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Like (probably?) many of you, I like to travel and so I read a lot of travel articles. And then, because I read a lot of travel articles, the “algorithm” knows to suggest travel articles to me, which… causes me to read more travel articles.

So I came across this article recently called 40 Ways to Spot an American Abroad and I thought I’d share (and give a bit of my commentary). The article’s titled 40 ways, the URL is “10 ways”, when I saw it originally it was 20 ways, and I didn’t count the exact number they listed, so let’s just call this “some number” of ways to spot an American traveling abroad

Ways To Spot An American Abroad That Are Calling Me Out

So some of these ways to spot an American abroad definitely made me “feel seen” and I recognize things that I do

  • Grown Men wearing shorts – I guess I hadn’t realized this was something that only Americans do? The article compares it to “a grown man in NYC sporting a child’s Spider-Man backpack”
  • Walking While Eating – On our most recent trip, we had gotten some croissants at a local French bakery and were eating them on our way to our first stop of the day when I realized that nobody else was eating while walking. I wondered if that was an American thing. Turns out it is!
  • Going to McDonalds – Okay okay you got me – I eat at McDonalds on vacation. Though I’ll say that when we were at McDonalds on this most recent European trip, it was full of people that to me appeared to be locals.
  • Wearing Graphic Tees – Okay now you’re just getting mean! 🙂

Ways To Spot An American Abroad I Agree With (even if they’re not me)

A few of these ways I think are generally accurate though personally they aren’t me

  • Wearing Baseball Caps
  • Applauding – This drives me crazy too
  • Not understanding the metric system – I am not a pro at the metric system but having worked on teams with people from Canada and Europe, I understand it fine. The biggest trick someone taught me about temperature was that 16C ~= 61F. Then you can kind of figure it out from there up and down
  • Drinking too much – as I’ve mentioned before, I personally don’t drink alcohol
  • Not knowing a foreign language – At least on this one

Ways To Spot An American Abroad I Disagree With

  • Saying “bro” and “sup” – sure, there is a certain class of Americans that do this, but I think it’s the vast minority.
  • Glued to their phone – Sure, Americans are often glued to their phone, but my experience has been that pretty much everyone in the developed world is – Americans no more than anyone else
  • Too many selfies – again, Americans do this, but so do many Western Europeans and other cultures I think

The Bottom Line

This is just a sampling of the list – feel free to checkout the entire list of 40 Ways to Spot an American AbroadI’m curious to hear your take on what you think are the best ways to spot an American abroad. Is it because we’re loud? Overweight? Drink too much? Only eat at McDonalds? I’m curious to hear your take.

What do you think of this list of ways to spot an American abroad? What was your favorite? Or do you have one that isn’t on the list? Leave it in the comments below


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