A recent survey of Europeans has identified the #1 worst dressed tourists as:(brace yourself)citizens of the United KingdomAmericans were only #2 in the worst dressed categoryI hope you're as disappointed as I am about this.What are the British doing that we're not doing??If you want America to be #1 in every category of endeavor, then be aware that a little more effort by each of us on our upcoming trips may enable our nation to regain the lead over the British.And could you take a moment to share with us your ideas on how each of us can contribute to this important effort? What should we wear?(I'm not making this up, it was reported to me recently by one of our far-flung international correspondents, who shall remain nameless)
If we truly want to overtake the British on the list, then we'll have to do one of their favs....black sock and sandals. And of course, the bermuda shorts with legs that haven't seen the sun in years.
Very popular with the Manchester crowd.
(A slight dig to my friends in Manchester.)
Kent, I'm as distressed as you to find out the Brits are tackier dressers than we are. I think we're still #1 when it comes to gracelessly plodding along with a slack jawed look on our faces. Also with standing in a large group at the top of Metro steps, oblivious to people trying to get around us. Please can you verify that we're tops in that category??
This just in from our far-flung international correspondent:America is #1 after all!!Although the original survey appeared in a big city European newspaper which was hard copy and can't be retrieved at this time...In a recent Expedia survey of European hotel operators, for which we do have details (see Expedia website below), we were ranked #1 in worst dressed vacationers! Even ahead of the British. And yes, Frank, the Expedia survey does mention the British socks and sandals! But apparently our prowess in the "I'll wear shorts anywhere, I've gotta right to be myself" category and the "Go ___'s" t-shirt category enabled us to offset the British advantage in "socks and sandals" and relegate our British cousins to an ignominious #2 in the worst dressed category.Here's the survey: <a href="http://www.expedia.co.uk/daily/press/pressreleases/2007/july/britishtouristsremainamongstworstin_world.aspx">Yes! we are worst dressed!Americans got a pretty good ranking overall, except for the worst dressed category. We got #1 rankings for attempting to speak the local language and for size of tips. This was a survey of European hoteliers.
Was the survey conducted in France, where ANY clothing faux pas is called "a l'Anglais", for convenience and due to the love the French have for all things British?
Where did the Germans rate?
Kent, you and I have had great fun with all of the questions about "what to wear?"
I know you like your Crocs...
But your post is a good reminder that Americans are but a minority of tourists in Europe and most popular sites are crowded with other Europeans, Asians and perhaps the wandering Australians. That's why I don't worry about "standing out as a tourist" and wear shorts when it's hot and flip-flops whenever I can.
I very much enjoyed the link Kent provided (which I thank him for) and agree with almost all, except for the Japanese being very polite. Never, never, not even with the most obnoxioius Americans or the most obtuse British have I ever seen more obnoxious tourist than the Japanese. First they swarm in large numbers, sweeping all before them. Second they have no concept of personal space. And lastly their idea of a photographable sight includes blank walls (true). On one ocassion in a famous Spanish tourist sight while I was using a urinal (yes, actually in the act of USING it) a large number of Japanese swarmed into the room and two Japanese men placed themselves on each side of me and began 'using' it themselves. I cannot be as graphic as they were since this is a public board, but believe me, they could not be discouraged.
In Kent's link to Expedia : I read that. I like knowing that Americans rank # 2 in the category "World's best tourists". I guess there are rude tourists from every country. But I observed that Japanese tourists are the best tourists : they arrived one hour early for an early morning tour bus departure. Americans arrived late. The Japanese tourists were quiet and polite in the tour bus. And yes, some British tourists are the most conspicuous, and their behavior is odd, some times.
I agree with whomever said that the Japanese are the worst tourists. I always was under the impression that they were uber-polite but boy was I proven wrong. They will do anything to take a photo and beware if you are in their way. If they are in a group, they stick together like glue and mow you down. They never smile. My brother and wife were in Australia at a place in Victoria where you go to see the "penquin parade". As soon as the penquins appeared there was such a stampede my brother said it was a wonder that they survived!!!!! In Europe, they tend to buy huge quantities of designer bags, etc to resell in Japan. This has gotten so bad that some shops (very high end ones) have put a limit on how many bags you can buy at once!!! I have gotten the impression that in Paris they were the most disliked tourists by merchants, etc. (the Russians might be moving up on this list) Once I was in Notre Dame, sitting in the quiet roped off zone in the middle and was apalled to see a contd
part 2 appalled to see a large groupf of Japanese females laughing and carrying on directly in front of the altar. This went on for some time as they each posed for photos. Now this was j ust too much for me. No matter what your personal beliefs are, I do think you MUST be respectful in a house of worship. I don't understand why they act so badly.
Charles - You're so right about the Japanese and not staying out of your personal space! My family and I (6 of us) have been in a very large elevator with 2 very small Japanese women who insisted on crowding us to the back of the elevator. I finally had to put my elbow in their faces to keep them from squishing the kids. I think this is because they come from VERY crowded cities and are used to squeezing into non-existent spaces. The Shinjuku train station in Tokyo sees 2 million travelers a day. Try fighting your way through that crowd during rush hour! Very scary...I can't explain any of their other idiosyncrasies, however.
These are all cultural markers: when I was in Japan 40 years ago, Japanese tourists dressed all alike - women with white baseball cap-like hats and light colored dresses. Men invariably in suits, no matter how humid. Young people had their own fashion. Not much has changed for Japanese tourists (wonder how they would have dressed if Emperor Meiji had decreed tourist wear, as he did for school uniforms?)
Europeans, particularly on the Continent, have their own standards (that's why you see so many fat men wearing skimpy bathing suits there). True, Europeans tend to dress up for traveling. They also follow certain fashions for hiking, biking, hunting, and so on. As an American visitor you are not expected to follow these dictates. Young people have embraced the casual look of Americans. If you are older and feel out of place, you probably are. That should not stop you from wearing comfortable clothing, incl. shorts. You are traveling, and your wardrobe is limited. Let the locals enjoy!
Yes its a sad state of affairs that we as Americans need to accept the fact that we are NOT #1 in everything like we used to be for the last 30 years - dominating almost every industry. Now this... well we can all do something - how about wearing our underwear on the outside (boxers with the flag-theme on them). A pair of crocks with mis-matched socks may add some nice contrast, as well as one of those hats that holds beer cans. Also - i agree with the other poster - the Germans had long been the incumbent to beat I thought... no one could mix and match Neon colors better...
Don't blame the Japanese for invading personal space. If you've been to Japan, you'd undestand why personal space is a luxury.
I'm happy that this survey said
The Americans have changed their approach to travelling and now rank highest for attempting to speak the local language
OK I just have to make this comment- I was at Epcot a couple of weeks ago and there was a lady who was wearing a bikini and a button up shirt which was not buttoned...she was not wearing shorts at all... she then proceeded to sit down and put her feet in a decorative fountain...I was horrified. I said who would come to Disney dressed like this... She started speaking and even mentioned to someone she was from Manchester UK. so when you posted this I was not surprised...this was when I stopped worrying about how I dressed on our upcoming trip to Italy because there is no way I would ever be dressed or acting like that.
Even despite Americans being ranked worst dressed tourists by hotel operators, overall the survey ranked us as the world's second best tourists when considering behavior, politeness, willingness to speak the local language, tipping, and other criteria. I can remember a time when Americans had a reputation for not trying to speak the local language.
Ahha, the survey site believes socks and sandals are a disaster, like I do. Many people on this board believe it's OK.
Kent, I fall around laughing whenever the old question of 'What should I wear' arises. 'Clothes' is always my first thought.
Yes Bea: Word on the street is that the wily Brits want to regain the lead over America in the worst dressed tourist category, and--as revealed in the Expedia survey--their secret weapon is:sandals & socks. And so, if you love your country and want America to remain #1, here's what we can each do, wear these no matter where in Europe you are, Paris or the beach, it doesn't matter, ya gotta be you:1. "Go ____ t-shirt" (extra style points awarded for orange or other flashy colors)2. sandals & socks (your chance to be mistaken for a Brit even if you couldn't fake the accent)3. (And doesn't it almost go without saying)...shorts, with bonus points awarded for legs that haven't seen the sun in a few yearsIf we each can do this for America, then there's no way the Brits can regain the lead in the:"I gotta be me 100% of the time, not just the 99% of the time I'm in America" Sartorial Splendor Sweepstakes.
Um, Kent, if you're wearing sandals and socks where are you supposed to wear your white Nikes? On your hands?
LOL--I had the same thought as Nancy.
And don't forget your fanny pack! Preferably in a neon-glow color!
Did no-one mention the baseball cap? And of course the chewing gum.
Oh my goodness.....ditch the gum immediately!
Two words: NASCAR fashions
Doug...the wandering Australians?? We are nomadic?? I shall glue my beautiful shoes to the floor immediately, and move no further.
After an experience I've recently had, I'd vote for adding lots of plaid to our wardrobes to help us regain the #1 spot. I've always enjoyed my plaids, whether on a flannel shirt in winter or seersucker capri pants in summer. I have two plaid 3/4 sleeve really light weight jackets with matching seersucker sleeveless shells. One is black/brown/tan/white the other set is red/black/beige/white. They pack well are very versatile and can also be worn with tan, black or white T-tops and I wear them with either black or khaki colored pants. And not wanting to make any fashion faux pas while traveling, I wear black athletic shoes (the more petite kind, not the big gomper stompers). So there I was, nicely turned out I thought, only to have a fellow traveller sneer at me for my "Pentacostal revival meeting duds"! Needless to say once I got over the shock of the insult I've had great fun with the phrase and anytime I put plaid on I announce to all within earshot that I'm ready for "my meeting"!
BTW, the insult was the result of not remembering this person's political views. We'd met her and her husband four years previously in Europe and spent a nice day together and then two years ago spent a day with them in the U.S. We continued to exchange Xmas greetings and an occasional email. Several months ago we recieved a political diatribe via email and my husband very mildly responded with a different view point. She was furious because he didn't get it that she'd sent it as a JOKE! She was livid that he didn't recall from our very limited time together that her views were actually in line with his own! She also insulted our Xmas letter ("devoid of humor") and my husband's background ("west Texas cracker") before she wound down. We just looked at each other sadly and said "and they seemed like such nice, normal people"!!!