Americans Are Sharing How Locals Immediately Clocked Them As Americans, And Some Of These Are Hilariously Correct

As an American who's lived abroad, I frequently come across Americans Abroad™ content because it's funny and relatable, and sometimes I want to learn how not to get clocked as an American (particularly the embarrassing or obnoxious parts).

Split screen: On the left, Emily in Paris character wearing a beret says, "I am très excitée to be here." Right, a man with text, "*knowing 'excitée' does not mean what she thinks it means*"

Most recently, I came across a video from a creator who laid out all the dead giveaways that someone is an American in Paris, which included drinking iced coffee (especially from a major chain like Starbucks), wearing leggings, and having an orange-hue spray tan.

A hand holding a Starbucks iced coffee with a green straw. The Starbucks logo is visible on the cup

Non-Americans recently shared how they have identified Americans in their countries, so I flipped it over to Americans themselves to hear their own experiences getting clocked as American by locals. Here's everything they shared:

1."I was in Paris in the supermarket trying to pick out a bottle of wine. A very stately French man came and offered assistance in choosing a wine. He spoke to me in broken English. He asked where I was from in America. I immediately asked why he assumed I was American. He looked down and stated…'Your shoes.' I was wearing white tennis sneakers."

Hand holding a pair of worn athletic shoes with visible signs of use on the uppers and soles. The shoes are placed toe-to-toe. No text or celebrities present


u/Stermdeez / Via

2."While in Scotland and England, I was told my straight, white teeth gave me away before they even heard me speak."

Anne Hathaway smiling in a close-up portrait, wearing a sleeveless top
Axelle / FilmMagic

3."My friend from the UK always says she can spot an American in a heartbeat because of our "excessive" politeness. She always says no one should smile that much to strangers, lol!"


4."Because I tipped well. I travel to the Caribbean often and have been ID'd as an American many times after tipping."

A hand places a $20 bill and a receipt inside a black check presenter on a wooden table


Photobuff / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5."I'm Chinese American, and while traveling through Asia, most people can easily tell I'm American. I think how I do my makeup and hair is distinctly different. In a lot of east Asia, I've also noticed people tend to prefer neutral colors, but I'm almost always wearing something colorful."


6."We had many American friends and acquaintances come see us in France alll the time. The recurring themes for nearly every single one of them were:

- Talking really loudly all the time, no matter the place or setting (Germans and Spanish people can be loud also, but less in general).

- Walking up to people and straight away speaking English, assuming the others would just understand and adapt.

- Loudly complaining in stores and restaurants (I’ll never forget this one girl exclaiming, 'Ewwww, my steak is bloody').

- Being super surprised and embarrassed about semi-nudity in pharmacy and perfume ads."


7."I was only ever spotted when I was with other Americans because the others were LOUD. On my own, I wear the kind of clothes generally worn by people of the country I'm in and am quiet and keep to myself."

Four people sitting in an airport terminal waiting area. Two men on the left are having a conversation, while a man and a woman on the right are using their phones

"I also have olive skin and dark hair, so most people spoke to me in every language except English. They didn't know I was American until I asked if they spoke English (if I didn't know their language)."


Yakobchukolena / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."We drink coffee or eat a snack on the go! I've lived in a few European countries, and only tourists will get a to-go cup of coffee and drink it while walking or on the bus instead of sitting down or at least taking your cup over to a nice bench or park. The same thing goes for eating a bag of chips or a sandwich on the run... unheard of over here."

Woman multitasks, holding a coffee cup, talking on a phone, and eating a pastry, outdoors


Sbytovamn / Getty Images/iStockphoto

9."In Scandinavia, I physically blended in being tall and blonde, but when they greeted me with 'Hej' I would respond with a peppy 'Hi!' and they would immediately respond in English."

"Also, in the summer, I practically live in shorts, and it seems that most Europeans do not."


10."When I was 16, I went on a school-organized trip to Europe in high school. I was in the Amsterdam International Airport waiting for my flight home to the US after spending two weeks traveling around Europe. While waiting, I saw this small breakfast kiosk that seemed to be really popular with travelers. I ordered an orange juice and paid for it at the counter, but when paying, I asked if I could get ice in it."

A sign at a Dunkin' counter in Europe reads: "All of our 'Iced' drinks have to be made with 'Ice.'"

11."I have a serious valley girl Californian accent complete with vocal fry. The moment I open my mouth, they know lol."


12."This was recently: as soon as we touched down. Talking with my husband at baggage claim, I was asked if we were from Fargo. They’d seen the movie. We’re from Twin Cities, Minnesota. 🤦🏻‍♀️"

Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson from the movie "Fargo," wearing a beige sheriff's uniform with a surprised expression. Text on image: "Oh ya?"

13."It's the baseball caps... Sure, people from other parts of the world will toss on a cap for a purely practical avoid-sunburn-while-gardening moment, or rock a monochromatic high-end baseball cap for a put-together look, but only Americans wear scrappy, colorful, and clearly beloved baseball caps as the centerpieces of our outfits."

Three Menard Cashway Lumber hats in varying conditions are placed on a couch. The left hat is heavily worn, the middle shows moderate wear, and the right is new

14."Not myself, but my ex, who is American. We lived in Germany and just started dating at the time. We were meeting at a festival, and my brother was waiting for him with me. My brother had not met my ex before and asked me for a description. All I said was, 'he'll be the one looking like an American.' My brother chuckled. A few minutes later, he pointed into the crowd and said, 'That's him, right?' He was correct. My ex was wearing sneakers, cargo shorts, a polo shirt, and a baseball cap. He really stood out, hahaha!"

Justin Bieber is outdoors, casually dressed in a polo shirt, shorts, sneakers, and a cap, standing near a parked car, talking on the phone


Bg005 / GC Images

15."In Europe I blended in quite well, but in Latin America I was just too darn tall to be a local."


Similarly, "My boyfriend and I were studying abroad in France and took a day trip to Tours. I was outside a restaurant looking at their menu when a man came up to me, speaking in French. My boyfriend was down the street looking at a sign and came over when he saw this man talking to me. When my boyfriend approached, the man immediately switched to English. At this point, my boyfriend hadn't said anything, but the man could tell he was an American, apparently because of how tall my boyfriend was (6'6")."


16."A Polish friend of mine tells a joke like this: 'What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks only one language? An American.' Knowing only one language is a dead giveaway because in nearly every other country I have traveled to, people tend to be functional in more than one language. It's not just English that gives you away because a decent amount of Brits are functional in another European language."


This is also true in my experience as an American abroad. In the French language courses I took in Montréal, I was typically the only one who spoke only one other language (*cries in American*).

17."I was in Germany, where I was served a rock-hard bread roll. I couldn’t even bite into it, so I attacked it with a knife, trying to cut off some of the outer part to get to the center. A German man walked by, looked at me, stopped, and said, 'You must be an American, where all you people eat is that horrible soft stuff you call Wonder Bread.' Umm. Ok."


18."My wife and I went to Holland in 1985 for my aunt's wedding anniversary. Coming from a Dutch family, I speak good Dutch. In Amsterdam, I asked someone on the street for directions to the Rijksmuseum in Dutch. He answered me in English. I asked him why he spoke to me in English. He laughed and said, 'Only Americans have Mickey Mouse shown on their camera strap.'"


19."My accent and overall appearance. Then I told them I was from Texas, and they got really excited. I'm pretty sure they thought I had traveled there on horseback."


20."I was visiting London in the late 1990s. One night I was walking down the street, smoking a cigarette, when a man came up and asked if I could spot a fag. The look of horror and disgust on my face was a dead giveaway! Luckily, we had a good laugh about it afterward."

A bearded man in glasses and a black coat smokes a cigarette on a city street at night


Charli Bandit / Getty Images

21."We entered restaurants and asked if we could have for a table for two. Apparently, It’s seat yourself in the UK unless otherwise stated. Employees are totally baffled why we were 'asking for tables.'"


22."My husband wears flip-flops and shorts everywhere. In late April, in England, the employee at the rental car company said, 'Isn’t it a bit nippy for flip-flops?' in the most British accent ever, then proceeded to ask us where in the USA we were from."

A person in flip-flops sitting on a bench, with an overturned disposable cup and spilled liquid on the ground near their feet


Nikolay Chekalin / Getty Images/iStockphoto

23."I traveled to the Virgin Islands and was walking on the right-hand side, which is custom in America. However, they instantly knew I was American. They only walked on the left side in the US Virgin Islands. Who knew?"


24."The phrase 'How are you?' When I first moved to Sweden, I would often get asked if I was American during short conversations because of that phrase. It is generally seen as normal friendliness in the US. People here tend to be very kind but also very private, so the eager friendliness vibe is a dead giveaway if you’re American. Luckily most people find it charming, rather than creepy."

Tituss Burgess smiles and rests his chin on his hand with "HOW ARE YOU, BESTIE?" written at the bottom of the image

(Cont'd) "Living here for a few years now, I can easily spot the American tourists by their volume, eye contact, and clothes. Swedes tend to speak much more quietly and are always aware of what is appropriate for the space and vibe. It’s like Americans are yelling in comparison — always. Additionally, Americans look confidently around and make eye contact with strangers, while most locals or other visiting foreigners keep a low, humble profile."

"Lastly, Americans are easily spotted by their old (read: not stylish) tennis shoes, athleisure wear, jeans, and the JCPenney/Kohls basics-type clothes. It’s subtle when you’re American, but it's super obvious to locals. All of this to say, it’s never a bad thing unless you’re also an asshole. Just because you can be spotted doesn’t mean you need to change how you behave or dress when traveling. Just behave with respect and kindness, and you’ll be a welcome visitor."


Have you been identified as an American abroad? What were the dead giveaways? Let me know in the comments!