Venice Hotels Articles

August 10, 2010

Patterns of rude behavior among American tourists abroad: The Ugly Americans

“This is not Italy, USA!” : Traveling Points for Americans

While enduring every traveler’s nightmare, a layover at the under-construction Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris, France, we watched with exhausted dismay as the electronic departure sign intermittedly displayed and then removed our last-leg flight into Venice. After having flown for eight hours through the night, a sleepless one at that, our group was tired, cranky, and out of sorts…we wanted to get on the next plane only to get off of it ASAP. Still, there’s no excuse for bad behavior, especially when one’s feet are resting upon foreign soil. Watching for any sign that our flight via Air France was again on the board, we grew bored and started people watching. I don’t know which was worse, that feeling of being stuck in an airport or being stuck in the characterization as one of many rude, uncouth traveling Americans. Yet I could see why the French disliked those from the US, on that day, I witnessed several Americans demand in loud voices for their flight to be rescheduled…yesterday. It would have been comical, had it not been so crass…and unreasonable. I cringed and not for the last time during our nine day excursion at some Americans’ ridiculous and impolite behavior toward our very gracious and accommodating Italian hosts.

Fast forward another eight hours, our entire tour group of thirty-eight men and women are happily ensconced at the Hotel Saturnia where every guest is treated with the utmost courtesy and respect, so it was a simple matter to respond in kind. Still there were moments during the upcoming days when we witnessed more uncivil and even bizarre behavior from fellow US citizens. At times, we wanted to run interference and offer apologies. Finally, we realized that some Americans were simply unaware of how their attitudes and actions were affecting native Venetians. Time for an education.

According to Hotel Saturnia’s chief concierge, Andrea Scarpa, Americans, despite their foibles and lack of travel savvy are still considered “fantastic” in comparison to guests from across the globe. Scarpa says that what Italians most appreciate about Americans visiting their country is their expression and appreciation upon receiving a good meal (as in spaghetti) or after a good rest (as in a hot shower). Americans almost always make their requests for the best restaurants, shopping, etc…kindly, warmly, and they tip better than most Europeans as well. Kudos to Americans for expressing

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