing any skin. We are notorious for being more comfortable with violent scenes in movies than we are with nude scenes. This isn’t the case abroad, thus if someone notices you are a bit shy when it comes to that naked painting in the Musée d’Orsay, they will probably be able to tell where you came from.
Tipping isn’t custom in all places, and definitely not as important as it is in America where waiters rely on their tips. However, most other countries actually make restaurants pay their employees. In fact, the mere concept of tipping is baffling to most Europeans.
They Are Wearing A Baseball Hat (Or North Face, or Uggs)
There are a few typical clothing options that Americans tend to wear and the patterns have become noticeable to those abroad. It makes sense as baseball is an American pastime, and these are almost exclusively American worn brands. But they definitely can give us away immediately.
They Think Water And Ice Is Free
In many countries, specifically in Europe, water is not free like it is in the states. In fact, in some places it’s more expensive than beer. So it’s a typically American trait to assume water is free, or to thoughtlessly ask for more ice in your drink while traveling.
There’s just something about white socks and Americans, I guess. Especially if you’ve got them pulled way up over your calves. And you’re wearing sandals.