Worst Things Americans Say on Vacation

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I’ll admit that there are times that I cringe when I see that a really bad caricature of an American tourist in real life while traveling around the world.

(Think Hawaiian shirt, socks with sandals, loud and a know-it all personality just to name a few things to look out for.)

Most would (generally speaking) stereotype American tourists as loud, obnoxious, self-absorbed and poorly dressed, usually standing out and easily identified while visiting a foreign country.

However, as a whole I resent those assumptions.

I’ve run into very few Americans that actually behave this way while traveling. It might just be due to where we travel, but I’m definitely not 100% sure.

I think if you’re visiting an all-inclusive resort or places known for partying, you will be more than likely to see hoards of “ugly American tourists”. However on most of our trips we rarely even see any other Americans around!

When chatting with locals we don’t usually notice negative feelings towards the U.S. and most even seem to be sincerely happy to see American’s going out of their way to visit their towns, cities and country.

This brings me to an article from Yahoo Travel about The Worst Things Americans Say On Vacation.

Here is the list:

  • Do you speak English?
  • Using double negatives
  • How big is the village you come from?
  • This place is nicer/ cleaner/ more sophisticated/ more modern that I expected
  • Where can I check my gun?
  • I love your accent.
  • I once knew a guy from (fill in the country/ city/ village name). Do you know him?
  • Do you take American dollars?
  • Calling everyone man/ bro/ chief
  • Can I have some ketchup?

I think that overall Yahoo came up with a solid list of things which would be best not to say while visiting a new place.  However, I wonder how often American tourists really ask where to check their gun!  You’d also be surprised by how many countries will accept American dollars as payment. And as for ketchup, this is a very important item which can really help make foods that you don’t love a lot more bearable! (OK so maybe you shouldn’t ask for ketchup- I bring my own packets from home!)

What do you think of Yahoo’s list of worst things Americans say on vacation? If you have any to add, feel free to do so in the comments below.

Find out more in Yahoo Travel’s article here.

7 thoughts on “Worst Things Americans Say on Vacation

  1. While it seems a little exaggerated, there are some that hold true. I lived in England for a few years and tried really hard to blend in with the locals on all of the travel we did, 13 countries in 3 years. In the more popular destinations, Paris, Rome, London, it wasn’t hard to spot the Americans mostly due to the Rick Steve’s book or that they were just ‘loud’ with the volume they would speak at. It’s not so much what they said but how loud they said it.

  2. As an American, I think that it’s an ingrained part of our culture that we are simply louder than Europeans. Whenever I’m in Europe, or even in a tourist destination with a lot of Europeans, it’s always easy to spot the Americans because even the quietest of us are so much louder than them.

    My first time I ever visited Italy, I go into a grocery store and I walk behind, I said “What is this?!” It’s an entire aisle of pasta! And I thought “We don’t have whole aisles of pasta.” This is Italy! They invented pasta! Of course they would have the most pasta of any place in the world. So they’ve got Fusilli #2; they’ve got pasta shapes and squiggles we never see or hear of. Now, I ask an Italian friend, “Do you notice that you have an entire aisle of pasta?” “No. That’s just the pasta aisle.” They didn’t even notice it!

    -Neil deGrasse Tyson

    For us, “volume” is the pasta aisle.

  3. Mostly it’s just the loudness. I also hear a lot of “why doesn’t Europe have -insert some American restaurant/store/food” and complaints about a lack of English.

    I try to avoid conversations with Americans and keep to myself.

    Yes, I travel with a rick Steves book. And yes, in an Irish pub I was guilty of telling someone I loved the way they talked. But it was over a Guinness, so I think it was ok 🙂

  4. TMan- Thanks for the comment. The funny thing about loud Americans is that sometimes it isn’t what it seems. As an example- flying home from Bulgaria a loud group ended up on line behind us at the check-in counter. They started chatting with us and out of the group of 6, the 2-3 loud people ended up being Canadians!

    Chris- Interesting quote. Thanks!

    Acker- That is awful!

    Girl- Seems like loudness gets another vote. Interesting point about American restaurants. Besides seeing McDonald’s just about everywhere, I find it funny and surprising how much KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut seem to also be present around the world.

    We’ll excuse you this time for loving someone’s “accent” since we can just blame it on the Guiness!

    Levy Flight- Quaint could be used to describe many plances and not be a bad thing. No?

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