I found this article on travel faux pas on the USA Today site and it comes from smartertravel.com. It got me to thinking about all of my travels and which denizens of which countries are the worst travel dressers. I know the good people of the good old US of A have to rank in the top 5 if not the top two. Who competes with us on that level, for diplomatic detente, I shall remain speechless. But if you've traveled all over the world, it's not difficult to make the deduction. I remember going on a mother daughter trip to Amsterdam in 2002. I suggested to my daughter that we wear clothing with no logos, sandals not sneakers, no baseball nor golf nor gimme caps and capris not shorts. The world was still topsy turvey at that point and I didn't want our clothing to scream AMERICANS! I'm blond (well, you know what I mean) and blue eyed and my daughter has dark brown hair and blue eyes. We fit right in with the wonderful people of Holland. We would sit at a side walk cafe reading and having a coffee and tourists would come up to us to ask directions. Cool. I agree with this article's author. She gives not only clothing advice but also how the clothing you wear can cause you to be the victim of a crime. Read more...
Sandals with socks (blogger note: this isn't so much a mistake made by Americans)
If I had a nickel for every time I've seen a tourist in Tevas and white tube socks, I'd have enough to buy at least one of those misguided souls a new pair of shoes. I'll never understand this fashion faux pas—if you want warm toes, why not wear closed-toe shoes with socks? Or if your feet get too sweaty, why are you wearing socks with your sandals?
Fanny packs (blogger note: There are many travel companies on line and at the mall that can make you look hip and still be safe. Even the Container Store has great fashionable travel gear.)
Nothing says "rob me" (or "quietly mock me behind my back") like a fanny pack. Why are you strapping all your valuables around your waist? Invest in a theft-proof bag, wear your wallet in your front pocket, or use a cross-body bag—all of these will give you better pickpocket protection without stamping you as a tourist from the land where fashion died.
Souvenir shirts you just bought (Blogger note: I do take local souvenirs with me to certain parts of the world as gifts but never to wear.)
Dear tourist in your newly purchased "I Heart New York" T-shirt who just suddenly stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to pull out a giant map, thereby causing a pedestrian pile-up—I hate you, and I know how much you paid for that low-quality shirt because I see them being hawked on every street corner. Save the souvenir shirts for when you get home. Better yet, buy a cool shirt that will just remind you of the place in which you bought it rather than a boring souvenir shirt that just has the name of a city ironed onto it. Plus, you'll get to be the smug traveler who replies, "Oh, this? I just picked it up in a little shop in Milan" whenever someone asks you where you bought your swanky outfit.
Bright white athletic shoes (Screams American and OLD! I remember we were on the island of Ischia, off of the coast of Italy. We were climbing up to a castle. My girl friends and I are in sneakers, NOT white like our husbands, but as we were walking up all of the Italian women had on STILETTOS! On COBBLESTONES! Are these women nuts? Well, they did look fine but it begs the question...how are they today?)
When in another country, nothing makes you stand out as an American tourist more than your bright white athletic sneakers. In most other nations, running shoes are only worn when working out—not when touring or dining. I'm not saying you should wear stilettos—travel usually involves so much walking that you'll definitely need comfortable shoes—I'm just suggesting you explore some alternatives.
Are you an Olympic athlete traveling with your team for the games? No? Then why are you wearing a full tracksuit everywhere you go? Show some respect for the place you're visiting and leave the gym clothes in your hotel room. There's a fine line between comfort and looking like a slob—and you can be comfortable without looking like you've given up on life, I promise.
Giant camera (Blogger note: I bought a great messenger bag that is "cut proof" that crosses over my body. It's khaki and leather. Holds a water bottle, my Canon and extra lens and a few other goodies.)
I know you want to document every moment of your trip, but do you have to wear that giant camera strap around your neck? Not only does it alert potential thieves that you have valuables, it also screams stereotypical tourist. Bring a discreet camera bag instead!
Crocs (blogger note: If I you EVER see me in these, just take away my passport.)
Crocs are pretty much universally mocked. If the shame of wearing garishly colored plastic clogs with holes in them wasn't enough to deter you, how about this accident, in which a Crocs-wearer had his foot "severely and permanently damaged" by an airport escalator? Public safety advisory: Crocs hurt!
Over sized day packs
Why have you packed your day bag with enough supplies to survive a week in the wilderness—only to hop on the subway? You look like a human turtle and you hit unsuspecting riders squarely in the face every time you spin around to look at a map or talk to your travel companions. Please, pare down your massive day pack to something more streamlined. It's making my back hurt just looking at you.
Rival jerseys (Blogger note: Along this same vein, stay away from political t shirts, hats etc. My husband made the mistake of wearing a t shirt with Bush/Cheney on it to EGYPT...right before our 2008 election. He wore it once.)
Maybe leave your beloved New York Yankees T-shirt at home before you take your vacation to Boston. Flaunting the apparel of your vacation spot's rival is in poor taste, and it also immediately marks you as an outsider. If you don't want to antagonize everyone around you before you even open your mouth, wear something neutral instead.
Indecent clothing (Blogger note: I've always advised my daughter to dress for plane rides. You never know who will be your companion for a few hours. It could mean a job interview. It happened to me. I also advised her, since she's single, to always take a Golf Digest magazine as well as a Fortune magazine. Mamma's always trying...)
The biggest travel faux pas is one that ruins your whole trip, so carefully consider your in-flight outfit before you fly. Touchy airline workers kick people off flights left and right over what they're wearing (or not wearing). From showing too much cleavage to wearing saggy pants, the self-appointed fashion police of the skies can boot you from a plane over what you're wearing. Stick to something you wouldn't be embarrassed to wear in front of your grandmother and you should be cleared for liftoff.
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