It’s easy enough to blend in when you are at home. When you’re traveling in a different country, however, customs can be a bit different than your norm. Whether you’re worried about the current political climate, or you simply don’t want to be made fun of for wearing your beanie cap to the beach, take these following tips to heart.
Take the time to learn the different denominations of the currency in the country you’re visiting. Especially the coins. It’s a dead giveaway that you’re “not from here” when you slap a ton of coins on the counter when paying for your soda.
When you go out to eat at the place everyone says is a “must taste,” take notice of how the waiters will fight to get your table the moment they hear you speak. Your accent is something you obviously can’t change, but being American in a tourist hotspot means the waiters expect that you’ll tip well. Even though tipping is not a culture in many countries abroad.
Ethnocentrism can rear its ugly head in you in quite amusing ways. For instance, just because you speak English, does not mean that everyone around the world does, too. And speaking louder or slower will not help matters. Brush up on the language, and it doesn’t hurt to learn local colloquialisms either.
Your clothing style may be one of total functionality, but if you wear your North Face jacket, a No Fear t-shirt, and your Ugg boots, you may as well just buy a 40×60 American flag, drape it around yourself, and belt it at the waist. Donning some cultural apparel that fits your location certainly can’t hurt your case.
When all else fails, making light of some of the more embarrassing American issues can get a few laughs and go a long way towards erasing your blinding American spotlight. Even if only for a little while.