4 travel tips to blend in so you won't look like a tourist

It’s always tough to travel and not look you're from somewhere else. If sticking out makes you squirm, here are four travel tips for blending in so you won't look like a tourist.

4 travel tips to blend in so you won't look like a tourist

It’s tough to travel and NOT look like a tourist. You’re wearing sturdy hiking boots. All your clothes are high-end brands. You’ve got supplies on your back plus a camera around your neck. But you can travel and avoid the "not from around here" look. Below are four tips on how to pull that off.

1. Plan where you’re going

The number one way to spot a tourist is when they stop in the middle of the sidewalk, mouth agape, staring at a map or the Arc de Triomphe. It’s all well and good to be in awe of the amazing surroundings, but locals never slow the flow of traffic on the sidewalk.

  • If you want to blend in, know in advance where you’re going so you don’t need to stop on a corner to pull out that giant city map.
  • In fact, keep that giant map or guidebook in your pocket as much as possible. It’s a beacon for pickpockets looking for an easy tourist target.

2. Learn key phrases

You don’t have to be fluent in Greek to blend in with the locals of Santorini, but knowing that efharisto is “thank you” will make you look like you’re trying.

  • Learning a few simple words and phrases can get you through simple transactions without standing out like a sore thumb. Plus, the locals always appreciate it.

3. Wear appropriate clothing

Believe it or not, not every culture loves sneakers as much as North Americans. In fact, in most European countries, sneakers are only for sporting events. In other words, they're a dead give-away that you’re a tourist.

  • Go for comfortable leather walking shoes.
  • Shorts may be the comfy hot-weather choice for Canadians, but they are often inappropriate when traveling. Especially if you plan to visit churches, religious sites or Muslim countries.
  • Wear comfortable long pants made of breathable material.
  • Avoid loud colours, bright patterns and Bermuda anything. Instead, choose neutral colours like navy, cream, tan and grey. You want to look put together in good-looking outfits.
  • Ladies, bring versatile scarves or shawls to improve an outfit or make it more modest.

4. Backpacks

If you’re backpacking through Europe, then yes, you’ll need a backpack as it’s far easier than dragging along a rolling suitcase. Otherwise, pack instead a day bag that is NOT a smaller backpack.

  • A small fabric tote bag with a zipper to close the top will be perfect for blending into city life.
  • Guys should consider an over-the-shoulder satchel that packs flat.
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