‘Besides their accent, what’s one way you know a tourist is American?’ 23 dead giveaways

No matter how much you think you’re blending in with the locals when you go away on your holidays, you can bet your bottom dollar (or euro) that you’re basically fooling no-one.

And by all accounts you’re particularly likely to stand out if you’re an American. And not just because of your accent (that would be a bit too obvious, obviously).

Why are we wanging on like this? Because we’ve been thinking of Redditor mknapp37 who had a question for the good people of AskReddit.

“Besides their accent, what’s one way you know a tourist is American?”

Not all Americans, obviously, just some of them. Quite a lot of them, you might think. Anyway, we’ve read all the answers so you don’t have to – well, quite a few of them – and these stood out.


‘The absolute fearlessness of asking anyone on the street about anything.

‘Edit: I don’t mean this negatively, I’m just saying 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 bald headed skinny man with face tattoos and a tracksuit suddenly asked “Hey bud, d’ya know where…” It’s quite admirable.’



‘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.’


‘Having conversations with family at a level appropriate to a rock concert. HEY SANDRA WOULD YA LOOK AT THIS!’


‘They get amazed by old things.

‘Girlfriend used to work on a farm and an estate in the U.K. and would often have Americans in awe of the old buildings.

‘One once said ‘some of these buildings are older than my country.’


‘Confidence. I have never seen someone walk so confidently in the wrong direction like an American can.’


‘Normally the way you dress. For some reason some of you guys treat going abroad like you’re going to do some hardcore Amazon exploring but you’re in Europe.

‘Or if you guys are in London you have a magnet attached to you that’s attracted to telephone and post boxes.’


‘When Americans cross the street, they expect cars to stop for them. In my country, the cars will run you down without thinking twice.’


‘If you see an American in Japan, they will frantically look for public trash cans.

‘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.’


‘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.’’


‘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”.’


‘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 wtf she was on about and then it obviously clicked. “Ye mean the toilet? Aye hen it’s joost back ‘err”.’


‘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.’