About three years ago we went to Italy for two weeks. I noticed pretty quickly that I was easily identified as American. Locals started speaking to me immediately in English and it felt kind of odd. It was odd that I noticed and that it seemed so obvious to them not only that I was a tourist but that I was American. I’d never had this happen before. Initially I thought it was my clothing and started to wear more black and white basics. While that seemed to help a bit, that didn’t solve my entire problem. After returning home, I thought about it and landed on another possible reason. When we went on our honeymoon to southern France, I put my theory that my engagement ring attracted attention. So for our honeymoon, I only wore my wedding band. Lo and behold, almost nobody assumed we were American!
Wearing Engagement + Wedding Rings Abroad
Engagement rings are largely an American practice. I do see engagement rings on fingers during some of our European travels. They tend to be understated compared to many of those here in the States. With just my wedding band on, I blend in easily. And crazy enough, I started identifying American women in crowds solely because of their ring finger. It’s such an easy thing to spot. Here are a few tips and reasons you might want to decide against wearing engagement + wedding rings abroad…
When we went to southern Africa, I decided even to leave my wedding band at home, opting instead for two plain, silver rings I had in my jewelry box (seen in the photo). They were part of a stacking set and I’m pretty sure they are made out of plastic. Obviously in Zimbabwe and South Africa, we stuck out a bit but not much considering how far we were from home!
There are a few reasons to opt for leaving your engagement/wedding ring at home. The first is to avoid being an obvious target for anybody looking for tourists. As a tourist, you’re apt to be less familiar with the area and the language. Not to mention, you’re apt to be carrying money and valuable documents on your person (or people in your party will be), so staying out of the ‘limelight’ with your jewelry is a no-brainer. It’s also nice not to have to worry about losing it or leaving it in a hotel room. While this isn’t a concern for me, it was really great to leave my two simple bands on for the duration of our trip in southern Africa, never worrying about anything at all.