People Reveal How You Can To Spot An American Tourist From A Mile Away

If you haven't spent a lot of time living or traveling abroad, it can be easy to not realize just how different the rest of the world can be. People from California can be very different from people from Kentucky, but they will share some of the same traits as Americans and not even know it. One Reddit user asked:

How do you spot an american tourist "from a mile away"?

Yeah, pretty much every response referenced Americans as loud. In all fairness, you're not very likely to notice a quiet person anywhere, so maybe it's just that the loud Americans are the ones to make an impression? One person replied that Americans even walk louder... so maybe not. Read through and see if you fit any of these stereotypes about American tourists. Oh, and shh. Inside voices!

White Socks

Last time I saw a question like this, someone answered "white socks" and it made me start wearing black socks for the next few years.

Over 40/Under 40

Americans are very loud, i swear you have loudhailers hidden in your clothes somewhere.

Over 40, the tourists tend to be more on the very overweight side, but the women still wear yoga pants and the men always have a combination of button up shirts and loose fitting cargo shorts. And both men and women wear baseball caps and Oakley's or sunglasses similar to that style; with white trainers.

Under 40, you're very friendly, in a way that's both endearing and creepy. When we chat I feel like I'm being indoctrinated into a cult.


In my experience, any combination of the following:

  • white socks
  • wearing a sun visor
  • Talking incredibly loud
  • Their phone will be on a belt loop

American teenagers are usually better at blending in however, so the trick with these guys is to wait until you're in a restaurant, at which point they'll make their presence known by complaining about the local food.

In terms of positives however, I find most American tourists are incredibly friendly and sociable, they usually have no problem talking to strangers and striking up a pleasant conversation, something we Europeans never do with each other (this is also another "tell", but it's one we should adopt).

Especially In Museums

Generally hear them before I see them. Especially in museums where everyone is extra silent. Except for the Americans, goddammit!

Non-Metric Turn Of Phrase

They use the term "from a mile away" and not "from a kilometre away."


The huge American flag they are wearing usually gives it away.

Donate Via App

For some reason, American tourists in Norway always seem to be marveled at how technologically advanced Norway is. Read: how everywhere takes and prefers card, how charity fund raisers that go about with those money jugs also have a sign with an account number you can send money to, how there's a lot of electric cars here, etc etc etc.

Also, they always seem to automatically assume that if you aren't Norwegian, you're either a tourist, or, if you're middle eastern, a refugee. It's always a button annoying when you try to help some lost American couple find a stave church and they brush you off just because you have an Australian accent and are apparently a tourist who doesn't know the place like them even though you've lived in that area for ten years.

Where Are You Running To?

Footwear. Americans for some reason wear sneakers / running shoes when unnecessary. In the US running shoes/tennis shoes are the default casual shoe. It's becoming less true, but is still very much a presence in our culture. I didn't even own a different style of casual shoe until I was in high school. I think it's probably a result of sending kids to school in shoes they can play in at recess or wear in phys ed that just carries over into adult life.

No One Cares

As an American who lived in Israel for a while, I realized that Americans do the following:

  • We talk loudly,
  • Many of the things we say loudly, includes many irrelevant details. "Yes" or "no" answers are of high value in middle eastern culture; but in American culture we like to tell you all about why something is or that our daughter got married last year or our cat has diabetes.
  • We are morons about diet. Another American moved to where I lived. He preached about high protein diets, bitched about how he couldn't find fat free milk or pasteurized egg whites, in a country that specializes in high-fat cuisine.
  • Americans think the world impressed by their city. No one cares that you're from Las Vegas

Amazed By The Ancient

  • Amazed by things which are more than 200 years old, presumably because they don't have many things that old in the USA.
  • Quite often on the heavy side weight-wise (sorry!)
  • Hand-held fans, maybe because air conditioning is very common in the USA.
  • Expecting everyone to speak English and/or not wanting to learn the local language.

Bigger And Stronger

I remember I was a small kid in Tijuana. They were typically a lot more good looking than the local population. The girls were hot as hell. The Marines that would come around from San Diego looked like superheroes and made these other guys look... well, not that.

We'd get European tourists as well but the American ones looked bigger and kind of stronger. Especially the military guys, like something out of these Marvel comics, at least the ones in their twenties.

All buff, tall, etc.

Embarrassingly Underdressed

I always felt embarrassingly underdressed when traveling in Europe.

On the flip side, as a native Arizonan I can always spot the European/English tourist because they will be bright red.

Traffic Circles

In the UK, first-time American tourists look bewildered trying to navigate their rental car in busy roundabouts (traffic circles)... but from what I understand Americans can't navigate them in America, either.


Recently visited a very touristy part of my country (Ireland) and my wife observed that "Americans display their wealth through their raincoats."

Americans always seem to be wearing a full designer outdoor adventure wear outfit when everyone else is wearing like...a t shirt and jeans to take a walk around a small village or something.

California Is Totally Different From Kentucky

All the Americans I saw abroad always traveled as a family and had a MILLION bags, usually the mom would be carrying the largest/most.

Also, we are the only ones who would differentiate between different parts of the country. My European friends never understood why I always asked where in America another American was from. I guess they didn't understand that people from California can be VERY different from Kentucky or Southern people, so you gotta know in order to judge this new person based on stereotypes.

That American Swag

I've lived in the USA for 18 years, originally from England. It's not really anything specific, and it's hard to explain but Americans have a certain attitude and way of holding themselves that's easily noticeable. They just seem more confident and at ease than other nations. You don't notice it at first, but it's easy to spot after you've lived here a while. Last time we were in England we stopped at a convenience store and two young Americans were sitting opposite, they hadn't spoken but we knew immediately.

My wife walked up:

"You here on vacation?"

"Oh.. yeah! Wow, how did you know?"

"Duh. Where are you from?"

Proudly. "We're from the USA"

"Oh, really honey? Where do you think I'm from?!"

Turns out they were from Ohio and the last thing they expected in some quiet British convenience store was to find someone from their home country.

My wife says I've never acquired it either, she can usually spot English people really quickly too.

Coffee To Go

When I lived in Europe it dawned on me that anyone walking and drinking coffee is American. Not sure if it holds true today, but back then Europeans definitely stopped, relaxed, and sat / stood at a hightop table to enjoy their coffee. Also, anyone talking unnecessarily loudly is usually American.

Volume As Fluency

When I was living in Petersburg, I could spot my fellow Americans by the following:

  1. clothing. American Middle Class has a distinct couture that really stood out against the Finns, Russians, and Baltic citizens.
  2. dollars. God damn it, people - hit a money exchange before you hit the market. Especially in a country where hard currency was still illegal.
  3. volume.
  4. staring confusedly at the food you just ordered. Beef Stroganoff in a fancy restaurant doesn't look like your Hamburger Helper version, and fish soup is traditionally served with the head still attached.
  5. volume-as-fluency. While I hate the stereotype of Americans saying something louder in hopes of a non-speaker suddenly understanding due to the pressure of the sound waves shoving meaning directly into their brains, I don't dismiss its truth.

It's Not That Big A Deal

Loud, extremely loud and slow. To give some explanation to that, it's more than talking loudly. It's closing doors to hard, walking down stairs/escalators to forcefully, and so forth. They are seen as a bit brutish, I guess. My parents ran a tourist park in the bush in Australia and when the American's went hiking you could hear them from 2km away and they'd take forever on what was basically a quick walk around the hill, as well as exaggerate it as if they just went on a 3 day hike in the jungle, for what I was doing alone from the age of 5. Overweight more often than not, and often couldn't cook whatsoever.

The Classic Overshare

I love Americans but the talking thing is so noticeable. I was in a pub(Ireland)last week and there was this American chatting at the bar. Pretty well away from me. By the time left I knew His name, his hopes and dreams for the future. And the pros and cons of golfing as a tourist. In Copenhagen and there was a group of Americans talking very loudly and facetiming their friends back home. I knew exactly what beers they were all drinking and that they are facetiming Kelly.

If any of us wanted to, we could have scammed them good using the information they freely announced to everyone in the bar.

H/T: Reddit

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