People From Around The World Share Dead Giveaways That A Traveler Is American

People From Around The World Share Dead Giveaways That A Traveler Is American

If you want to fit in like a local next time you land in Prague, Dublin, or Tokyo, you might want to leave some of your habits in baggage claim. We asked people from all over what it is about American tourists that make them easy to spot from a mile away. Our number one takeaway? If you want to blend in, don't pack the fanny pack!


75. So simple; so true.

I grew up in a small village in rural England. A friend once said to me, "You always know there's Americans in town when you see a grandad wearing a baseball cap."

adult-baseball-cap-boy-395077-300x200.jpgPhoto by Brandon Nickerson from Pexels

74. It's their mating call.

When's you hear someone randomly do a high pitched 'WOOOOOOO' in a public place.

Yep, thats an American.

human-3429797-300x200.jpgImage by


Loudness. American tourists in my country are very loud.

girl-4386913_1920-221x300.jpgImage by

72. Keeps the mosquitoes off.

The bald eagles and their freedom swirling around them.

bald-eagle-140793-300x200.jpgImage by


71. It's the first thing they teach you in kindergarten.

I'm Asian-American, and whenever I travel back to Asia, the locals can always tell I'm American. One time, I was riding a train by myself and a businessman sat down in the seat next to me. We made eye contact and I smiled at him, and he was really taken aback. We started talking and he said that people in Asia, while friendly, aren't usually so outgoing or enthusiastic, I guess. He knew immediately I wasn't a local because Americans are a lot more willing to interact with strangers.

handshake-2056023-2-300x200.jpgImage by

70. Know your A, B, Z's.

As an American living in Canada, the things that usually get me nabbed are: saying "zee" instead of "zed," saying "y'all", spelling it "check" instead of "cheque, "spelling things with "er" instead of "re" (center vs centre).

Also not getting a common pop culture reference from people's childhood, and not knowing Canadian history things if they come up in conversation.

The last two are less common, as people who've known me for any length of time usually already know that I'm imported.

unsure-315080-199x300.jpgImage by

69. How else will they know not to mess with Texas?

I am American but live in Germany, here are my observations:

Europeans dress really nice to the grocery store. Americans, do not.

Buying bulk groceries. The Germans seem to get a few things every day from the local market. Americans seem to try to get as much as they can without it going bad and see how long one grocery trip can last them.

On a different note: Americans are actually really accepting of others trying out the English language and usually we can make out what you are saying as long as you used the right letters. In other countries, I have found them not as forgiving to people who speak English when they're trying out other languages.

Also - bumper stickers.

hiker-1149877_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Free-Photos from Pixabay

68. Like a flock of eagles.

I went with a group of fellow Americans to Germany and the Netherlands, and the only real answer is volume. I still cringe thinking about it, but as a group we were just so loud, we'd get stares everywhere we went.

We'd go into a bar or restaurant and I'm pretty sure no one else could hear themselves over us. Or if we were at a castle or some other open space, you could easily find the group just by following the squawks.

adults-bartender-club-2209519-300x199.jpgPhoto by Daria Sannikova from Pexels

67. The pack is making a comeback. It is.

I live in Florida... you can tell we are American because we are the ones mocking all the sunburned Europeans and their fanny packs.


66. That's it - no more tipping.

American currently traveling all about Europe and the middle east - it's the "R" sound. No one else has the American "R", apparently.

If you can't roll your R's or say them English-ly, just drop them, and suddenly you're a nationless individual.

Also, obsessive smiling and tipping.

happy-1836445-300x200.jpgImage by


65. Your majesty?

Calling people "Ma'am" or "Sir" seems to be a very American thing to me. I think it's great: it's so polite and, as a Brit, being called "Ma'am" makes me feel like the Queen.


64. They're chatty Cathy's.

I was told the fact that I strike up conversations with random people in line, in an elevator, on the bus, etc. is pretty much a dead give away that I am from the states. Evidently people not from the United States are not very friendly with each other.

I had random other Americans come up to me when I was visiting Tokyo and ask questions about the subway system and where certain things were. I had not said anything, they just assumed I 1)Knew what I was doing and 2)Was American. So there has to be something else that gives it away. Granted, I was a 6'4" 200 lb white guy in Japan, so the chances are pretty good that I spoke English. That might also explain why I get frightened looks from the people when I randomly try to start up polite conversation (not always talking in English).


63. Communication breakdown.

Saying "Good for you!" Never heard any other person from other countries that speak English use this. In German it's thought of as rude: "Schön für dich!" is like "Nice for you, but nobody cares!"

thumbs-up-743066_1920-300x225.jpgImage by

62. They supersize it.

When they ask for a large and all they get is what to them is a medium at a McDonald's in another country.
I'm an American in Australia, it hurts every time I want a large.


61. The perfect food.

They really, really, really love potatoes, for me that is. It's always potatoes. But then again, I can't blame ourselves because potatoes are delicious.

potatoes-1585075_1920-300x200.jpgImage by

60. Good suggestion.

We Brits talk about the weather for small talk but Americans ask each other where they're from and if they have any friends or family from the same place. Seems like it should be swapped because American weather is far more interesting than British weather and Britain is much smaller so there's more chance of having a mutual friend or area with a stranger.



59. They're dumbfounded.

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.

senior-3336451_1920-300x225.jpgImage by pasja1000 from Pixabay

58. That's what pockets are for.

If you see an American in Japan, they will frantically look around for the public trash cans, because there aren't any.  The absence of trash receptacle is something unfounded in the US, and we become confused at the idea of having to hold it for extended periods of time.

trash-4358272-300x200.jpgImage by

57. Hope she found it.

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”.

bathroom-hygiene-indoors-191845-300x184.jpgPhoto by hermaion from Pexels

56. They're history lovers.

They get amazed by old things. My girlfriend used to work on a farm on an estate in the U.K. and would often have Americans who were in awe of the old buildings. One once said, "Some of these buildings are older than my country."

erdap-2129567-300x200.jpgImage by

55. Volume check.

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.


54. He seemed harmless.

The absolute fearlessness of asking anyone on the street about anything. I've seen Americans approach people both in my home country and abroad starting conversations with them that I wouldn't dream of. Because they look shady or just plain scary. Example, I was in Newcastle and I see a woman, an American tourist, go up to a bald-headed skinny man with face tattoos and a tracksuit suddenly and ask "Hey bud, d'ya know where..." It's quite admirable.

traveler-1611614-1-300x194.jpgImage by


53. Like a toothpaste commercial.

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".

beautiful-woman-embarrassed-eyes-closed-2379235-300x200.jpgPhoto by Malcolm Garret from Pexels

52. They like their novelty T's.

I was in France once in a very famous and classy art gallery and saw a wildly overweight sweaty man with a shirt on that read something like "Vegetarians are just bad hunters" or something along those lines with a huge picture of a dinosaur. I turned to my friend and said "That’s definitely an American." Sure enough he then called his kids over in a very Southern twang and it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.


51. How are ya?

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.

photographer-407068_1920-300x200.jpgImage by SplitShire from Pixabay

50. They're night owls.

They’re looking for a store open at like 11pm. Even if in most European countries stores close at like 7-8 pm.


49. They have an anthem.

I was at a beach where music was playing and the Neil Diamond song, Sweet Caroline came on. I told my sister (we are both Hispanic, but I live in the US): “Hey, if you are wondering who here is from the US, you are about to find out.” 10 seconds later: PA PA PAAAAAA!

singer-3548070_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Uschi Dugulin from Pixabay

48. Don't look both ways.

When they cross the street, they expect cars to stop for them. In my country, the cars will run you down without thinking twice. When I was in America, I got so used to waiting for cars to drive past before crossing the street, I stopped every time I saw a car. I could see so many drivers getting upset with me because they were waiting for me to cross first.


47. Come back in January.

I've seen multiple American tourists here in Canada asking their partners "WhErEs tHe sNoW?" I really hope they were joking - it was summer at the time.

snowman-1210018-300x200.jpgImage by

46. He gave himself away.

As an American tourist myself, I'm pretty sure I know how locals find me out. I was traveling in Bali, Indonesia and caught my reflection in the window of a storefront. Big old white guy, 6'4", 23o pounds, bright blue and orange Hawaiian shirt, shorts, farmer's tan, USS New Orleans LPH-11 ballcap, and sandals with black socks. On top of that, I was carrying a carved elephant statuette."

sad-vacation-guy-has-fun-wife-baby-puerto-rico-22-300x225.jpgBored Panda

45. They're overly polite.

Some of them are way more polite than expected. Whenever I hear someone say "Ma'am," I know they're American. Like one time I was in a Lidl's and there was an American family asking someone who worked there if they sold "cell phones" and when the woman said they didn't they were all, "Oh okay, thank you for your time ma'am! Have a great day!" which is much more cheery than the average Scot.


44. Nothing important happened before 1492.

As a British person living in Croatia, disregarding the loud accent, baseball caps, and generally being overweight (Croatia is a relatively non-obese nation in my experience), for me the one thing that sticks in my mind as giving them away is the utter fascination that things like historical buildings or events are old.

I guess it's due to the USA having existed for a relatively short period of time, but it's always hilarious watching a gaggle of American tourists react with borderline heart stopping shock when they hear that "this building" or "that statue" was erected in the year twelve hundred and etc etc.

Always brings me a smile.


43. Un-hip, hipsters.

From an Irish perspective, generally the older Americans are very nice. They will always be happy to hear about the history and talk to people. They also seem to have resting smiling faces which isn’t really common here.

The younger people on the other hand ( the ones you notice anyway) are either hipsters who wear flat caps and come to Ireland for the alcohol or the loud obnoxious ones who come here hang out in the tourist trap bars. They never have any respect and attempt Irish accents that don’t sound anything like the real thing.

Once again, most Americans are lovely people but the loud ones are the ones that stick out and give themselves a bad reputation.

dublin-77282-300x214.jpgPixabay Guinness is the official drink of Ireland.

42. Wake 'em up!

They are very outspoken. At my local aquarium the other day I heard a lady very loudly say, “Have the penguins gone to bed? Can we not see them? Ya’ll the penguins have gone to bed y’all missed 'em.”


41. Didn't fit the type.

I taught English in Japan. One of the ways we got the students to speak was to make them guess where we were from because they had a hard time differentiating between American, British, Aussie, etc. accents. After a year, none of them ever guessed I was American so I asked them why: "Americans are fat and loud. You're small and quiet!"

japanese-tourist-300x190.jpgJapan Info

40. Just sit down, already.

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.


39. They're all-terrain.

Americans visiting the US or Asia often look like explorers. It makes sense, I suppose. If an American is visiting continental Europe, it's probably a very expensive trip, and they're probably trying to see as much as possible. They're going to be walking a LOT (8-10 miles a day is pretty common for a tourist), and they might be walking on different types of terrain (for instance, a vacation to Italy might include strolling around Rome and hiking in the mountains). They might be visiting several cities and traveling between them by train/bus, so they probably won't want to lug around oversized luggage. They need to pack light, so they can probably only bring one pair of shoes and one jacket. They may need to bring clothing that can be washed at a laundromat or even in a hotel sink and dried quickly. They might bring a water bottle to avoid having to buy lots of bottled water, and they might carry a backpack if they're going to be walking around for 12 hours a day without being able to drop their stuff at home or in a car.

It's comparatively easy for, say, a German to visit France, so their intra-continental trip is probably going to be more focused. They'll just go to Paris and save the mountain hiking for another visit.

huge_backpack-193x300.jpgFB Time Pass

38. They came to make friends.

I'm from London. When I go out to bars in town, they're usually the happy ones and very social. Also extremely loud, but social and that's appreciated.


37. They were expecting a heat wave.

They don't dress properly for the climate. Last winter I saw a couple guys walking in town. It must have been -20 C with the wind chill. Both guys were wearing nothing but baggy, knee-length cargo shorts and what looked like t-shirts under thin fleece pullovers. I wondered if they were American. Then one of them opened his mouth to complain about the cold. Sounded like he was from around Seattle.

clouds-cold-dawn-2104152-300x200.jpgPhoto by Tobias Bjørkli from Pexels

36. They're on vacation, basically.

They talk too loud, dress too casually (for the average Swiss person's standards), and are unusually cheerful/extroverted/excited.

feature-uncommon-t-trips-300x150.jpgPhoto by Brad Barmore on Unsplash

35. Avoid this awkward faux pas.

They talk about people as if they don't understand that people from other countries often understand English.

I live in a major city in my country so I see them a lot. They mostly talk about people's appearances which is pretty whatever.

However one time I was commuting to my university and there was an American couple on the same train as me. They were talking about a boy who was in the same carriage as us. He went to the same school as me but I didn't know him that well. As it was deadline week, he looked really really tired.

The American couple started talking about him saying he looked like a vagrant and said that they were afraid he would rob them. The boy got up, walked past them and gave them a disgusted look. I think they realised after that most people here can understand them.


34. Ditch the footwear.

Volume is the main thing: speaking volume as well as physical volume.

Fashion sense is another: we are in Paris, people won't have fanny packs or white sports sneakers.


33. So cute! So strange!

They are the loudest people ever, like wow. They can't pronounce any place name correctly (Although at that point the accent gives it away). They're far too friendly around strangers. In the UK you really just don't talk to someone you've never met, but Americans will always seem to feel the need to chat. They like calling British accents "cute" or "strange" constantly.


32. They have those literally everywhere.

Accent, also ignorance, like they'll say things like, "WHERE ARE ALL THE KANGAROOS I DIDN'T KNOW THEY HAD CITIES AND SUBURBS HERE!"

kangaroo-1209951-300x201.jpgImage by

31. Trying too hard to fit in.

A group of American tourists with very obvious accents got on a train in front of me in Sydney and then loudly said, “I wonder if anyone can tell we’re not local!?”

Yeah dudes, we can when you yell it out.


30. Getting to know you.

Whenever there's chatty tourists they always seem to be Americans or Australians. It's not a bad thing, just something I noticed in the UK. Whereas people from European countries tend to be more frank and to-the-point about things. Americans seem to like making conversation with strangers more than European tourists from my experience.

willian-justen-de-vasconcellos-692828-unsplash-300x228.jpgPhoto by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

29. Trying to get the party started.

They're really loud, as if they're always shouting, and tend to be over-familiar/friendly with strangers, if that makes sense. It's well-intentioned and I get that they're just trying to be friendly but it's a bit weird to others, ie. non-Americans.


28. Be specific.

I'm American and have been living in Asia for seven years. Whenever someone asks me where I'm from and I say Virginia they tell me, "Ah, Americans always say what state they're from."

But if someone asks and I say America they say something to the effect of, "Well OBVIOUSLY but what state?"


27. They all shop at the same store.

I’m American but I live abroad 8 months out of the year in an extremely touristy city. Wearing a baseball cap and Under Armor clothing is a dead giveaway.


26. Did I tell you what Dave did the other day?

I find Americans have a really distinctive walk, which means they’re obvious from 100 yards away. But I really can’t find a way to describe it. The best I can explain it, is that they seem to swing their legs a lot more when they walk.

Also they always talk about their friends it seems. Every time I overhear an American, they’re talking about their friends. It’s kind of sweet.


25. It's too much TMI.

They get very personal very quickly. Within 10 minutes of meeting an American at university, I knew all about her family, her business, her husband's business and how her home had burned down 13 years ago.

Maybe it's because I'm British but at least enjoy the awkward small talk for a bit!


24. Or all three.

Lots of laughing and smiling, or any other way of being happy in public. I'm born and raised in Ukraine but lived in the US for a long time for school. I picked up on these American-isms and my family and friends were weirded out by it. Russian/slavic folk aren't happy in public, it's super suspect. You're either inebriated, mentally ill, or... American.

hat-591973-300x200.jpgImage by

23. Not afraid to say, "Hey!"

Friendliness and confidence. I'm Aussie and was in Paris in September, 2013, staying a short walk away from Gare de L'Est. I was walking to the station to jump on the metro. The way there was a fairly narrow street with several cafes. I was wearing a regular T-shirt you could get in any shop in Australia with "Daytona" printed on it. And an American eating outside called to me and said, "Hey are you American?" It took me a couple of seconds but then I realised what my shirt said and we had a good laugh about it. I just thought it was amazing that in a side street in Paris he'd have the confidence to spot someone he thought was American and just have a casual chat. Seemed like a nice bloke.

Funnily enough I was advertising where I was really from cause I was wearing a Perth Scorchers cap so I would've loved to have seen the confusion had he seen a cap with an Aussie place name on it and a shirt with an American place name on it. Still probably would've stopped me for a chat cause Americans really are just that friendly and chill.

paris-106863-300x225.jpgImage by

22. Very on brand.

I live next door to The Hobbit movie set in New Zealand. We don’t have a lot of big brands, and the ones we do have are pretty expensive. So if someone is wearing something like Tommy Hilfiger, it feels like a dead giveaway to me. Either that or the fact they aren’t wearing socks and jandals (flip flops).

sandals-932756-300x199.jpgImage by

21. It's a big country.

"Does that come with a side order of French Fries?" This phrase and that sentence alone are so foreign here, even if you faked an accent perfectly it would stand out.

Also, most Americans are huge. Not fat, but huge. They are taller and bigger than locals and other foreigners. Even the women.


20. Toppings turmoil.

When I'm on holiday here in Italy you can spot the American tourist 2 ways:

First, they look and walk in a very distinctive way, baseball hat and a university hoodie are really a giveaway. Also, they are kind of louder than other tourists.

Second, you can see them disappointed in a Pizzeria because they ordered a "Pepperoni pizza" and the waiter brings them a pizza with the vegetables called "Peperoni," instead of a pizza with Salame.

pizza-3007395-300x200.jpgImage by

19. They're so comfortable.

Running shoes. Americans tend to wear sneakers with EVERYTHING. Europeans and even Canadians tend to wear leather shoes when appropriate. If 10 guys are wearing khakis and only one of them is wearing running shoes - that’s your American.


18. Walk this way.

Americans abroad have a stance. Shoulders back, hips forward, legs spread. Swinging that big ol' freedom around globally!

(My girlfriend is an American living in Aus and she agrees.)

flag-1291945-300x210.jpgImage by

17. You say potatoes, we say go to a foreign currency exchange.

They think their currency is good anywhere. I’ll never forget one time, the bill was like 11.75 and this lady only had ten Canadian dollars. She said, "Can I pay the rest in American?" I proceeded with, "No, we take Canadian money here, but you can put it on a card. She proceeds to hold her Canadian dollars up and say, "Well what do I do with this?! Why don’t you want American dollars, it’s better. Now what am I supposed to do with Canadian money?"

I was blown away, and became a bit ticked off. I said, "We’re in Canada. In Canada we used Canadian dollars. You can spend those Canadian dollars here in Canada. If you gave me your US dollars, then what do I do with that?"

Her mind was blown.


16. Gotta stay hydrated... for freedom.

I was told in Spain that asking for ice water is a giveaway, as is carrying a water bottle. What confused me was that it was 40°C when I was there, and while I wanted to blend a little, I also wanted not to die of heat stroke.


15. Yup.

American flags tend to be a bit of a giveaway.

Honestly I don't think people from any other country incorporate their national flag this much into fashion and general decoration. Maybe occasionally Canadians with a Canadian flag on their backpack, but I think that is mostly deliberate to prevent them from being mistaken for Americans.

america-american-flag-blue-sky-2240293-300x200.jpgPhoto by Edgar Colomba from Pexels

14. But the brochure said...

I don't mean this as a slight, as most of the Americans I have met overseas are genuinely amazing, but most seem to lack a basic understanding of other countries.

This is all personal mind you, but things like I've overheard are like, while in Australia at a sheep farm: "I didn't know Australians have sheep too! What? It's one of their major exports? What?" Or at a bbq place in Japan: "Wow, Japanese people eat beef? I thought they only ate fish!" In Canada, in September: "I thought it'd be covered in snow by now. When does it snow here?" "It doesn't. It rarely ever snows in Vancouver." "But this is Canada! It's supposed to snow!"

The ignorance is really cute though, as they're genuinely excited to learn these things, and are really taken in by it.

snowball-fight-578445-300x200.jpgImage by

13. Just happy to be here.

I have never been to the US but I have met some Americans in Poland and Lithuania. First thing that comes to my mind is that they don't really care about appearance. They also talk a lot even if they don't know you. In general, they seem to be more chilled out and happier than Eastern Europeans.

architecture-beautiful-cars-2858526-200x300.jpgPhoto by MATTHEUS WILKISOM DIAS SANTOS from Pexels

12. It's all the same to me.

They get confused when they can't pay for things with US money. I witnessed this with two lovely American ladies at a train station in Zurich (I think it was Zurich). Bless them, they weren't like angry or anything but they were just so confused that the lockers at the station weren't accepting their coins. I had to explain to them that US money was not valid currency there. They were just so stumped. I don't understand how this is such a weird concept for US tourists.

cash-close-up-counting-1435192-300x200.jpgPhoto by from Pexels

11. No but really; where is the pizza?

They say things like:

Spain: "Sing Despacito!"

Korea: "Do the Gangnam Style dance!"

France: "Do you guys really eat snails?" or "Hon hon hon, oui oui, baguette!"

Italy: "Say 'It's-a-me, Mario!' or "Where's the pizza?"

Escargots_3-300x225.jpgMarianne Casamance/Wikimedia

10. The ol' switcheroo.

Americans will use their fork in their left hand (opposite if they are left-handed) and their knife in their right to cut a steak, or other foods, then switch the fork into their right had to eat. I found out about this when my girlfriend and I went on a north European cruise.

cutlery-377700-1-300x196.jpgImage by

9. There might be some in the back.

American accent: "Do you have Guinness here?"

You're in a pub. In Ireland. Where half the people are drinking Guinness.

8. Just wear black.

Light washed, wide legged jeans. Outdoor performance clothing like fleeces, performance shells, hiking boots (especially North Face or Patagonia) worn in the city. Team gear (including baseball hats and jerseys). Some exceptions for things like NY Yankees hats, but once you’re sporting college gear or something more obscure like a hockey jersey, you’re bound to be a tourist.

backpack-backpacker-business-2451594-240x300.jpgPhoto by Alexander Wendt from Pexels

7. That's a lot to remember.

Bum bags (fanny packs for you lot), any T-shirt that is advertising a tourist location, wearing a baseball cap, standing on the left of TFL escalators, not getting your ticket/contactless outun til you're at the barriers, talking to strangers on public travel/restaurants/queues.

back-view-brunette-paris-2883042-200x300.jpgPhoto by Edward Eyer from Pexels

6. Everyone's a tour guide, with the right attitude.

I was at the Tower of London during their mediaeval week in August, where there were a number of stalls where historical experts were telling the public about weaponry, armour, etc.

The difference between the British and Americans was that the British listened to the information and then asked soft-spoken questions, whereas the Americans sort of barrelled in and began ANNOUNCING (IN WHAT WAS PROBABLY THEIR NORMAL SPEAKING VOLUME BUT WHICH THEY PROBABLY DIDN'T REALISE WAS EXCESSIVE) EVERYTHING THEY KNEW ABOUT THE SUBJECT. That was the biggest giveaway, really.


5. How to be American in London:

You hear them speaking with an American accent. Always. From miles away.

Also, they pronounce everything wrong and with an inflection that seems to suggest they know they're pronouncing it wrong, and are annoyed that their wrong pronunciation is wrong, but refuse to pronounce it how they actually seem to know it should be pronounced. Like "West-minister?!", "Mary-Lee-Bone!?", "Madam Tuss-owds?!"

Joking/ranting aside: my advice would be to plan, like, even a little bit. I am English, I've lived in London for years, but if I'm going somewhere new, I look up the route on google maps, and I check out what tube/buses I need to get. That way, when I actually leave the house, I have a decent idea what I need to do and where I need to go.

Don't just waltz out onto the street or into a tube station and ask strangers how to get to somewhere. London is huge, and people who've lived here their whole lives might not know which tube station is closest to whatever place you want to go.

Most tourist attractions will say on their websites what tube/train station is closest, and you can get a map of the tube network from any station.

One last tip: The UK is a developed nation, London is a very modern, developed city. You aren't venturing out into the wilderness, you do not need to carry a giant rucksack full of gear. Just bring clothes appropriate for the weather, and make sure you've got a lightweight waterproof jacket that can squish up real small, or a small umbrella. Otherwise you probably don't need to carry anything other than your wallet, sunglasses, and phone. Even without phone signal, you can make notes on your phone while on your hotel wifi, and save maps for offline in google maps. Once you are out and about, if you are struggling, ask the staff in tube/train stations, not random strangers, who are often completely ignorant of any part of the tube network that isn't involved in their commute.


4. Nowhere to go.

The loose pale denim, tucked in shirt and white sneaker combo defines the American man. But other weird American trends are tie-dyed hoodies and tees, usually worn by young women and college-age girls. Under Armour used to be a thing I only ever saw Americans wearing but it seems to be becoming a fashion thing here now rapidly. ANYTHING with hunting camo patterns is alien here and hideous all the time anywhere so please no.

Oh, and don't ask retail staff, "How're you?" when you're checking out. They'll stare at you confused. That is a question wanting a legit answer here, where as Stateside it seems to be just a normal greeting. You also don't need to say excuse me when you don't need me to move and are not affecting me at all, that's weird. Only Americans do that. Like in a shop if you walk in front of me looking at something, saying excuse me implies you need my attention for me to move for you? I dunno, just something I encounter a lot in America but only ever from Americans here. Also, use your knife. Americans never use the knife. If you use a knife, you CAN'T POSSIBLY be American.

In general people won't bat an eye at you even if you're being super duper American-y though because here in London we're very used to people of all sorts.

Also, you cannot just get a cup of water for free anywhere like you can in the States. It might literally be the worst thing about not being America. Bring a refillable bottle. Fill it up whenever you can. And toilets, too. Public ones will cost you. Places that would have a toilet Stateside often won't in the UK. And they won't be anywhere as nice as you're used to. Museums are the best bet for a nice free loo in London. If you pass a gallery or a museum, go now.

wc-1210963-300x267.jpgImage by

3. How do you pronounce it?

We can spot all tourists from a mile off. Most of us don't spend our days taking photos of Buckingham Palace. If you don't want to be spotted, just keep your volume down, try learning to pronounce stuff properly, and don't talk to random people on the tube/bus.

Also, don't eat at any restaurant that is visible from a major attraction/landmark.

architecture-buildings-camera-2272940-300x225.jpgPhoto by Matt Hardy from Pexels

2. Look away.

They talk to strangers. Don't talk to people on the tube (subway), in lifts (elevators) or on the street unless you're bleeding to death or something. Likewise do not make eye contact. We'll think you're nuts.

They like tucking shirts/t-shirts into their trousers.

They have a tan. We get no sun.


1. It's a sixth sense.

Clothing and hairstyles. Middle-aged Americans (or at least, the kind of Americans who travel to Europe) tend to wear big, loose-fitting clothing that is quite utilitarian and plain (or have sports team/college insignias on them.)

They will un-ironically wear hats. They will have chunky trainers on and will be wearing at least one khaki-coloured item of clothing.

Older women will have their hair either in a ponytail or classically styled, nothing edgy or unconventional. They may have tan skin as well, which is a real give-away that you're a tourist here in Scotland.

I actually play a game with myself called 'yank-sense', where I try and guess if someone I'm approaching on the street is American, before I hear them speak. I have a success rate of about 75% with this criteria. There was one time where I swore one woman approaching me was a flag-waving, gun-slinging American and then she opened her mouth and the poshest, most upper-class English accent came out. I still look back and find that moment hilarious.

Younger Americans like students can be even easier, but come in two varieties. They will either be covered in clearly branded clothing, or be dressed very conservatively in a button down shirt and slacks.

Overall, many Americans I come across here (which of course is just a subsection) do generally seem very conservative and almost formal in comparison.

But loud. Very loud. Even when they don't mean to be. Their voices just seem to carry over to you on the wind...and through your noise-cancelling headphones...

And just for the record, even if it may not sound like it, I really have a fondness for Americans. I find them very forthcoming and open, and usually very fun to talk to. It's a nice change from emotionally repressed British people.