How to Look Like a Local on Vacation
Friday, March 15, 2013
When you travel to another city, state, or even country, one of your goals as a tourist and visitor should be to fit in with the culture and not stand out as a tourist. The tips below will help you blend in with the locals, be respectful of the culture, and not disrupt the everyday life going on around you while you explore your destination:
1. Know your way around
Before you head out to explore your destination, plan all of the places you’d like to go and figure out how to get to each, whether you’re walking, driving, or taking public transportation. You can carry a map or guidebook with you in case you get lost or change your itinerary, but keep it hidden in a bag or purse. Pulling out a map in the middle of a street is as good as holding a sign that says “I’m a tourist!”
2. Wear appropriate clothing
Blending in with the locals is easy – just wear what they wear! When you’re packing for your trip, think about where you’ll be traveling to and ensure that you’re packing the right items for the climate and weather at your destination. If you’re traveling abroad, or even to another city or state, do some research into your destination’s culture and fashion and try to match it as best as possible. One thing that can make you stand out as a tourist is your shoes. Take those sneakers out of your suitcase and pack a pair that’s stylist yet comfortable.
3. Leave your bag or backpack in the hotel room
While large bags and backpacks are great for traveling, you shouldn’t be bringing them with you while you’re out exploring your destination. Large bags not only let people know that you’re a tourist, but are also bulky and can get in the way. You should also leave behind the fanny pack, water bottle (unless you’re hiking or enjoying other outdoor activities), and large camera hung around your neck. If you need to carry a few things, such as that camera you hid from view, bring a small purse. You’ll still have space to hold what you need without showing everyone around you that you’re from out of town. However, you can make an exception if large purses are a fashionable accessory in the city you’re visiting.
4. Learn the local language and customs
This tip is particularly important if you’re traveling outside of your home country. If the national language isn’t one you already know, learn a few key phrases such as “Hello,” “Thank you,” and “I don’t speak the language.” While it will be pretty easy for locals to tell that you are a visitor, they will appreciate you taking the time to learn their language. You should also read up on the local customs, such as the times that meals are eaten, how to tip at restaurants, and gestures that are considered rude or polite. Knowing these simple but useful things will prevent you from appearing to be a clueless tourist and help the locals see you as a respectful visitor to their home instead.
How do you blend in with the locals while on vacation in other cities, states, or countries? Leave a comment with your favorite tip below.