12 mistakes Americans make when travelling abroad that out them as tourists

Daniel Koebe/Corbis/VCG/Getty ImagesAmericans travelling abroad are often recognisable.
  • A Reddit thread asked people who are not from the United States to share tell-tale signs that tourists are from America – aside from their accents.
  • Americans tend to wait to be seated at a restaurant instead of just picking a table.
  • Many American tourists wear running shoes, shorts, and t-shirts.
  • They often leave large tips, even in countries where tipping is considered an insult.
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To people outside of the US, Americans are often recognisable while travelling abroad.

Not every typically “American” trait is negative, but cultural differences between the US and other countries make for some amusing moments of confusion.

Reddit user mknapp37 posed the question to the people of Reddit: “Besides their accent, what’s one way you know a tourist is American?”

Here are 12 tell-tale signs that tourists are from America, accents aside.


They’re loud.

Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty ImagesAmericans tend to speak at a higher volume than others.

“While in Korea, I was casually talking to a friend on the bus in regular speaking voice. Not even a minute later, the lady in front of us turns around in her seat and says very casually, ‘Please calm down.’ I guess American volume is noticeably louder.” – Reddit user jrlags


They stand at the entrance of a restaurant waiting to be seated.

Portland Press Herald/Contributor/Getty ImagesHostesses are rare outside of the US.

“When visiting Paris my wife and I learned they don’t seat you at restaurants. You just walk in and sit down at an available table. We figured it out after standing around at the entrance a few times. Then we started noticing other American tourists doing the same.” – Reddit user dcabines


They ask “How are 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.” – Reddit user tomayto_tomaahto


They smile a lot.

Flickr/Matteo MazziottiAmericans smile a lot.

“When I went to Italy with a friend, I couldn’t figure out why everyone greeted me in English before I said a word. I don’t wear running shoes outside of the gym, I dress pretty posh, I can’t remember the last time I owned a baseball cap, and I try to have a basic grasp on the local language. How can they tell I’m American?

My friend told me, ‘It’s because you’re smiling at them.'” – Reddit user thewidowgorey


They get confused when there are no public trash cans.

Jacques Damarthon/AFP/Getty ImagesSome countries don’t have public trash cans.

“If you see an American in Japan, they will frantically look for public trash cans. The absence of trash receptacles is [unusual] in the US, and [Americans] become confused at the idea of having to hold [trash] for extended periods of time.” – Reddit user Dayoldpancakes


They ask where the “restroom” is.

Sara D. Davis/Getty ImagesAlso known as ‘the toilet.’

“Asking for the restroom. I mean, obviously the accent was then heard too, but in my little village in Scotland I was in the pub and a woman politely asked the barman where the restrooms were. He didn’t know what she was on about and then it obviously clicked. ‘Ye mean the toilet? Aye hen it’s joost back ‘err.'” –MogadonMandy


They tip.

“Tipping. Americans will try to tip everyone, even in countries where tipping isn’t a thing/is considered a serious insult.” – Reddit user lukan2


They wear “sneakers.”

iStockAlso known as tennis shoes.

“I walked into a museum in Germany and the women selling tickets greeted us in English. We were dressed conservatively, and hadn’t said a word, yet she knew. I asked her how, and she said, ‘It’s your shoes.’ Indeed, I was wearing running shoes.” – Reddit user questfor17


They put lots of ice in their drinks.

PixabayAmericans like ice.

“My (American) girlfriend’s old German teacher has a story about how a group of them were together in Germany and in the group there was one American.

There was a bowl of ice in the middle of the table for everyone to share between them, and the American guy took the bowl and dumped all of the ice in his own drink.

Apparently Americans like ice more than Europeans.” – Reddit user BestUserEU


They take off their shoes at the airport.

“I hear that us Americans can easily be spotted in the airport by the fact we’re used to taking off our shoes in TSA.” – Reddit user R3ddspider


They take in their surroundings.

Daniel Koebe/Corbis/VCG/Getty ImagesAmerican tourists take it all in.

“Baseball caps, University spirit wear, cargo shorts, free t-shirts from events with ads and text all over them, and for the older Americans they always seem to just kinda stand in the middle of everything looking around.” – Reddit user Zack1018


They’re confident.

“Confidence. I have never seen someone walk so confidently in the wrong direction like an American can.” – Reddit user olaolie

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