Tourist alert

What is the typical American tourist like?  Loud, arrogant, impatient, badly dressed?  Cluelessly expecting the rest of the world to think, communicate, and operate the way America does?  Ignorant of their destination country’s culture, language, etc.?  That probably covers it.  That’s why some American companies are issuing booklets on how to be a good tourist to their traveling employees.  Some of the tips are just common sense and courtesy, but I guess some of us need special help…  I’m thinking that this guide should be given to everyone the moment they board the plane

Personally I haven’t had a chance to be a “real” tourist yet, but we’re traveling to Germany in August so we’ll see how that goes.  Admittedly, one of my fears is being perceived as another lame American once I open my mouth and English (or bad German) comes out…  So I’ve been practicing my deaf-mute routine.  Just kidding. 🙂

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  1. A lot of people in Europe speak English, but they seem to appreciate it when you attempt to speak their language, even if you mangle it. It’s the Americans who demand that Europeans speak English that come off as arrogant (gee, I wonder why?). Also, if you are nice and friendly and you smile a lot, they are nice and helpful and friendly back.

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  2. i found that the best way of operating in a different country is be honest in your attempt to understand the place you are visiting. i don’t foresee that being a problem for you. enjoy the adventure and the opportunity. it’s like visiting someone’s home for the first time. they love it when you compliment what is good even if you don’t like it all

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  3. You will be fine. Believe me. My family will love you. What’s not to love really?
    Germans are especially used to having Americans around. The American military has been a huge presence in Germany since the end of WWII. It does at times paint a certain picture of America that might not be the most flattering, but Germans are very used to seeing stupid American behavior. Even though they might not have the highest regard for the American government, our military or our policies, I’ve found that most Europeans can do something that Americans have a harder time doing: seperate the people from their country. They can not like our government and our countries practices, but still like the people. Both my mother and my mother’s older sister married American servicemen.
    I think one of the biggest problems that most Americans tourist have in Europe is letting go of our sense of entitlement. When you go into a store or restaurant in the US, most people expect the staff will be up your ass the moment you walk in there. Customer service in Europe can be quite different. Many times, it’s just fine and the people are friendly and courteous. However, I’ve seen many Americans get quite offended when they encounter a person who doesn’t buy into, “the customer is always right”. You might get that a little in Wackernheim or Mainz, but if we go to Cologne or Berlin, it will probably be less pronounced.

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  4. I found while travelling in Europe several years ago that people were a lot nicer to me when I wore a Canadian flag pin on my jacket than when they just assumed that I was Amerikan. Pretty nifty, eh?

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