Surefire Ways To Spot An American Tourist From A Mile (Or A Kilometre) Away

The United States is a beautiful country with lots to see, but it’s only one tiny piece in the grand scheme of the world. That’s why so many Americans travel elsewhere. They want to experience other cultures, see beautiful old buildings, or just lay on a sunny beach.

Like it or not, American tourists have made a name for themselves around the world and it isn’t always a good thing. Apparently, Americans are notorious for some major fashion faux pas, but they’re also known to be some of the best at tipping. Read on and see how many of these you did on your last summer vacation.

Terribly Tacky T-Shirts

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It’s almost a running joke around the world that Americans are obsessed with buying terrible t-shirts from every tourist place they go. Then, of course, they love wearing that shirt to other tourist traps.

That’s why you’ll see a “Chicago Zoo” or “I Climbed The Eiffel Tower” t-shirt in Japan.

Fanny Packs Galore

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We’re not talking about the trendy fanny packs that Millennials all around the world are making fashionable again, we’re talking about your dad’s fanny packs. The one made of space nylon and had 14 different zipper pouches.

Americans are so obsessed with losing their wallets, they sacrifice all common sense for the fanny pack.

Shorts, All The Time, Anywhere


Unless they’re skiing through the Alps, Americans will wear shorts at any time on vacation. It must be something in our minds that equates a vacation with shorts, even if the weather or the place doesn’t call for it.

Going to London, England in December does not mean you should pack the cargo shorts.

A French Fry Obsession


Servers around the world agree that it’s almost a guarantee a tourist is American if they order French fries. The world loves French fries too, but not as much as American.

Many servers even say their restaurant only has them on the menu to cater to American tourists.

White Travelers Socks


Seriously, this isn’t a joke. Americans are the only ones who wear white socks. In Europe especially, darker socks are more common. In some places like Paris, locals actually consider white socks offensive.

It’s weird that Americans refuse to wear white after Labor Day, but they’ll parade around in white socks with no issue.

Extra Pearly White Teeth


Perfectly straight, blinding white smiles is another way to spot an American tourist from a mile away. Americans are obsessed with dental hygiene, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t the worst thing to be obsessed with.

It’s just especially noticeable in places like Great Britain where imperfect teeth are normal.

They Could Care Less About The Football Match

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Or, in American lingo, the soccer game. If you walk through any town outside of America during the World Cup, you’ll see locals and fans going nuts.

The family of four hiding in the back of the restaurant without a clear view of the television is guaranteed to be American.

Clapping For Everything


Americans get this bad reputation for being extremely rude, but they also love to clap about just about every minuscule accomplishment on vacation.

They’re always the one to start the clap when a plane lands safely, or if their food comes out at a restaurant flambéed. We get it, let’s move on.

A Love Of Tap Water

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Americans are used to getting a cold glass of free tap water at a restaurant, but that just isn’t the case around the world.

Even though the tap water in Europe is better to drink than in Flint, Michigan (what’s up with that still?) it’s common to pay for and drink mineral bottled water.

Three Words: The North Face

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There’s just something synonymous between Americans and The North Face apparel. I guess Americans just love a good down-feather puffer no matter where they travel.

In 2012, The New York Times even said that The North Face accounted for more than 1/3 of outdoor clothes that Americans own.

Eating On The Go


In many countries around the world, eating a meal is considered an event, and in some places, it’s even sacred. Dining is meant to be savored and shared with other people.

If you see someone walking and eating a donut, hot dog, or of course, french fries, then there’s a good chance it’s an American.

Baseball Caps Everywhere


Baseball is the American pastime, so this makes a lot of sense. Still, ball caps just aren’t common around the world. The closest is in some Asian countries like Korea where designer ball caps are flaunted.

But if you see someone with a Red Sox or Dodgers ball cap, they’re most definitely American.

Ice, Ice, Baby


Americans like things to be as cold as possible. Maybe with all their nice dental work, their teeth can handle a bucket of crispy boys.

An American tourist is guaranteed to ask for ice in a glass of water or a cup of soda, and don’t even think about serving them a warm beer.

Sniffing Out The Closest McDonald’s

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They can be surrounded by fine and unique dining, but Americans will still always sniff out the nearest McD’s.

I’d like to hope that Americans go to McDonald’s around the world to try the unique menu items that are served outside of the United States, but they probably still just order a good ol’ Big Mac.

Only Speaking English


There’s a running joke around the world: What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? American.

The United States is one of the few countries that don’t care all that much with teaching their population language skills. Around the world, two or three languages is a basic requirement.

The Loudest In The Room


People around the world agree that when it comes to spotting an American in a crowd, you’ll hear them before you see them. Maybe Americans are used to talking over each other like their politicians, or maybe they are just born with extra strong vocal cords.

Whatever the reason is, it’s noticeable anywhere.

Slumpy Clothes


Don’t get me wrong, a lot of American’s know how to dress to impress, but they don’t do it on vacation. Spot an American by the slouchy, untucked pocket t-shirt and jeans.

Oh, and of course if they’re wearing dark jeans it’s a dead giveaway. Most people around the world either wear light-wash jeans or a slack if they want to be more formal.

Overdrinking To The Max

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People all around the world love to drink, and many countries even out-drink America per capita, but there’s something about being an American on vacation that means they can’t hold their liquor.

Many foreigners can spot an American because they’re the ones as drunk as a college frat boy.

A Greater Appreciation For Surroundings


A lot of the stuff on here sounds bad, but Americans are the ones who don’t take anything for granted. In Europe especially, many locals take it for granted that they live right beside an ancient cathedral or beside a huge monument.

Americans might look funny gawking at everything, but at least the sights are getting the appreciation they deserve.

Talking To Absolutely Everyone


Once again, Americans might have a bad reputation, but they’re some of the friendliest around when it comes to traveling. They’ll talk to anyone and everyone.

Yes, sometimes it’s all about them, but it’s still an outgoing and friendly personality that you don’t see as much around the world.

Walking, Talking Ancestry.Com


The United States is a nation built on the backs of immigrants, which means many Americans like to travel to places around the world that their ancestors are from. If they have a family member from that country, they’ll be sure to tell you.

“My great great great grandfather was from Ireland.” Great.

No Respect For Basic Pedestrian Laws


Europe, in particular, runs on the basis that everyone here understands how the rules of the roads work. There’s no jaywalking because there are too many cars, so don’t try.

And why do Americans think that the bike lane is actually their own private walking lane? No. It’s for other, more efficient travelers!

Asking People About Their Accents


Since American’s don’t speak other languages, the person they talk to usually speaks English in a thick accent. There’s nothing American’s love more than to point out and compliment your accent.

And then they love to ask if you can say something very specific with your accents.

Tipping Is A Dead Giveaway


It’s not common around the world to tip, that’s a very American custom. Any server knows that if they can figure out the table is American before the bill, then they could end up with some nice pocket change.

How do they know it’s an American table? Because they’re already discussing how much to tip.

Thinking People Care What State You’re From


You can figure out exactly who is an American tourist because they’re the only ones listing off a state. No one cares whether you’re from California or Wisconsin.

Americans have no idea of the different states in Germany or provinces in Thailand, so why do they expect others around the world to care?

Thinking Everyone Knows Each Other


Look. Just because you had a roommate in college who has a sister that lives in Brazil, doesn’t mean everyone you meet in Brazil might know her. My mother once spent a summer exchange in Miami, but does everyone there know her? No.

It’s almost as if Americans forget how big the rest of the world really is.

’90s Slang Isn’t Out Of Style


The rest of the world got over the ’90s as soon as the year 2000 hit. For some reason, that just didn’t happen in America. Or, it did, but they revert back to a simpler ’90s state when traveling abroad.

Everything they see is “rad” and “totally awesome.” Maybe every American is actually from Long Beach.

Getting Lost


Every tourist is bound to get lost once or twice when traveling, that’s completely normal.

What’s so obvious about a lost American tourist is that they have no idea how to read a map, are clearly unequipped to deal with efficient public transportation, and of course, they can’t ask for help because they don’t speak the language.

Overconfidence Is Not The Worst Thing


People around the world have to give it to Americans, they definitely have a positive attitude even in light of the worst situations. They always have a “can do” and “anything is possible” type of attitude.

The overly positive and sometimes naive attitude must stem from their Manifest Destiny days.

Everything Is An Entity


It’s almost as if they don’t realize just how big the world is. Americans will say “oh, I’m in Europe” or “I’m in South America.” Well, those are some pretty large places.

No one else would travel to San Francisco and post on Facebook “I’m in the United States!”