Thinking back to when I traveled to France during my college years, I remember everyone telling me that those in Europe (but especially France) hated American travelers so I should try my hardest to bring a wardrobe that makes me look more French. Packing was a nightmare due to these so-called helpful hints people gave me. While in Paris and Avignon I didn’t have a single negative issue arise from locals. I did have several people ask me for directions assuming I was from around the areas in which I was traveling in, but no problems with an unnecessary attitude or refusal from someone for services. I enjoyed my time in France, then many years later in Italy, and soaked up the experience in the most respectful manner I could.
I did observe some fellow classmates in Paris that were harassed, refused services, and overall received horribly rude attitudes from the locals. After watching it first hand, it was my American classmates who brought the negative treatment upon themselves. If they had behaved in the same manner stateside they would have received similar treatment from an American dealing with them. That being said, I believe that you will get what you give when traveling. If you are respectful, polite, and knowledgeable about your decisions then you’ll be fine traveling in any location outside of the United States.
I try my hardest to not stereotype travelers who I encounter on a daily basis at my job. In my attempt to be fair and as unbiased as possible I even enrolled in a class to try seeing things from the side of our foreign travelers. 99.9% of the time I keep and open mind as I go about my day. However, when I see the hordes of neon shirts charging in my direction and hear the Portuguese chants of the oncoming horde, I can’t help my strong dislike dealing with Brazilian tour groups in the Orlando area. Maybe a trip to Brazil would help me to better understand how their actions are accepted cultures in their hometown. My gut instinct tells me that I would learn their behavior is due to the fact that the group is such comprised of very few chaperones and an uncountable number of out of control teenagers.
I wish we could video these groups to show to U.S. citizens who are about to travel abroad, as a learning tool. It might be eye opening for them to realize that when they travel they are an ambassador for our country. Their behavior either forms or disproves stereotypes that travelers from the past created for us. On the beachside I always saw establishments with signs in the window saying “no shirt, no shoes, no service.” After almost 8 years of dealing with the famous Orlando bound Brazilian tour groups twice a year during their travel seasons, I am starting to think the Orlando International Airport needs a sign written in Portuguese that translates to “no manners, no respect, no entertainment” to warn these incoming teenagers.