Picture this: you’re standing in line at the Louvre in Paris. You’ve been waiting in line for an hour, just like everyone else. The guy behind you sighs loudly (he’s wearing a ridiculously large camera around his neck and a hat that screams I’m a tourist) turns to his wife next to him. “Why is this taking so long,” he complains. “I don’t see what in the world is taking so long, I just HATE waiting in line! The french are so ridiculous about security.”
Or you’re out at night eating dinner at a restaurant in Italy, and the table full of American girls next to you is getting progressively louder with every bottle of wine they order.
Or you step to the side of the street to read your map in England, and you hear the LOUD, all-too-familiar American accent stand out in the crowd of reserved Brits trying to make the next subway train. Everyone turns to see the noisy American. Attention focuses on him and the lights go up.
Especially in Europe, American’s have a reputation for being loud, obnoxious, drunk, stupid and annoying. Every time I’d hear an American accent on the road, part of me would cringe inside and want to run the other way. I’m not like the rest of them I promise! I’ve had more conversations about the American stereotype with foreigners than I can count on my two hands, and I’ve had plenty of people say stuff along the lines of: You know, for an American, you sure aren’t very Yankee. For one thing, you seem to know something about something.
This stereotype, however, just isn’t all that true. Sure, I’ve met plenty of well behaved Yanks on the road, but anyone who has ever traveled outside the U.S. probably knows what I’m talking about. I want to know, American or not, what you think the most offensive or embarrassing travel faux paux is. Have a great story about a run-in with a crazy tourist? Send it my way to email@example.com