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:

  1. 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.

  2. Don’t have your travel guide/translator/language dictionary in your hand at all times. Duh.

  3. Don’t take pictures of every single new thing. Shit looks different outside of the U.S. Get over it.

  4. Try to learn everyday language. As my friend puts it best, “It’s the effort that counts.”

  5. 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.

  6. 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).”