How To: Not Look Like an American While Abroad in Europe
Chris, our friend Scott, and I arrived in Germany the last week. Sorry for the lack of posts. We’ve been acquainting ourselves with the local beer–but not the local women quite yet, unfortunately. While it’s a tad pessimistic and unpatriotic, not looking like an American has its advantages. You are less of an obvious target for pick-pocketers, for one. Although looking like an American every day does lend itself to spontaneous conversation.
A quick apology for our international readers; hopefully you can derive some humor out of this post and help out if we’re missing anything. Here’s a few things I’ve learned while in Dusseldorf, Germany:
- Dress the part. Let’s face it, most people in Europe dress better. Avoiding hooded sweatshirts, flip-flops/sandals/slippers, athletic shoes, non-New York Yankees baseball caps will help you blend in a little bit more. Collared shirts, a nice jacket, and “European” shoes will have locals asking you for directions.
- Don’t have your travel guide/translator/language dictionary in your hand at all times. Duh.
- Don’t take pictures of every single new thing. Shit looks different outside of the U.S. Get over it.
- Try to learn everyday language. As my friend puts it best, “It’s the effort that counts.”
- Make a conscious effort to keep your voice down. For reasons unbeknownst the world, Americans tend to talk louder. Much louder. You’ll get that feeling like you’re the only one talking in a public place quite a bit.
- Get a messenger bag. Backpacks are dead giveaways. Just because the phrase is “backpacking around Europe” doesn’t mean you have to use a backpack.
Did we miss anything?
Stay tuned for “How To: Look Like an American in Asia (and Why This is a Good Thing).”