It’s the fourth of July here in Great Britain, and like any good Americans, we’ve had our cookouts and even managed to squeeze in a road trip. We weren’t the only Americans exploring England this Independence Day weekend. Quite a few other American families were out and about in southwest England. No conversations were necessary to know they were also Americans. You just know. Which got me thinking about why it is so easy to spot American tourists.
To celebrate this 4th of July here’s a list of reasons why Americans are everyone’s favorite tourists:
- You can always hear us. What was that? Oh, you need me to speak even louder? No problem, because obviously, louder is clearer.
- You can always spot us. We rock bright colors like it’s nobody’s business. While the rest of Europe prefers their muted colors and shades of black, our t-shirts scream more patriotically than yours.
- We get personal. Fast. Where am I from, you ask? Well, I’m originally from Texas but my mom’s family lived in Florida for a long time and she doesn’t get along with her sister so they moved to Texas when I was a baby. Oh, I said that too fast? Here, let me say it even louder and enunciate so you understand better.
- McDonalds. You’re welcome. Tired of eating weird, over-priced food you can’t pronounce when you travel? We were.
- We’re not stalkers. I might have just interrogated you for five minutes and learned your life story after asking countless personal questions, but I wasn’t actually paying attention. I could have asked you where Lisbon was before I inquired about your marital status, but I think it’s just one of those small European countries that doesn’t really matter.
- We’re always willing to help you improve your language skills. Look, I know we’re in Paris, but I speak English. And your English sucks. So I’ll just correct your use of prepositions while you demonstrate your bilingual limitations.
While the words above are all very tongue-in-cheek, I can say in all honesty that my favorite thing about my fellow American tourists is we can laugh at ourselves. I’ve come to understand and appreciate the stereotypes that follow Americans traveling the globe. And I’ve definitely been guilty of some of the offenses above at one time or another. (Particularly the loud one—which it seems my children have also inherited. We’re aware of it and working earnestly to use our indoor voices even when we’re outside.) But, in general, American tourists really do mean well. We’re friendly and genuine.
Happy Independence Day!