"Ugly American" Tourists?
I just stumbled upon this Yahoo! Travel piece with advice on how to avoid standing out as an "Ugly American" tourist: Are you an 'ugly American?' - Yahoo! Travel
While articles such as this usually speak in broad, sweeping generalizations, there are some valid points.
Do you feel that Americans are in fact more boorish when traveling abroad than other nationalities? Do you do anything in particular to "blend in" when on vacation? Personally, I think a number of Americans are guilty of speaking quite loudly in public. I always try to be mindful of my volume when traveling...
Not so ugly American tourists....
Just a few observations...
First of all, the title just doesn't reflect the content. Just because someone isn't a savvy traveler, it doesn't mean they are "ugly".
I think that many of the observations in this article are appropriate for those who only make it across the "pond" once in a lifetime and it does not refer to the select few that are commenting in this forum.
I have spent ample time in both Europe and the USA and understand why the two ways of life collide when they meet. In Europe, women dress up and put make-up on just to go to the market or to take out the trash. Americans are just more casual.
My wife is of the European sort and often wears high heels while on vacation. I on the other hand wear shorts and the most comfortable shoes I have. Quite the blend... I do agree with other comments that you must be respectful and aware of your surroundings. Places of worship, dining out and an evening walk on the Champs Elysees all require slacks in my book.
I do find my fellow Americans to be louder than anyone else during their travels. This stands out most in Europe because Europeans are guarded in expressing emotion. To a certain degree being a tad loud is acceptable but if it's putting a damper on someone's experience, its probably gone too far.
Regarding tips, it is absurd to think that over-tipping is offensive.
I will continue to be grateful and mindful towards other cultures as they have given me a much broader view of the world and a better understanding of my own.