Geoff Dyer on the Charm of American Travelers

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  01.04.10 | 12:50 PM ET

The British travel writer tackles that persistent traveling stereotype, the Ugly American, in a funny and insightful New York Times story. Here’s a sample:

The archetypal American abroad is perceived as loud and crass even though actually existing American tourists are distinguished by the way they address bus drivers and bartenders as “sir” and are effusive in their thanks when any small service is rendered. We look on with some confusion at these encounters because, on the one hand, the Americans seem a bit country-bumpkinish, and, on the other, good manners are a form of sophistication.

(Via @douglasmack)


Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.


3 Comments for Geoff Dyer on the Charm of American Travelers

Chuck K 01.04.10 | 2:31 PM ET

The Brits have a way with words which, like their speech, is a bit subtle, a bit mellow, even a bit mumbled.  Or at least Mr. Dyer does (or, should I say MISTER DYER to shout it out since we’re not afraid of being overheard!).  A great NYT article full of truth and even charm.

Caitlin 01.04.10 | 2:57 PM ET

I must say that although I have encountered “ugly Americans” abroad, I have also encountered many charming and grateful and open-minded ones. And I’ve also encountered my fair share of misbehaving British, Australian and German travellers.

Der Senator 01.04.10 | 4:04 PM ET

I guess the grass is always greener ... on my dozens of trips to England, I have found most Brits to be charming, self-effacing and generally a distinct pleasure to be around, and much more aware that they are not the center of the universe than most of my fellow Americans.

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