15 People Reveal the Things They Didn’t Know Were “So American” Until They Traveled Outside the US

Image Credit: FritoLay

For me it was tipping and smiling. Apparently Americans do both wayyyyy more than everyone else in the world. Who knew?

Here are 15 more things you might not realize make you stand out as “totally American” in countries across the pond.

#15. Ketchup isn’t free.

“At a buffet in Germany, I had to pay for ketchup.”

#14. The size of cars.

“I did an art history course in Italy.

What really stood out to me was the size of cars over there. Over here you have a mix of mid sized sedans and pick up trucks/SUV’S, with the occasional compact car (back when I went compact cars here were incredibly scarce).

Over there, it seemed like most everyone drove a compact car, with the occasional sports car.

I remember counting six pickup trucks in the 10 days I was there (for comparison, I can name more than 6 people I know with a pick up here).”

#13. The whole of Ireland.

“Massively wide roads/lanes.

The whole of Ireland made me feel claustrophobic, but when I got back home the roads felt like way too much wasted space.”

#12. Constantly refilled.

“Having your drink constantly refilled ay restaurants.

I just wanna drink a ton of water alright?”

#11. Violently American.


I’ve lived in the states my entire life, but when my Spanish girlfriend came to visit I wasn’t sure what I could show her that really exhibited American culture. There are plenty of American stereotypes you see on TV, but it wasn’t until I took her to a tailgate that I realized how violently American the whole experience is.

A huge parking lot full of drunk twenty year olds bouncing on trucks bigger than most European apartments, with half the trucks blaring country, and the other half blasting rap. Solo cups and beer cans all over the place, grills, corn hole, etc.

I’ve traveled to quite a few different countries, and I can’t really see a tailgate happening most other places.”

#10. American flavored.

“Ranch flavor Doritos in the Netherlands are called “Cool American” flavor.”

#9. Drive-thrus.

“I’m from northern europe but have visited USA couple of times.

Their love for SUV cars and drive-thru is unreal, like there is a dunkin, subway and three kinds of fast food place next to each other and all of them have a drive-thru.

Edit: meant drive-thru, not drive-in.”

#8. A made-up crime.


The rest of the world thinks this is a made-up crime you only see in movies with corrupt cops.”

#7. Yes it is.

“I’ve never been abroad.

Is that American enough?”

#6. Portion size.

“Portion sizes.

My high school senior trip to London, as a typically ravenous appetite 18 year old, I couldn’t get over how small everything was standard.”

#5. I think you underestimate the size of our avocados.

“Small avocados.

Went to puerto rico. Was like, ‘yo ill have like 6 of those stuffed avocados’. Buddy was like, ‘yo gringo, i think you underestimate the size of our avocados here. Just have one and ill being you more if you want after’.

I had half of one. It was like a football.”

#4. Types of soda.

“Getting to choose from like 50 different types and subtypes of sodas.​

Hearing commercials advocating you to go to the doctor and demand a prescription for whatever fantasy pill is new to the market on the radio like it is no big deal.”

#3. How large grocery stores are.

“how large grocery stores are here.

My wife is not american and we lived in China and were in HK all the time… they had large international stores that were great and she didn’t really grasp the size of american grocery stores till our first week in the USA and there’s 150 feet of cereals on one aisle”

#2. Being loud.

“The stereotype about us being loud is true.

I never thought of myself as being loud until I went abroad and would hang up the phone after speaking in what I thought was appropriate volume to find everyone around me was staring at me, and realized how much more quiet they were lol whoops”

#1. Smiling and being friendly.

“I moved to England from Texas about six years ago.

One of the major things that I noticed was that smiling and being friendly towards strangers was considered bizarre. This is a bit true in any metropolitan area, but especially in the UK.

In Texas I was used to smiling at people, asking for directions if I needed them, and being friendly towards strangers.

I learned very quickly that smiling at someone on the tube, or asking someone for directions on the street immediately makes someone think you’re trying to scam/rob them or you’re crazy.”

Have you experienced anything like this? Where were you? What was it like?

Let us know in the comments!

But go ahead and travel anyway. People are generally forgiving.