When traveling outside of the US, people say that it’s easy to spot an American a mile away. My English husband is one of many who like to give me a hard time about how my people travel. Really, I think it’s just a misunderstanding of why we do what we do. Here’s some background on our perceived “outrageous” travelling habits for those who simply don’t understand.
We Ask Good Questions
We like to leave no stone left unturned when enjoying new experiences. Unsure of what couscous is when travelling in Marrakech? According to my husband, an American lady asked in a loud voice for the waiter to clarify. This considerate move prevented others from having to ask the same question. Confused about why people in Italy don’t speak English? A co-worker overheard an American couple pondering this point, which is not an easy question to answer, as the answer goes back to the development of language. Deep topics!
We Optimize Our Trips
Sure, you could focus on looks over functionality while exploring a new land. Wearing heels or other uncomfortable shoes will show people that you have a sense of style. The challenge with being hip in this way is that you cover less ground in the same amount of time. Us smart Yanks prefer to sport either sneakers or flip-flops, since this keeps you both moving and comfortable. Unhappy feet lead to an unhappy trip.
We Think Ahead
What do you carry on your person when you are on vacation? Typically, I have at least one map, a camera, and souvenirs, not to mention the standard stuff, like my wallet, phone, etc. Instead of carrying all of these items in our hands, you’ll often see Americans utilizing a fanny pack (aka – a “bum bag” for you Brits!). You are able to keep your hands free to confirm where you are, pay a vendor, or snap a good picture. The invention of a fanny pack is so useful that I wish it would come back in style for everyday use!
We Have Standards
Although we appreciate visiting older towns for their charm, there are some accommodation details that are not negotiable, no matter how charming. For instance, and this is by no means an exhaustive list, the hotel room should be at least twice the size of my bedroom and include air-conditioning. Also, the food portions should be enough to include leftovers for the next meal, and the restaurants ought to offer to-go bags. Basic asks, I reckon.
Another way to identify an American abroad, I’m told, is by the t-shirts that we like to wear from other trips we’ve made. Do not be jealous when you see that we’ve been to places you may not have been to yet, such as Ocean City, MD or Lincoln, NE. You’ll have plenty of time to stock up your vacation wardrobe as well, starting on whatever trip you see us. In fact, if you ask us questions about how we enjoyed our excursion to [insert city name here], we’d love to tell you all about it & perhaps even offer up some advice for your next trip.