• Lexi Nelson

How to NOT look like a tourist!

Updated: May 24, 2019

When you travel, it’s inevitable that you are going to stand out. You’re probably not wearing the same clothes that they are, you clearly have different genes, you could be extremely tall (like me) for some countries, or vice versa, you could be extremely short walking around. Whatever the case is, here are some tips on how to not act like a tourist in a foreign country,

Don’t carry a map in plain sight.

This could be the biggest indicator that you aren’t from here, and also who uses maps anymore? If you are going to a place you don’t know, ask the hotel concierge / hostel workers / servers at restaurants for recommendations and directions where to go. Having someone give you directions is way easier to remember than trying to figure out N E S W on a map. If you don’t have access to any of those people, use your phone instead. Your phone can give you walking distance to places you want to go, and if you don’t have international data, then map it out before and screenshot the route.

Try to avoid walking around with a nice camera around your neck.

This is not only another large indicator that you are traveling in from elsewhere, but this makes you a huge target to pick-pocketers and scammers. Walking around with a nice camera on your neck is also like walking around with a large cash of money. You’re showing scammers that you can afford a camera, and most likely have a device you are uploading photos to (like a $1,000 computer!). This is totally fine if you are going to a place like Dublin, or a quaint city like Luxembourg, but for large places like Barcelona, you will become a target. Since almost everyone in the whole world has iPhone’s now, take your photos on there! They have such good quality cameras, and you can get them instantly. Easy edit, easy post, done.

Don’t wear logo T-Shirts.

I wrote about this more in my “What the heck to pack?” post, but to cut it short, don’t go to a foreign country with your University T-Shirt or your favorite sports team (of course, if you are going to a sporting event that’s a totally different story). Wearing something not from that country makes you stick out like a sore thumb.

Walk around like you’re confident.

If you walk around like you know where you’re going, or you’ve been there before, it shows that you know the area well and aren’t frightened to make the wrong turn. People will notice this and remove you from their “target this lost person and scam them” list. Even if you make the wrong turn, embrace it! Survey the area around you, and if you notice you are entering a sketchier area of town, turn around and go the other way.

Respect other’s customs.

I think this is the most important thing when traveling. We tend to live in our own world, especially when we are with our friends, we think we are invincible! A key thing to remember is that we are visitors and guests in other’s countries. That being said, we should always respect their culture and customs, and not be too judgey or obnoxious. If you’re out at bars with your friends (and my friends and I have found that we are SO loud) try not to act like you’re the only ones in the restaurant / subway / hotel. If you order a delicacy to that country and you don't like your meal, don't express it loudly, keep it to yourself, and you can rip it apart in the comfort of your hotel / hostel / Air BnB room if you please. Point blank; know what kind of culture you are entering into, and be respectful of their wishes!

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