There is nothing worse than sticking out like a sore thumb when touring a foreign destination.
While everyone delights in being the center of attention in places where they feel at home, it is an entirely different matter to draw unwanted attention when you are a traveler.
Being a tourist is exciting. Tourists have the wonderful opportunity to discover new places, delve deep into exciting cultures, immerse themselves in traditions that have stood the test of time and experience historical events through the imprints they have left on the world. Through their travels, they can appreciate the world, its beauty and diversity better. When one is visiting a place, it often seems like there is never enough time to do all the things one would like to do.
However, the unbridled joy that tourists derive from their expeditions is more often than not dampened by the very fact that they are treated as tourists.
But what is wrong with being identified as a tourist?
In many countries, tourists are treated much differently than locals. This is an advantage in some countries, where locals are welcoming and helpful and (sometimes excessively) hospitable. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for most destinations.
The consequences of being identified as a tourist can potentially be quite severe.
It is often more difficult to get a genuine feel of the place you are visiting when you stand out as a tourist. For lovers of different cultures, this feeling of alienation can be quite frustrating. In other instances, being a tourist means you are charged exorbitant prices by pushy vendors selling souvenirs and traditional items. What is even more worrying is that in some countries, tourists become the targets of intricate, professionally executed scams and usually end up being robbed or even worse, physically hurt.
Keeping a low profile when travelling protects you from pickpockets and encourages interactions with the locals.
If you’re wondering how to blend in and become one with the people you spend your travels among, we have some excellent pointers to make you seem like part of the crowd.
Dress To Impress…The Locals
Be smart about how you present yourself. Pay attention to how locals are dressed and try to emulate the more common fashion trends you see around you. Changing a few basic clothing items, such as opting, to wear shorts instead of pants or going for sandals over shoes makes a tremendous difference. Likewise, try to avoid typical touristy clothing like souvenir T-shirts that scream ‘I don’t belong here’. Fanny packs are a big no-no, and designer clothing and accessories only invite trouble. Leaving behind the enormous backpack and bright ‘Hawaiian shorts’ is also a good idea, unless you are going to Hawaii, of course.
Learn The Language
Having a few basic phrases at your disposal can make a world of difference when communicating with locals and will earn you significant brownie points. This shows them that you respect their language and their culture. Moreover, when used appropriately, you can make warm them up to you much faster with a few carefully chosen words. Additionally, being familiar with the language and script comes in handy when reading signs and directions. This way, you will most likely avoid having to ask for directions, which is another announcement of your foreign-ness.
Reading up on local customs and traditions will bring you a step closer to being accepted into the community and may even give you a better understanding of the culture. It also helps to know which gestures, signs and words to avoid, as some can be easily misinterpreted and seen as offensive. You can find out more about how to be a responsible tourist from this enlightening article.
Be A Ninja Photographer
While smartphones have made it unnecessary to have a camera hanging on your neck, going around with your phone pointed at every corner and alleyway can be a dead giveaway. Instead of photographing every nook and cranny, dedicate more time to taking in the views and enjoying the essence of your holiday destination. Not only will you have a more fulfilling experience, but you will also seem very comfortable with your surroundings – almost like a local. If you absolutely must take photos, be selective and subtle about it. Oh, and ditch the selfie stick.
Deal With Currencies Confidently
Acquaint yourself with the denominations of paper money and coins and how they translate into the currency of your own country. Familiarizing yourself with the relevant exchange rates and being efficient with differentiating the foreign currencies will make you look, and feel, comfortable when using money in public. Also, be wary of carrying and displaying huge wads of cash: the flashing of money is a clear signal to any hawk-eyed pickpockets in the vicinity that you are juicy prey. These helpful tips will guide you on how to travel safer and smarter on your next vacation.
Self-Sufficiency Is Your Secret Weapon
By stocking up on the essentials before you leave and being able to look after your own basic needs, you will be at ease with your new environment. Detailed planning and preparation in advance are key when you want to hide the fact that you are a tourist.
Be sure to download and save all necessary maps and routes to your phone before you embark, because why ask the locals when your phone can guide you better. Book a centrally located hotel near public transport hubs, and you won’t have to worry about getting to all the locations on your itinerary. Having all your medicines at hand in case of an emergency is a must. Purchase both prescription and non-prescription medicines for any medical emergencies that may arise on your next trip from Click pharmacy, a registered online pharmacy. Another smart tip is to eat where the locals eat. This makes it less likely that you are overcharged for food, and that the food you do pay for more authentic, and significantly more flavorful.
It must be said that there is no reason to be overly worried about travelling abroad if you take the appropriate measures. But, as the age-old adage goes, it is better to be safe than sorry. Armed with these clever tips and tricks, you will be as invisible as you can get whenever you are on your holiday.