When it comes to traveling, the last thing you want to do is stick out like a sore thumb. While traveling, especially internationally, tourists are often targets for pickpocketing, overcharging, and much more. Don’t allow yourself to fall into these tourist traps! Here are some tips on how to avoid looking like a tourist:
1. Learn some basics of the primary language of where you are
While traveling abroad, taking the time to learn the basics of the local language not only shows a level of respect for the country in which you are visiting, but will help you look a bit less touristy. You will be able to say “please,” and “thank you,” which is respectful in any culture. Some other common sayings like, “hello,” and “where is the closest restroom,” are also good ones to know. Not knowing any bit of the language will allow for everyone in your immediate surroundings to know that you aren’t from around the area!
2. Research tourist traps/scams if you are visiting a popular location
This goes for both domestic and international travel. Say you are traveling to Hollywood in Los Angeles. There are countless tourist traps and scams you should be aware of. This also goes for if you are visiting the Vatican in Europe. Save yourself some money by doing a quick Google search of the local scams prior to your trip’s departure.
3. Do not wear bright, over-the-top colors
This is both a tip for not looking like a tourist, and saving space while packing! Packing mostly neutral colors will not only allow for you to mix and match different clothing items together, but it will also allow for you to fit in with the crowd. While some people like to stand out, fitting in with the locals in a location you have never been will greatly improve your overall safety. The next time you pack for a vacation, pass on the tie-dye shirt, and go for the black one!
4. Be careful of where you wear American Flags
While most of us are extremely proud to display our American flags through t-shirts, buttons, pins, shoes, etc., these may be items you should consider leaving at home. Depending on where you are going to be traveling to, some countries are not as welcoming of our nation. Also, wearing an American flag is a dead giveaway that you are from the states. Remember to try and fit in!
5. Don’t be afraid to bargain with vendors
If a local street vendor has an inkling that you aren’t from the area whatsoever, they often times will jack up the price of goods. Keep in mind that locals often bargain with street vendors, and that you have the right to do the same! Do this in a respectful manner, as you want to ensure that the vendors are still making a profit on the goods. It’s definitely worth a try!
6. Ask for the English menu and standard menu
While traveling abroad, destinations that tend to get a lot of English-speaking tourists often times provide an English menu to you when you sit down at a restaurant. While this makes picking out what you want for dinner much more convenient, I would recommend asking for a copy of the regular menu (in the local language) as well. This way, you can compare the prices of the goods in both menus to see if they raised them in the English one. This is another common tourist scam that you can beat!
7. Leave the selfie stick at home
8. Do not flash physical maps or cash
This is especially important if you happen to be alone at the time. Pulling out a physical, paper map lets everyone around you know that you are either lost, or confused. Don’t let this be you. Instead, find a safe, discreet area in which you can check it. This also goes for cash. Tourists often times carry around plenty of the local currency. Instead of counting your cash or trying to convert it into U.S. dollars in a crowded area, practice being discreet.
9. Avoid wearing United States brands
While traveling internationally, many nations’ locals are aware of brands that are from the United States. Wearing these name brands out and about gives away where you are from. Instead, try to wear what you see most of the locals wearing.
10. Chose to eat based on where you see the locals eating
Another mistake that tends to giveaway that you are not from the area is where you choose to eat your meals. If you find yourself visiting McDonald’s in another country, everyone will immediately know you are a tourist. Instead, ask your hotel concierge where the locals tend to eat in the area, or take note of the street food vendors that have long lines. This will ensure you are eating the food the locals eat!