You’ve been reading about our trip to Ireland and I can’t help but comment on some of the other travelers we ran into. Why is it that we can always spot an American abroad? We could spot the loud travelers everywhere and I quietly wished before they spoke that they weren’t American, but they opened their mouths and it was all over. We were on a great tour getting loads of historical and cultural information, but the American couple seated in front of us kept asking the most ridiculous and stupid questions and laughing at their own jokes. They were in their own bubble, never noticing that no one thought they were funny or that some of their comments were inappropriate. “We almost bought a CD of 50 Irish fighting songs and one with 50 Irish drinking songs” or “Is that the IRA?” I love that Mike, our tour guide who I will write more about later, completely blew them off after a while and only answered relevant questions.
But why does this happen? Why can’t we assimilate when traveling? These are the same travelers that when traveling abroad expect people to speak English to them even if it is a non-English speaking country. When you don’t even make an effort to try a language and demand that others speak English, why are you even traveling abroad? These are the same people who will stay at a Best Western or Hilton instead of trying a local B&B or hotel and will search out McDonald’s over the local cuisine.
Have you ever visited the site Urban Dictionary? Here is their definition of Loud American:
The loud american is an obnoxious buffoon, one who, even though may be in a quiet room feels the need to talk at the top of their voice, also known to excessive bragging. Compounded when combined with the Ignorant american NOTE: Not all americans are loud, some seem to be actually quite normal, it just seems the ones on holiday wherever i am happen to be of the LOUD variety.
I was in an airport waitng area once with about 300 people, i was at one end and at the other a pair of loud americans were clealy audible over everybody else’s chatter.
Here is a drunk American tourist who interrupted a Guatemalan beauty pageant. Ok, the story isn’t true, but I wouldn’t be surprised to read about it if it were.
So let’s say you have never traveled outside of the country and after reading this I have made you nervous – what should you do? Be open to the possibility that there is so much out there outside of the United States. I don’t think anyone purposely goes out of their way to be an obnoxious tourist – I do think it just happens and no one wants to say anything. You can have a great time without being loud or being the center of attention. Read up on the country you are going to visit before you go and learn some of the customs and what to avoid before you go. What is acceptable in one circle may not be in another. Can you imagine if a 50-year-old man started talking like a 16-year-old at his son’s school? The kids would lose it! It’s exactly the same when traveling to other countries.
Part of the fun of traveling is learning about the places you will visit before you go. Add some extra time to your planning to make yourself a more responsible tourist. You might find your trip to be more enjoyable as you meet people from other countries traveling with you and you will probably have a great time! If you were willing to step out of your comfort zone and your hometown, then you are also willing to try traveling as a responsible tourist. Don’t be that stereotype!