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Even before Trump was elected as President, Americans have always had a distinct reputation to many countries abroad. Many outsiders share the stereotype that Americans are loud, closed-minded and arrogant. So, it’s no surprise that after a lengthy and controversial campaign, American travelers are left wondering how they should travel abroad in the age of Donald Trump. No matter how you voted in the last election, the answer is the same: travel carefully, but also, definitely.
As the president-elect prepares to be inaugurated tomorrow, January 20, travelers have expressed their worries on how they will be perceived internationally. Scott Hume, Director of Security Operations for Global Rescue comments “The likelihood of any impact on American travelers abroad will depend on what policies the new administration enacts”. Hume also explains that you shouldn’t be surprised by people who ask you direct questions about American foreign policies and politics. If your goal is to avoid these controversial conversations, try not to stand out as an American.
So how do you do that? Writer and frequent traveler Taryn White comments “You have to look the part. This means no white sneakers, ‘I love NY’ T-shirts, or sweat pants. It also means being considerate of local customs and dress”. One simple trick is to pack black. Darker colors are known for being versatile and will blend in with the crowd. Beyond your wardrobe selection, it is important to downplay American mannerisms such as laughing loudly, smiling a lot or using hand gestures.
On the contrary, others believe that now, more than ever, is the best time to identify yourself as an American. Kori Crow, a political consultant and a world traveler from Texas, says that the more fractious a country’s politics are, the better your experience could be. She explains “They’re more forgiving because they don’t usually equate elected leaders as a reflection of its citizens”. Most people in other countries are smart enough to know that American citizens do not represent the American government and understand that democracy is imperfect.
All of the above is true. There will be times when you will want to fade into the crowd and then there will be times where you want to stand out and show others how proud you are for being an American. The most important parts about traveling abroad during a Trump Presidency are: stay true to yourself, use caution and common sense!