Travelling to a foreign country is more than just buying a ticket and boarding the next available plane. For your own safety, you need to know how to blend in with the locals so as not to attract unnecessary attention. Here are some useful tips to help you enjoy your travel without looking like a tourist:
Use Maps and Guidebooks Discreetly
As a tourist, when you walk with your face fixed on a guidebook, you’ll not only be missing the opportunity to see much of your surroundings, but it’s also a sure way of telling locals that you don’t know where you’re going. And for sure, that will make you an easy target for pickpockets. Therefore, it’s important that you study your travel books and maps in advance, save vital notes on your cell phone, and then get yourself out there. If you get lost, step away from crowded places, and discreetly pull out your maps. Try to hold it in a newspaper, preferably local so that no one will suspect you’re carrying a map.
Alternatively, you can check direction on Google maps if you have a smart phone; it’s a lot safer than carrying a map. Just make sure the place you’re in is safe before you pull out your expensive phone, or it might change ownership when you least expect it.
Learn the Local Language
Trying to speak the language of the locals in a foreign country may seem embarrassing to some people, but it’s a sure way of blending in with them. You don’t have to be fluent; a few basic words such as “hello”, “thank you” and “please” will go a long way.
Take for instance that you you’ve boarded a taxi from the airport, and you’re able to say hello to the cab driver and give him directions regarding your destination in his local language, he’ll never suspect that you’re a tourist, and much less likely to scam or rob you.
Don’t Hang a Camera on your neck
Nothing screams you’re a tourist like an expensive camera hanging on your neck at all times. Not only does it make you stand out, but you become an immediate target for thieves. Therefore, when not taking pictures, consider keeping the camera in your bag.
Another issue is with photographing everything you see. For sure, every tourist wants to capture the special moments they spend abroad, visiting various places, but do you know that constantly taking pictures will surely alert everyone that you’re a tourist? So, only take photos of what you consider very memorable, then put the camera away.
Be Confident and Observant
Being aware of your environment and acting with confidence can get you further than you can imagine when you’re in a foreign country. If you have no idea how something is done, take your time and observe how the locals do it. In addition, try to act like you know where you’re going even if you’re lost; that way no one will single you out as a foreigner.
In conclusion, being invisible as a tourist isn’t easy; you need some time to master the skills. However, don’t allow the act of trying to “blend in” spoil your trip. Enjoy yourself and be proud of where you come from.
Photo Credit: Klearchos Kapoutsis