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Posted: 6/11/2001 12:49:24 PM EDT
Here's a question for you world travellers: What are some tips to avoid standing out as an American tourist in Europe? I already know not to wear a cowboy hat and to avoid snapping pictures everywhere. [:E]
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 12:52:14 PM EDT
From what I hear, most Europeans think Americans wear baseball caps and jeans.
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 12:56:40 PM EDT
dont wear bright color clothes. talk very little. and/or learn as much of the local langauge as possable before going.
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 12:59:47 PM EDT
Don't shower or shave for a few days and nobody will ever guess you're an American![:D] Especially in France... Eric The(Globetrotting)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 1:03:25 PM EDT
Tough to not look like an American. When I lived in Europe I had a hard time finding their clothes in my size. Avoid tennis shoes and hiking boots unless you are actually hiking or doing athletics. Wear darker colors, black, and sweaters. Wear khakis and perhaps Bass-style walking shoes. Despite what you read in the left-wing press, many Europeans like Americans, even the French. GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 1:04:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/11/2001 1:08:07 PM EDT by raven]
I went there last spring. Yes, Europeans dress completely different than I do at home. Jeans and baseball caps, yeah. Backpacks are also a dead giveaway. Have you heard of Americans sewing Canadian flag patches on their backpacks so they won't be thought of as Americans? That's a pathetic way of trying to hide your nationality. Mainly, Europeans love the color black. Everyone wears black. This was in spring, maybe they wear white or something for the summer. But I felt like a goofball in my dark green rainjacket, synthetic fleece, hiking shoes. They all have cellular phones, too. When I was in Amsterdam though, I bought a junky-ass bike for $5 from an African gentleman. After that, Dutch folks were always addressing me in Dutch at first, before they switched to perfect English. If you go to Amsterdam be sure to get a bicycle. Oh yeah, and the Brits seem obsessed with designer labels on clothes. Be sure to bring a watch, always know where you are on the map, make a photocopy of your passport which makes it easier to get a replacement if you lose the original. Can you bring pepper spray? Probably not...pressurized cannisters on a plane. Some fuckers tried to mug me in Amsterdam. Pepper spray would have been nice to have.
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 1:07:51 PM EDT
Don't do that "swapping the fork when you eat" thing. Screams "American!" everywhere. The fork stays in your left hand. Cover you passport when presenting it (or get a false cover for it); Immigration understands. Get Travelers' Checks from a foreign bank (French or Swiss).
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 1:15:16 PM EDT
One thing we were always told is to was to travel to Europe with just the clothing on your back and upon arrival buy European. The cut, and of course brands, are different, so to blend in wear European.Also shoes, get locally. Avoid anything that looks military, if you wear short hair let it get shaggy prior to the trip. If military not on official business, leave military ID home or hide it(neck cases get found to easy). One big thing is don't flash money around, and change to local currency asap. If you use traveler's checks, cash them for local currency at your hotel before heading out. Anyone looking for an American will watch the places that cash and take them, your hotel is fairly safe from that but still do it at times when the lobby is fairly vacant. There's a whole course given on this but the big thing is, look like them, act like them and eat like them...even the best will get caught at suppertime[B)] Jim
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 1:21:03 PM EDT
I lived in Germany for 3 years. I also came off as German to most europeans; untill I spoke. I actually found more agression toward germans for the war and their economic standing in the european community than did toward being an American. Unless your traveling in certain parts of Amsterdam or Greece I wouldn't worry about it. Just don't do anything stupid that you wouldn't do in the states. Oh, by the way, most these socialist holes don't have a Bill of Rights. Just keep it in mind. [;)]
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 1:30:48 PM EDT
Wear you hair and clothes like you did in the '80s. My 11 year old son was looking at my wedding photos from the mid '80s. He saw a picture of two of my best friends at the reception decked out in the stylish dark suits, slightly longish hair and molester mustaches popular at the time. He wanted to know who the two "French guys" were in the picture! [thinking]
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 1:40:56 PM EDT
Don't wear this: Pleated chino shorts Tucked in T-Shirts, emblazened w/logos White socks Sneakers Baseball hat One of those sunglasses-holding strings around your neck. Don't be fat. Start there.
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 1:59:42 PM EDT
Did the Columbia thing, not allowed to wear sunglasses, had to buy local clothes, grow facial hair. Fun stuff. Good luck. Ice
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 2:04:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Matt VDW: Here's a question for you world travellers: What are some tips to avoid standing out as an American tourist in Europe?
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Here's an angle - Dress like some punk rock freak, have multiple piercings and colored or spiked hair.
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 4:32:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 5:05:23 PM EDT
Punk rockers aren't freaks, kevin! (lol) Signed, Phrigid of the green hair and nosering
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 5:15:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/11/2001 5:25:29 PM EDT by libertarian]
Wear cammies and carry an L85A1. oh and refer to everyone as a bloke. Bloody lib
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 5:42:44 PM EDT
Originally Posted By phrigid: Punk rockers aren't freaks, kevin! (lol) Signed, Phrigid of the green hair and nosering
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Seems like I'm stepping on quite a few toes tonight!!!
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 5:47:10 PM EDT
Just say: "America sucks." Then you will blend with any European.
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 5:48:43 PM EDT
I could loan you my "I support the IRA" T-shirt. It oughtta go over real well. McBalming
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 6:27:00 PM EDT
It's okay Kevin...I'm just misunderstood. [>(] [>(] [>(] [>(]
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 5:58:28 AM EDT
Thanks for the tips, guys. I didn't even think about "forkmanship". Hey, if I dressed as a mime, that would give me an excuse not to talk, right? [:o)]
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 6:13:51 AM EDT
Originally Posted By phrigid: Punk rockers aren't freaks, kevin! (lol) Signed, Phrigid of the green hair and nosering
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Oh yes they are. Norm
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 6:20:47 AM EDT
I live and work in Nevada,tourist magnet. These are my tips: Don't ask stupid questions. Tip like the locals. Watch what you smoke or nibble on, all the tourists I see like to bring homegrown cigarettes. Oh yeah, you must smoke.
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 6:23:46 AM EDT
Just bring lots-o-spending cash. Everyone will love you...
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 6:25:54 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Matt VDW: Here's a question for you world travellers: What are some tips to avoid standing out as an American tourist in Europe? I already know not to wear a cowboy hat and to avoid snapping pictures everywhere. [:E]
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I had a friend go over to Germany as a foreign exchange student a couple of years ago. He told me that at one point he walked into a store picked up his item and then went to pay for it. He had not said a word when he was in the store and he said that his cloths would not easily tip off the guy behind the counter. However when he went to pay for his goods the cashier looked at him and said, "ok, so that'll be 6.50." When my friend asked how he knew that he was American the man said that you can just tell and that nothing in particular tipped him off he just knew it.
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 6:34:04 AM EDT
Yeah, I can usually tell if someone's Russian just by looking at them. Lots of Russians in my town, and they're easily identified. Especially middle-aged Russians.
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 6:42:49 AM EDT
Coat and tie.
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 6:47:29 AM EDT
Originally Posted By AR_Rifle: Coat and tie.
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...Actually, try a suit with no tie. Never wear brown shoes.
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 7:16:32 AM EDT
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Originally Posted By AR_Rifle: Coat and tie. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ...Actually, try a suit with no tie. Never wear brown shoes.
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And not wearing a camera around the neck or carry any airline bag. (Dead giveaway)
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 7:21:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/12/2001 7:20:36 AM EDT by Renamed]
Coat and tie.
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Like this guy? [img]http://www.multimania.com/julbulus/sartre2.jpeg[/img]
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 7:25:45 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 7:34:00 AM EDT
Buy youself one of those pre-ban AK47s they have everywere and dont forget the dirty dish towel to put on your head.Ups you said Europe not the middle east, nevermind.[thinking]
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 7:45:52 AM EDT
Several really great tips: 1) If you rent a hotel room, get one on the second to fifth floor. It's much easier to rob a guy on the ground floor and it's much easier to evacuate a burning building from 5th and lower. Above that it's hard for any counrty to fight fires. 2) Do not wear anything miltary. Any military. Military are terrorist targets, pure and simple. Travelling overseas, even on military orders, bring a passport. If you get hijacked and they start segragating the passengers, the miltary folks are in for it. 3) Try to learn the language. Even if you suck at it, it will also imbedd the culture into you. The local folks will also appreciate the effort and you'll be accepted. That goes along way to blending in. 4) Avoid smelly things, like after shave, certain foods, etc. that are American brands. Don't smell like an American. I still bathe though overseas regardless. There's some chances you just have to take. 5) As mentioned, avoid American brands. Even if you're doing a great job blending in, the'll figure you have money because you have real Levis or whatever. 6) Attitude. What you transmit in your attitude and behavior is what people will pick up on. Think of yourself as a Czech, Indonesian, Zulu, whatever, and you will be suprised what you can pull off. Ross
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 8:14:44 AM EDT
Watch the BBC for a few hours. You won't even want to go.
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 9:02:01 AM EDT
Just avoid the obvious, jeans, tennies, cowboy/baseball hats etc... Look at what the locals are wearing when you get there and pack enough of a variety of clothing to adapt. I went to Senegal in '99 and wore dress slacks, button front short sleeves shirt and semi dress shoes (Clark's) in black. I also carried my trusty walking stick everywhere and people thought I was French, then Swiss, then English and a smattering of other nationalities. I can't remember anyone pegging me as American. In third world countries a polite head shake NO with a hand held up "STOP" seemed work almost every time. Of course the other hand had a firm grasp on my walking stick, so that may have helped with some of the more aggressive vendors. Just don't look at what they are selling or, worst of all, PICK UP anything they are selling.
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 9:11:09 AM EDT
When in Germany (in a bar or Gasthaus), say "Ich mochte ein Weissen, bitte." (I'd like a weissen beer, please) you'll love it! seriously, though; DON'T ever give the "OK" sign with thumb and forefinger, the thumb is used to signal "one", the forefinger "two", thumb and first two fingers is "Three", on up is the same. It's a compliment to belch at the dinner table (I never got that one). Do try to learn a little of the language, too. They appreciate it, and it can even help you pick up women (they think it's "cute"). If traveling with children, NEVER raise your voice to your kids (Germans never do this, and have the most well-behaved children in public I have ever seen). The police in Germany are extremely polite and helpful, but don't get on their bad side! If you rent a car, don't even think about drinking and driving; you can be arrested for DUI sitting in a bar with your keys in your hand-it shows the "intent." Most cops, though, will even give you a ride somewhere, if you are lost. One place that is safe for GIs is Luxembourg; I went around the anniversery of 3rd Army's liberation, and since I was a GI, I wasn't allowed to pay for room, food, or drinks. I asked why, and the Gasthaus owner asked me if I had seen the American cemetary. I told him I had, and he said "They paid for you." All in all, you'll love Europe! The museums are terrific! If you make it to Nuremburg, go to the "Green Goose," or to the "Nashville" which has rock night on Thursday and Sunday. More women than you can shake a stick at.
Link Posted: 6/12/2001 12:46:31 PM EDT
I'm a field service engineer and have travelled to Europe quite a few times in the last year. I am constantly being taken as a local until I have to open my mouth. I leave my jeans and cowboy boots at home, wear khakis, dress shirts and casual leather shoes. Like the others said, learn a few phrases and numbers then get acquainted with the local currency (you can pull out your cash and pay say 'thank you' and 'goodbye' at a shop and no one will know you're not local). I also don't carry a wallet, just put any cash in my front pocket. I tend to stay away from the 'tourist' spots at night, prefer to eat at neighborhood restaurants and don't drink to excess (local beer or wine with the meal is good and almost expected). Traveling alone it's easy to keep a low profile: study your map before leaving the hotel, and if you need to check your bearings find a quiet corner off of the street, act like you know exactly where you're going and don't gawk at the sights, you can check things out casually with looking like lil' Abner on his first trip to the big city. Funny story: I was in Brussels last October, walking back to my hotel after dinner. A woman and her boyfriend/husband were walking across the square as I entered. The woman broke off from her man and came straight towards me speaking in french. I was just about to use one of my few phrases 'Je ne comprends pas' (I don't understand) when I caught the name of the restaurant I had just left. I smiled and said "Oui" and pointed down the direction I had come from. She smiled back said "Merci, bonsoir" and headed back to the guy. I'm sure she had no clue that I was winging it. Anyway, good luck and have fun whereever you go. JT
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