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My American SIL fits perfectly the stereotype regarding country codes. My husband was recently hospitalized, and giving SIL the telephone number to the hospital was erm...a bit challenging. She uses this cheap calling service (10-10-220 or something similar) plus our number is on a speed dial on her phone, so she doesn't even remember out number. She wouldn't know how to call us if she had to make a call from, say a telephone booth. However, she doesn't wear a stetson though, and rarely eats McD's. But her husband is very very loud. ;) Still love them though.

Anyway, more on travel... A few commenters have said that the reason that they don't travel outside the US is because it is so expensive. What they often don't realize is that traveling within the US is just as expensive as international travel, sometimes even more expensive. Seriously, it's cheaper to fly to London, Paris or Amsterdam than flying from Boston to LA! We have been trying to get BIL's family in Boston to visit us here in Finland (my husband is an American), and every time we suggest it, he says "naah, it's too expensive." It's not! He uses way MORE money taking his daughter to Disney World in Florida for 3 days than he would if he came here for a week or more.

But of course, if the person living in US has to take a connective flight to a bigger airport first, international travel can get quite pricey for them. The US is such a big country, and most people there do not live in NY, Boston, Chicago or LA.

Just wanted to add - I think a large part of why Americans rarely travel outside North America (I think only 9% of the country owns a passport?!) has to do with the very little holiday time which Americans receive. Here in the UK, my husband was stunned to discover that he gets five and a half weeks of holiday every year - that means that we can spend two and a half weeks in the US, two weeks in NZ/Australia, and we still have a week and a half left for weddings and christenings and little trips to family! In the US, I believe the average is two weeks, and those two weeks can easily get gobbled up by family commitments. It's certainly not enough time to 'do' Europe, when you consider that you lose a couple of days to travelling and jetlag.

I always include the country code because belgium being refered to as the country you cross when traveling from france to germany or as a town in france i really don't expect a lot of people to know it's +32 :-) we are the oposite of american's i guess. we're so small we lack confidence.

@Tam: Which still doesn't explain why many Americans who do travel outside the US tend to behave as though the whole of Europe were just a huge amusement park built for their own personal pleasure. Americans visiting European churches (for instance) regularly make my toenails curl... How often do I wish I had the courage to tell them to finally keep their gobs shut and the noise down.

Come on you should totally know America's. I mean, hello, it's 1. Put's us right at the top, yanno. Personally I see American's as selfish uncaring people only interesting in their own means. At least those are the types I deal with on a daily basis. Pretty common. The majority I deal with find money will get you anywhere. Personally I'd rather be able to just get by, and be happy with my family. Here, romance=whatever you can buy. Very depressing.

Not upset with Tertia's post - it was all in good fun. But Americans, what's with all the self-hate? If you didn't vote for Bush, why do you feel you must put yourself and your country down?
Just confused..

After reading the comments, I now know it's 1 ;-). I did know France was 33 (although wasn't 100% sure, it's been 15 years!) and that you need to dial 011 to get an international line. I know several area codes, though.
Traveling...1 it's expensive, and also much less vacation/holiday days off. I get two weeks ever year, which frequently gets used going to see my sister (Baltimore, Maryland) friends in Tennessee, or my bf's dad (Melbourne Beach, Florida). I haven't even made it out to my brother (Phoneix, Arizona) yet, though he's lived there since '96. True vacations are few and far between, though I did go to Jamaica for my 30th- and spent a couple weeks in France/Switzerland/Belguim after graduating from college ('95)

I know it. It's +32. And I know the most codes of surrounding countries as well.

I am European, so I am a world citizen :)

I think most of the people of the world loof at us americans and think, "What ARE they doing?"

By the way, CountessAmy, we Canadians have provinces not providences!

Interesting post.

Tam, you make an excellent point! I haven't had a real vacation since, um, since the last time I gave birth and got laid off, that was 2000. Does being on unemployment with a new baby count as a vacation? LOL!

I would drag my family all over the world if I had the vacation time. Last year I did take the fam to Atlanta for a vacation but of course, for me it was a business trip.

Hah. in NYC I have to dial the +1 part to get to someone IN THE SAME BUILDING! The carriers promote it as "11 digit dialing" (1 + 3 + 3 + 4 ie: 1-555-555-5555) as if it's a bloody feature. Up in Massachusetts I only had to dial 7 digits. :p

This is what I got for dialing SA to the USA:

09~091 + 1

Here's a handy little website I use because I work in a University French department and have to make lots of international calls/faxes. I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't know the code for the US. Will have to add it to my fax cover sheets. D'oh!


Tertia, when you asked if we knew our country code, it was in the context of Americans giving YOU their phone number. That presumes, then, that you want the number you need in order to dial INTO the US. So that number is "001." But to dial OUT OF the U.S., the number is "011."

I stand by my first comment that as a people, we are a bit "over-confident," shall we say--however, HOWEVER, I have travelled A LOT to other countries, and America is by far the best place to live. So I, too, am a bit stymied as to why so many people feel the need to denigrate our country and issue such blanket attacks on our people and our leaders. Lighten up folks--Tertia just wanted to have a little fun! (All the neg comments are kind of a downer.)

People outside of the US have phones?


We are a sad, sad lot! I have done a good bit of international travel and ahve friends living abroad so I know that the dialing code is 011.

As for the stats from a previous poster that only 4% of US citizens have passports, I bet that is true. My firm sometimes needs to send our engineers to other countries to manage projects and many tiems they have to get their first passport in order to go!

Tertia, apparently you forgot the stereotype that we are all either wringing our hands at the demise of our great nation because we elected Bush or we hate everyone that didn't vote for him.

Seriously guys, it's one election. You don't like Bush, you get another chance in less than four years. Why does everything have to come back to him? Talk about ego-centric. There is a hell of a lot more to this country than George Bush (and John Kerry was no great shakes either). Move on, enjoy life, stop obsessing.

I have to add this story about Americans on vacation in Europe from a friend ours, also American. This friend was on vacation in Greece when the table next to his in a restaurant told the waiter they wanted Gyros all around. When that waiter replied that they didn’t have Gyros the guy complained in a loud drawl that the “Damn Greeks have no idea how to do Greek food”!!

My favorite of many!!

Scout, you got it! I agree wholeheartedly.

I did know the code, but I lived outside of the US for a few months. I also know the code for Italy (39) and Florence (055) because I had to give lengthy explanations to my friends on the apropriate dialing procedure. Once the got through they were to say "ventisei" for my room number in case the person did not speak engllish at the front desk. I had to take calls at the front desk sometimes because Americans would assume that someone spoke English, and, if confronted with a person who only spoke Italian the solution was often to speak louder. American tourists can often be self centered when abroad, but they have never been taught to respect other cultures or even learn about them.

Okay - I know it's 1, but only because I needed it to call home when traveling. I never would've given it out - because it wouldn't have dawned on me that anyone would need it - - I can be totally daft like that.

I love your low-down on the typical American - not so much me, but I totally know that guy.

+45... Denmark.

Lived in the UK (+44) for many years and went on a business trip to the states. Nobody knew where Denmark was - this does not surprise or offend me in any way, we are tiny and probably quite insignificant in the big picture of the world.. after all we have a total population half the size of London... did however get the teensiest bit insulted when one guy couldn't belive we had our own language...

61 and unfortunatly at the moment we do seem to suck at cricket!

American here - scrolled down fast so I can't see anyone else's answer. I know we put on our business cards + 1-703-xxx-xxxx so I think you just dial 011 then the 1-ten digits. Right? Yeah, we're pretty clueless!

Americans don't travel as much outside of our country as other nationalities do. 1) we have a whole lot of stuff to see/do here; 2) there aren't that many other countries you can drive/train to from here; 3) we have water, indoor plumbing, nice hotels with huge rooms, etc. things that really, really work well here.

If we go somewhere else, sometimes, well....honestly, they just aren't the same standards. I stayed in a not-cheap hotel in Paris, and the bed and bathroom combo was smaller than my closet here at home. I'm not kidding. And if you mention your discomfort, you get branded a snotty American. Further encouraging the whole vacation in the home country thing with us.

Which feeds on itself. We don't go other places so we don't get used to other cultures. So we aren't used to other cultures and being flexible when we do travel, which makes us uncomfortable. And on and on and on.

DH and I used to leave the country at least once a year, even if it was just to other countries in NA (Mexico, Bermuda, Bahamas, etc.), but we haven't done that since 2001. But we do hope to get to SA one day.

Just repeating: North America = Canada+US+Mexico.
I've heard lots of times that US-people defends themselves by saying that they live in a large country so they do not have to know another language or different societies, customs, etc. I think that's shit. IMHO.


This is very embarrassing. It's + 001 guys. Then you give your local area code, then your telephone number. See how easy! Just so you all know you use 1 to dial another state and 001 to dial another country (Umm, maybe it's time to get out of Arkansas?)

I really think it's not our fault. We're like innocent lambs being led to slaughter by greedy politicians using our educational dollars to buy weapons of mass destruction. I'll clear my throat here and once again say my apologies to the rest of the world. "Sorry."

As Lioness said, Portugal is 00351 and it's on my business card and on my email signature. That's how you can tell Portugal is a small country!

Here it is for once and for all:

Dialing OUT of the US: 011 + country code + area code + local number
example: calling Cork Ireland from the US:
011 353 21 123 4567

011 code to get OUT of US
353 country code for Ireland
021 area code for Cork (drop the leading 0 on the area code when calling from outside Ireland, this is done in Europe, I don't know why)
123 4567 local Cork number

Dialing INTO the US: 00 + 1 + area code + number
example calling Boston from Ireland:
00 1 617 123 4567

I have to admit, I don't include the full dialing code on my business card or email signature!! I wonder if I did would it cut down on the number of calls I get at work!! You have given me something to think about Tertia!!

Hell, I didn't even know there was such a thing as an international dialing code, but what do you expect, I'm from Texas

I learned something today - I had no idea what the US/Canada idc was!

Tertia, your stereotype of Americans does reflect a big chunk (ha, ha!) of the population. The fact is, there is also a sizeable chunk that is horrified by the arrogance and xenophobia, but it's in the minority, I think.

think about it this way: if an american blogger wrote a post generalizing about South Africans this way, in the non-American mind it would probably be an example of "typical" American ignorance and arrogance.

whence the double standard?

I've spent an hour looking for the + on my phone keypad with no luck.

Must be a Canadian thing...

DUH! Its 1 because America is #1!!!

As far as stereotyping an American, I think you may have stereotyped a Texan or someone in a southern state. Americans vary now days and really don't have one stereotype.

i dont have the slightest goddamn idea.
my dad says its one.
but but but.
i am not a republican, and i consider that tremendous. all americans should do the same.

(hows that for not being poltiical? sorry a little pissed off today, politically)

For all the Americans complaining about having to dial 1+the number to reach your next-door neighbour, I have to say, I can remember when I was a teen (it's hard, and I have to squint, but I can remember) living in the States. When I wanted to call my best friend, I dialed 4 digits. Yes, FOUR little digits. It was like calling an extension in my town ;)

Now that I'm an expat, I've put everyone on speed dial. I'm too lazy to be dialing all those digits...

There are a few other american steryotypes I'd like to add: the thug look, especially with the fake gold teeth, the urban hippy (which I'm sure I can be accused of now and again), the yuppie, Jerry Springer style trailer trash...

Love the Big Macs! I love a man in a Stetson hat (my father wore one and he has a pot belly). I haven't a clue about the code thang because everyone I love is local. Literally. I have only ever called overseas to dial a friend in Guam. That's it. No clue.

Actually, Hazel, the 0 and 1 combo at the beginning is the ointernational access code, and varies by country.

In Australia it's 0011, in America 011, in Ireand 00. I can't remember any other ountries off the top of my head, but it's specific to where you're dialling FROM. That's why mobile phones have the number as +61 - the + stands for the international access code.

THEN you add the country code 1, 64, 44, whatever.

But I like the rest of your explanation.

Debbie - yep, I always choose my destinations by the size of the bathrooms, too.

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