As an American, I always try to blend in when I travel. But maybe I'm not doing a great job, because apparently people from abroad have quite a few ideas about how you can immediately identify an American. So redditor u/Ermland2 asked, "What’s an obvious sign someone’s American?" Here are some of the responses.
1. "In Salzburg, I went to pick up something from the drugstore. As I was checking out, I said hello to the cashier (thinking there was very little difference between how I said it and how Austrians say it). But the cashier immediately started speaking to me in English. I asked her how she knew I was American, and she stared at me in the eye and said, 'Hellloooo.' I just about died laughing. I'm a very stereotypical friendly American who says hello exactly like that. It's one of my favorite memories from that trip."
2. "I worked as a cashier in a touristy area of Paris. I always recognized Americans immediately because they were especially friendly to me and they always left tips."
3. "An Italian told me that Americans walk confidently in the wrong direction."
4. "They ask, 'How's your day going?' or 'How are you doing?' in completely random circumstances."
5. "When you ask where they're from, they don't say 'America' (which would make many people wonder which part). Instead, they say something like, 'I'm from Texas!' No other people in the world tell you what state or region they are from. They usually start at a continental level, like, 'I'm from Europe,' and then maybe go further as to tell you their home country if the conversation continues. American folks just go straight to the state. 'I'm from Texas,' 'I'm from Florida,' etc. Half of them just say their town, which nobody knows. Then, when you look confused, they say their state like, 'Oh, it's in Texas.'"
7. "They always look cheerful and are constantly smiling and looking happy. Tourists from other places appear more neutral or even unhappy."
8. "They ask, 'So, what do you do?' right after meeting someone. It's not a faux pas or anything, but it's just something that seems to be more important to Americans."
9. "They drive from one shop to the next, even if it's only a 50-meter walk."
10. "They give gentle grins to strangers as they pass by and make eye contact. It may be received in the Midwest, but not so much in Germany."
11. "When I lived in Europe, people said only Americans eat while walking. If I was eating a bagel or something on the way to work or class, multiple people would ask if I was American."
12. "Tipping. Americans will try to tip everyone, even in countries where tipping isn't a thing and can even be considered insulting."
13. "They act so amazed by things that are more than 200 years old, presumably because they don't have many things that old in the USA."
14. "To quote a Latvian woman I met at a hostel: 'You hear Americans coming like the thunder.' More often than not, if people are talking and laughing louder than everyone else, they’re American."
15. "They drink coffee in to-go cups. My partner's Italian mother absolutely can't get over the idea of seeing people walk around holding coffees. Americans are the only ones who don't enjoy their coffee while seated at a café."
16. "I was once on a biking tour in Europe, and there was one man who blatantly fit the bill: He had an unusual beard and huge white teeth, he was extremely friendly and a bit loud, and he literally carried a jar of peanut butter with him (he said that it was the most efficient way to fuel up for his exercise)."
17. "In my homestay in London, I was told that I was 'so American' for enjoying a piece of cake for breakfast. I'm not talking frosted cake, but a slice of coffee cake with nuts and dried fruit. Apparently, in Europe this should exclusively be eaten as an afternoon snack — whereas breakfast should be a savory meal."
18. "When asked how far away something is, an American will tell how you long it takes to get there in minutes as opposed to the physical distance."
19. "From what I've been told by European friends and travelers, it's a complete and utter lack of an indoor voice that instantly reveals an American."
20. "An Italian told me he could tell I was American right away because I wore my sunglasses on the top of my head when I wasn’t using them."
21. "I’ve always observed that my friends from the US like to point at stuff while walking and narrate what it is. We were out walking around Amsterdam recently and they were like, 'Hey, look, it’s a smoke shop’…‘Oh, look, a sex shop’…'Look at the canal.' It was like watching Netflix with audio descriptions turned on."
22. "They wear crew socks in white running shoes, khaki cargo shorts, a polo shirt, and a baseball cap. It's the typical outfit of an American tourist traveling around Europe after retirement."
23. "Someone asked if I was American in a group setting, and another person spoke up before I could respond. He said, 'Of course he's American, look at his teeth. Apparently, most Americans get braces."
24. "They are not wearing Speedos at the beach. And for this, I’d like to thank American men!"
25. "When they claim to be one-eighth German, one-eighth Irish, one-sixteenth Scottish, one-sixteenth Spanish, three-eighths French, and one-fourth Canadian."
So, non-Americans, what did I miss? What's a telltale sign that someone is from the US? Tell us in the comments.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.