Travel tips: 10 great ways to hide that you are American

Tips for tourists to hide that you're American No one likes Americans! Whether you are a family staying in a luxury resort in the Alps, or a student backpacking through Thailand, follow these 10 great tips to hide your nationality — and have a better time travelling.

1. Tell people you are Canadian

While many people in the world harbor disdain for Americans, everybody loves Canadians. They are easygoing, funny, and a host of other untrue stereotypes. In order to convincingly “be” Canadian, you’ll need to know a few basic facts, such as that Canadia is located to the north of the United States, and that its capital city is Toronto.

2. Learn to speak English with a French accent

The biggest giveaway that you are American is when you loudly demand in your nasally Yooper accent, “do you speak English?” What better way to hide your linguistic handicap than to learn to speak with another country’s accent? And why not a French accent? Try imitating Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau in the video below:

3. Don’t smile, ever

Often, a sure sign someone is American is that she smiles all the time, as if she just farted and got away with it. Smiling is especially common among American tourists when they encounter locals speaking their native languages, whether it’s a street vendor in Peru or a group of schoolgirls in Japan. Americans correctly assume that they are being mocked, and they believe they can ward off any further mockery by incessant toothy grinning. In reality, this only give locals more reason to make fun of you. The best bet: don’t smile. Ever.

4. Apologize for World War II

Many people, particularly in Europe and eastern Asia, still associate Americans with our involvement in the Second World War. As soon as you show your passport to the hotel clerk at check-in, she will look at you and see gunships, atomic bombs, and savage GIs handing out sugary chewing gum to children in order to rot their teeth. Try to make a local feel more at ease by repeatedly apologizing for our meddling in foreign skirmishes. If that doesn’t work, tell her your passport is fake and that you are an anti-American jihadist.

5. Break out of your culinary habits

Americans are known to be picky eaters who stick to what they know. Show locals that you aren’t American by bravely following the example of diners around you. In Bangladesh, if you see others enjoying what appears to be fermented monkey brains, order the fermented monkey brains. If the waiter looks offended and tells you they don’t serve fermented monkey brains, ask why not.

6.  Hide your face

Using a veil to cover your face can help hide your grotesque Americanness.

Using a veil to cover your face can help hide your inherent American tackiness. Photo by Steve Evans

No matter how much the demographic makeup of the USA changes, most people in the world still think all Americans are white and have flawless skin and impeccable teeth. Wearing a mask and gloves is a good way to hide your skin. If you are a women, try wearing a burka. Heck, even if you are man, wear a burka. That way, no will know where you are from.

7. Don’t tip

For better or for worse, Americans are known to be big tippers. While you might think this could help you get better service, it won’t. Giving large tips makes you look rich and generous — which is confusing. Also, if locals think you are rich, they might rob you, and if they think you are generous, they’ll think you are stupid, and they’ll still rob you. Get around this by never tipping. If possible, only pay about 90 percent of a bill in restaurant, and then, in your French accent, promise to pay the rest later.

8. If you are female, don’t travel alone

American women are some of the most liberated on Earth, and they show this by venturing alone to the four corners of the world. Although European women are joining their American sisters as solo voyagers, most females in the world simply don’t travel alone. If you are an American woman with no friends, find a group of local men to carry you aloft on a sedan chair. Better yet: get a local to pose as your husband while you travel.

9. Make an effort to dress up

A dead giveaway of an American is sweat pants, an ill-fitting t-shirt and sports shoes. Trick others into believing you aren’t American by wearing a ball gown or tuxedo wherever you go. Locals, especially in fashion-conscious countries like Italy and France, will appreciate the effort. Who knows? They might even invite you to an underground fashion show where you will be the belle of the ball.

10. Learn local songs and dances

Nothing can better help you blend in while visiting a foreign country than pretending you are one of them. Invest in some traditional clothing before you travel. If you learn some folk dances, you can show off in an impromptu street demonstration. Who knows — perhaps other American tourists will even look at you say, “wow, check out at that native woman proudly wrapped in a sarong and wearing clogs on her feet while flamenco dancing.”

In the video below, a family is performing a traditional English Morris Dance, something that most English people do three to four times per week. In the video, several American tourists have snuck into the group. Can you spot them?

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