Our accents, body language, and mannerisms can tell everyone around us what country we’re from before they even ask. However, there are other more subtle cultural and behavioral differences that give this away as well when you’re going abroad on holiday. We’re not even aware of some of these things until someone points these out to us.

Redditor Mknapp37 went on r/AskReddit and asked people to share the ways in which you can recognize that a tourist is American, besides their accents. Redditors from all over the globe, including from the US, shared their opinions and experiences. Having loads of confidence, talking to waiters and strangers, and being super polite are all just the tip of the iceberg.

Have a scroll through these subtle and not-so-subtle signs that someone’s American, upvote the ones you agree with, and share your own insights from your travels in the comment section. Remember, dear Pandas, this list is a mix of compliments and subtle criticisms—all cultures have their upsides and downsides and it isn’t something that any of us should be ashamed of. However, stereotypes and false assumptions also play a large role in how Americans are seen abroad. More about that below in Bored Panda's interview with a redditor from the US.

#1

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Being called African American while living in the Netherlands

Your_Black_Nemesis , Joey Nicotra Report

Potatogamers2
Community Member
2 months ago

Haha yep! Even African..not all people who are Black are African or African heritage.

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#2

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American I went to Russia once, and they knew I was American because I smiled too much.

Bangbangsmashsmash , Anastasia Vityukova Report

80 Van
Community Member
2 months ago

What a lovely thing to be identified by!

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#3

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Confidence. I have never seen someone walk so confidently in the wrong direction like an American can.

olaolie , Alex Perri Report

Karin Lange
Community Member
2 months ago

i can walk very confidently in the wrong direction also. Believe me, you don't have to be an American to do that.

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I had an insightful chat about cultural stereotypes with redditor Pfl2020, who created another thread about how Americans are viewed abroad. The redditor, who lives in the United States and has traveled abroad and seen the stereotypes foreigners have about Americans firsthand, shared with Bored Panda that some of these points of view are here to stay.

“I think cultural stereotypes are impossible to live without to some degree. Until people have been exposed to other cultures and really understand that there is more than one way to live they will continue to pass judgment on things they don't fully understand,” Pfl2020 told Bored Panda.

#4

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Some Americans are way more polite than expected. Whenever I hear someone say 'ma'am,' I know they're American. One time I was in Lidl and there was an American family asking a worker if they sold cellphones. 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 a lot cheerier than the average Scot.

foundcosy , Alex Bocharov Report

80 Van
Community Member
2 months ago

The use of “ma’am” is somewhat more typical of a specific region of the US (the Southeast, mostly). “Thank you for your time” is a pretty common sentiment throughout the US.

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#5

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American While in Korea, I was casually talking to a friend on the bus in a regular speaking voice. Not even a minute later, the lady in front of us turned around in her seat and very casually said, 'Please calm down.' I guess American volume is noticeably louder.

jrlags , Blake Guidry Report

Kristal
Community Member
2 months ago

Yes it is. I hate it. (I have sound sensitivity)

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#6

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American When Americans cross the street, they expect cars to stop for them. In my country, the cars will run you down without thinking twice.

ToeRagger , Colby Winfield Report

Bear Hall
Community Member
2 months ago

I always tell my American friends: "Here two kinds of people cross the street: the fast and the flat."

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According to the redditor, something that greatly influences how the world stereotypes people from the United States is the media that the country puts out.

“I think pop culture and the prevalence of American media internationally is the true source of so much of the ‘presumption.’ As Americans, we really don't know that much about the way other people around the world live day to day,” they pointed out that many foreigners already have an idea of how Americans are ‘supposed to’ act and can shoehorn some of them into neat little categories when they meet them. After all, we tend to look for things that support our hypotheses when we’ve already come to a conclusion about something.

#7

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American 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 could they tell I'm American? My friend told me, 'It's because you're smiling at them.'

thewidowgorey , pexels Report

Potatogamers2
Community Member
2 months ago

Or because they cam see you're not Italian and the universal tourism language is English?

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#8

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Americans are amazed by old things. My girlfriend used to work on a farm in an estate in the UK and would often have Americans in awe of the old buildings. One time someone said, 'Some of these buildings are older than my country'.

curved_oracle , vaasuu ahluwalia Report

Kirsten Kerkhof
Community Member
2 months ago

That is sad since the US has such a long diverse native culture. I'm from Europe so I'm used to old buildings (the entirely insignificant church in my village is over 600 years old and it's church #4 in its place), and I'm not particularly interested in native American art and culture personally, but I find it rather sad that these people's long history and rich culture is just ... not seen as history. America has thousands of years of history, it just wasn't European for the longest time. /steps off soapbox

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#9

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Saying, 'Hi, how are you?' to baristas, servers, retail workers, etc. My country doesn’t quite have that culture, so I find it really sweet.

tomayto_tomaahto , Brooke Cagle Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

Pretty normal in Australia.

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Pfl2020 told me that they’ve been abroad only a couple of times and it was to visit their wife’s extended family in England. “I was intrigued at the assumptions some placed on us because of where we lived. We just had candid friendly discussions about how we lived that was different from England in particular,” they shared.

The key to being a good tourist is pretty much the same as being a decent human being: respecting others and doing your best to fit in with the local customs. The more time you put into learning about the culture, the better off you’ll be.

#10

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American I was at a beach where music was playing and '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.' Ten seconds later, we heard: 'BA BA BAAAAAA.'

ardyndidnothingwrong , kuszapro Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

I'm not American and I would do the same.

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#11

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American I mean, obviously you could tell they were an American when they spoke, but once 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 wtf she was on about and then it obviously clicked. 'Ye mean the toilet? Aye hen it’s joost back ‘err.'

MogadonMandy , pixabay Report

Joi Cain
Community Member
2 months ago

Love the phonetic skill on this one!

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#12

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American It's 80 degrees out there!

How many miles?

That's two pounds?

whatissevenbysix , Ludovic Migneault Report

Chris Longski
Community Member
2 months ago

"How much is ten pounds in real money ?" I have heard that.

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Also, make sure to learn at least a handful of key words and phrases so that you can communicate with the locals. Yes, English might be a global language but it would be arrogant to assume everyone knows it. Besides, learning a new language before your trip is part of the romance of travel. Embrace the experience.

#13

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American When Americans introduce themselves, they never say they're from America. They mostly say the state/city they're from.

hazily , MAKY_OREL Report

Håvard Hovde
Community Member
2 months ago

I usually reply with "Oh, ok. I'm from Harestua". I've always seen it as them thinking everybody knows where Baltimore or Seattle is, when I usually have no idea UwU

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#14

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American 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 and look around

Zack1018 , Maureen De Wit Report

housea
Community Member
2 months ago

OMG THEY DO!!! And groups of any-aged Americans will just stand in public doorways chatting, completely oblivious they are in everyone’s way. (I’m American, so I can attest to this).

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#15

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American The absolute fearlessness of asking anyone on the street about anything

AthleticallyLazy , Surprising_Shots Report

Miss Cris
Community Member
2 months ago

It's not only a thing of USA people. I life in a touristic city and people from all nationalities, even those steretyped as more introverted, do.

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#16

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American They complain that the portions are too small.

TheBenji300 , congerdesign Report

Harry Potter
Community Member
2 months ago

Our portions are too big!

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#17

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Absolutely no problem with long car/bus drives.

sfzilabs , 4634656 Report

Chris Longski
Community Member
2 months ago

Flick on the radio and engage cruise control -- you're really stylin' then, man ! A cup of Joe, tank of gas and a few donuts from the service plaza and I'm good for another 300 miles... You meet many, many good people on the road -- that's the best part !

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#18

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American They’re overexcited over something ordinary. “OMG look that grass how green it is”

tajmer , p26jp Report

Chris Longski
Community Member
2 months ago

From the time the first Euros fleeing religious persecution arrived on our shores the sense of wonderment never seems to have left us. I lived in Germany three years as a soldier and am of German heritage. The different traditions, especially Christmas, blew me away. My landlord used to invite me for holidays, methinks mostly to see my amazement at the traditions. Plus, I would bring a bottle of Kentucky bourbon...

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#19

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American If you see an American in Japan, they will frantically look for public trash cans. The absence of trash receptacles is something unfounded in the US, and they become confused at the idea of having to hold onto their trash for extended periods of time.

Dayoldpancakes Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

I think many people from various countries would be looking for public rubbish bins, not just Americans.

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#20

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Having conversations with family at a level appropriate to a rock concert. HEY SANDRA WOULD YA LOOK AT THIS!

tragicworldrecord , pixabay Report

troufaki13
Community Member
2 months ago

Have you met Greeks and Italians???

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#21

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American When we were visiting Paris, my wife and I learned that 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.

dcabines , Artur Tumasjan Report

Potatogamers2
Community Member
2 months ago

This is just a difference per restaurant..

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#22

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Americans 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? Y'all, the penguins have gone to bed! Y'all, we missed 'em.’

Rangersgers , Jeffery Erhunse Report

denzoren
Community Member
2 months ago

This is just downright obnoxious....this isn't outspoken.

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#23

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Inability to be discreet + really really really loud.

From across the petrol station on the other pump, I can hear that your wife's pin number is 7321 and she also wants you to buy her a coke, the other lady in the back just wants a sprite or whatever that is over here.

You are counting the money in your wallet on the way into the store out in the open, and i can see you have about a grand in 50's.

Where does the loudness come from, is it because everyone lives in such large houses that are built a few yards apart, so there has just absolutely never been a requirement to be quiet?

SickboyGPK , 1265983 Report

housea
Community Member
2 months ago

I have no idea. As an America I hate that too. Maybe it’s a habit from shopping in big box stores like Target? Maybe we had to holler at each other across the prairies in the olden days? I’m at a loss as well.

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#24

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Americans will try to tip everyone, even in countries where tipping isn't a thing/is considered a serious insult

lukan2 , Dan Smedley Report

80 Van
Community Member
2 months ago

Truly, no harm is meant when that happens (though a bit of cultural research is always advised before visiting another country). It is viewed as rude to not tip in the US, so Americans are simply trying to be polite when they tip, not trying to push some agenda.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#25

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American There was a bowl of ice in the middle of the table for everyone to share between them, and this American guy took the bowl and dumped all of the ice in his own drink. Apparently Americans like ice more than Europeans

BestUserEU , andreas291 Report

Amy Pattie
Community Member
2 months ago

I feel like this goes hand in hand with the “free refills” culture. In other countries, the more ice, the less drink, and ordering/getting more is too much of a haste

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#26

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American They’re looking for a store to be open at like 11 p.m. In most European countries stores close at like 7–8 p.m

millennium-popsicle , Devanath Report

therarestbanana
Community Member
2 months ago

In rural Germany everything closes at 6pm. And good luck trying to shop on a Sunday 😂 the only thing that opens 24/7 are gas stations usually

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#27

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Handing the credit card to the server to be taken away and processed

SherrifOfNothingtown , mastersenaiper Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

I think this is a terrible idea. Never hand your card over, especially out of your sight. Is this normal anywhere else besides the US?

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#28

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American Not looking to blame or shame, but there was this (otherwise Adorable) lady at a social gathering a few weeks back, that started talking about religion, and abortion, and how everyone should basically 'pick a side' (her words). I live in Northern Ireland, and that happened in Derry. Luckily everyone took it fine and the conversation went on after a short silence.

Edit : so pretty much as expected, obviously not all Americans are Muricans :)

lllGreyfoxlll , stephen7272 Report

Downunderdude
Community Member
2 months ago

When it comes to things like abortion, religion or politics, laying down the law among a bunch of people you don't know just marks you as an ignorant, arrogant clod, no matter what your nationality.

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#29

29 People Share How They Can Tell If A Tourist Is American I hear that us Americans can easily be spotted in the airport by the fact usually were use to taking off our shoes in TSA

R3ddspider , pixabay Report

Potatogamers2
Community Member
2 months ago

It all depends what shoes you're wearing. I always have to take them off so I will automatically take them off..not American

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