20 Things American Tourists Do That Confuse Other Countries

20 Things American Tourists Do That Confuse Other Countries


When you travel from the US to another country,
you mostly try your best to blend in, right? You know, when in Rome, do as the Romans do?
But I can’t tell you how many times my friends abroad tell me about the weird (excuse me)
funny things American tourists do! Now, before you pelt me with rotten lettuce, I’m not
saying every American traveler does these things. They’re just some innocent observations,
and it’s all in good fun! 1. Wearing sandals with socks
Uh-oh! Someone call the fashion police! Americans in general don’t really care much about all
these style “rules” and prefer to wear whatever’s comfortable – even socks with
sandals! (I know, the horror!) And if you think about it, it’s not without its advantages.
You get an extra comfy cushion between the top of your feet and the sandal band, and
your feet don’t get as dirty! Hey, practicality is always trendy in my book! 2. Smiling at strangers
No, the stereotype of Americans constantly walking around smiling ear-to-ear is far from
the truth because that’d just be creepy. But if I hold the door for someone, share
an elevator, or just make brief eye contact with a stranger, I’ll flash a quick grin.
It’s just our way of showing that we’re friendly and mean no harm! Plus, if I’m
abroad, I’m probably on vacation having the time of my life. I sure ain’t gonna
be walking around all sour-faced! And ignoring all rules of good speech. 3. Asking waiters and cashiers how they’re
doing In the US, it’s totally normal to make small
talk with a waiter, cashier, receptionist, anyone really! And either person usually breaks
the ice with a “How are you today?” You can answer with a “Fine, thanks!” even
if you’re not, give your thoughts on last night’s football game, or make a comment
about the weather. No harm, right? But, yeah, I’ve gotten some weird looks after using
this really American greeting while traveling abroad. 4. Waiting to be seated at a restaurant
The whole “restaurant host” thing isn’t as big elsewhere as it is in the US. So some
American tourists will confuse everybody by standing near the entrance and waiting to
be seated. It’s weird for locals and embarrassing for us once we find out we can just take any
available seat! 5. Not understanding metric units
Oh, come on, you can’t judge us too harshly if we ask a local how many miles or feet some
museum is from where we’re standing. The US is one of the few countries in the world
that hasn’t switched to the metric system, so that’s just how our brains are wired.
The same goes for asking someone what the weather is gonna be like. If you tell me “23°C”
I’m not gonna have a clue how hot or cold that is. But that’s what online unit converters
are for! 6. Being amazed by sites that are over 200
years old When I think of historical sites in my country,
I usually imagine something like The Statue of Liberty or Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
But this 266-year-old building isn’t really all-that “historical” when you compare
it to, say, the Colosseum in Rome or the Taj Mahal in India. Those places are ancient,
and we don’t have anything like them. So, yeah, it’s amazing! 7. Talking really loud
“You know ‘em before you see ‘em” is how one of my European friends described
American tourists. People from other countries usually prefer to speak in a hushed voice,
at least in public places. That’s why talking loud is really a thing that makes Americans
stand out in a crowd. What really gets me is when tourists speak louder and louder when
a local doesn’t understand them. Because, ya know, increased volume breaks down language
barriers! Uuuh-huh… 8. Wearing funny shirts
I see a lot of bizarre graphic tees here in the US, so I’m sure some Americans walk
around in the same thing when traveling. And it’s no surprise they stick out like a sore
thumb donning shirts with cartoon characters, hilarious phrases, or huge logos on display
for everyone to see. Hey, some of them are pretty funny and creative – ya gotta appreciate
the humor! 9. Thinking in dollars no matter where they
go You can’t help but think in the currency
you’re familiar with, but I could see how asking a cashier in Japan how many dollars
something costs would be a little bizarre. I imagine a lot of American tourists forget
that the whole world doesn’t use dollars. Again, a good online currency converter is
the best preventative measure against awkward situations like this! 10. Thinking everyone speaks English. (They
don’t?!) Just like with dollars, there are those American
tourists that assume everyone speaks fluent English. Lucky for us, most people do! But
I still think we could try a little harder at learning some local words and phrases.
That’s one of the biggest joys of traveling, right? Well, that and the giggles you get
when locals hear your American accent in their language! Oui Oui Mon-sewer. Or “Donkey-shawn!” 11. Asking for tap water at a restaurant
While in the US it’s common to ask for just a glass of water from the tap when you’re
eating out, people in other countries prefer bottled water to make sure it’s clean, safe,
and tastes good. So if you’re an American on vacation, keep in mind that asking for
tap water reveals your tourist status right away! 12. Getting easily excited about everything
If we like something or are blown away (by the Taj Mahal, for instance!), most of us
can’t hide our overwhelming emotions. And when you’re on vacation, you just happen
to have a lot of cool experiences. Locals might consider it a bit of an overreaction,
but we’re just so amazed by your culture! 13. Over-packing huge suitcases
I’ve seen my fellow American travelers lugging massive suitcases around, but I’d say this
point isn’t specific to us alone. And I get it, you wanna be prepared for any type
of weather you might encounter or you’d like to have a variety of clothes to wear
for any occasion while you’re abroad. But here’s a pro tip: pack lightly if you wanna
breeze through the airport without any hitches! I’m willing to bet you don’t need as many
outfits as you think you do! 14. Wearing shorts no matter what season it
is This one’s pretty amusing because it makes
people think that Americans are immune to the cold or something. Maybe those Yankees
you see in shorts on a chilly day are just really set in “vacation mode” and they’re
gonna dress for the beach no matter what the weather’s like! (Or maybe they took my suitcase
advice a little too seriously and didn’t pack any pants! Oops!) 15. Wearing sneakers everywhere
Naturally, you want your feet to be as comfortable as possible while exploring new places, hence,
why we Americans tend to prefer sneakers or tennis shoes. But some tourists don’t have
a problem with wearing them to, say, a historic museum or some prestigious palace. We really
mean no disrespect – a casual laid-back style is just our thing! 16. Clapping at everything
Whether it’s the end of a really good movie at the cinema or even just a great joke, we
do like to clap when we’re having a good time…at least a lot of us. Must have to
do with that “not being able to hold back your emotions” thing I mentioned earlier.
So if you see a tourist clapping at a parade, they could be a redneck – I mean an American!
… Or just someone really enjoying the show! 17. Saying what state or city they’re from
instead of their country This Americanism is confusing for foreigners
given that they might not know exactly where Cincinnati or Ohio is located. But it’s
a gut reaction since that’s how we talk to each other when we meet people in our own
country. I guess we just sometimes forget that not everyone in the world has all 50
states or American cities memorized by heart. Really? But to be fair, states can vary drastically,
so saying you’re from “America” just doesn’t seem to cut it, either! I just tell
people I live on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. They all seem to know where that is, and are
always impressed. I don’t really, but it’s a good story. 18. Walking while eating and drinking
While most Europeans choose to enjoy their food in some café with a nice view, especially
if they’re on vacation, Americans eat and drink on the go, even if we’re on a sightseeing
tour! We do it here in the States too. Walk down any street, and most people will have
a cup of coffee or a sandwich or something in their hands. Hey, we value our time, and
sometimes that means my lunch needs to come with me when I’m on my way to some place!
Hey, I’m Multitasking with Multigrains. It’s a two-fer! 19. Tipping everyone
Yes, American tourists can forget that tipping is a culture that totally depends on the country.
We tip waiters, cab drivers, hairdressers, and so on as a way to show appreciation for
good service. But that would be a major faux pas in, say, Japan, because tipping is considered
really rude there! Just a tip in case you’re going there. 20. Drinking everything with ice
Americans abroad get really surprised when they order a Coke or glass of water, and the
drink doesn’t have any ice in it. (The worst is when it’s not even refrigerated!) So,
yeah, asking for ice when you order a drink at a restaurant is a dead giveaway that your
American! I guess blending in is a lot harder than it seems! What strange things do tourists from your
country do while traveling? Let me know down in the comments! If you learned something
new today, then give this video a like and share it with a friend.
But – hey! – don’t go anywhere just yet! We have over 2,000 cool videos for you
to check out. All you have to do is pick the left or right video, click on it, and enjoy!
Stay on the Bright Side of life!

23 thoughts on “20 Things American Tourists Do That Confuse Other Countries

  1. Danes clap after a good landing to show the pilots skilles. I believe we are the only country doing so 🙂

  2. 9:40 I have houses on both sides of the Golden gate bridge! My mom's house on one side, and my dad's on the other.

  3. It is good humor to bash the American. I believe people forget that not all cultures are cookie cutter. When you ask why do Americans do this or why do Americans do that? Your asking the wrong question. What you mean to ask is why isn't american culture more like mine? I think it a type of ignorance to expect every forigner you meet to act and behave just like your culture.

  4. american tourists often eat pizza with their hands in foreign countries instead of using a knife and a fork

  5. Hi, I'm from Canada. And one thing also left out of your list of "weird clothes/shirts" is wearing the college/university sweatshirt, or wearing sweatpants with writing across the bum. A friend of mine also saw in a Paris hotel an American asking for American CNN on the TV. ?

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