We have all experienced the joys of travelling some time or the other. The anticipation and the excitement associated with travelling to a new place or even revisiting an old one is a source of great fascination. However the contemporary traveler is a more conscious one, meticulous in his planning and wants to get the best of experiences without raising any eyebrows or falling into a tourist trap. Here are few tips to avoid looking like an obvious tourist while travelling order.
8. Get Local:
Part of travelling is not only to see places and monuments but experiencing new cultures, and part of this experience includes accepting the difference in food habits, behavior and traditions. Learn a little about the people of the places you are visiting, maybe the local way of customary greeting. The Japanese are very upbeat about being honorific and polite, and you are expected to behave the same (not like a Texan Red Neck). Likewise in India you don’t want to walk into a restaurant and ask them to serve beef (even if it’s called “Holy Cow Restaurant”). Also learn a little about the local currency and its denominations. Try as much local cuisine as possible (make sure you do not have food allergies though). Deep fried scorpions and bat soup do not taste half as bad as they sound. Best of all learn about the local music cause nothing unites people more than that.
7. Strictly, no gazing:
Now this is going to sound funny, but a sure shot giveaway for a tourist is the gaze of fascination when they see something awesome. Yeah of course if it’s awesome it deserves a gaze, but there are more subtle ways of doing that. Also never look up, only tourists do that, I mean you won’t find the average New Yorker staring up at the empire state building.
6. Get a little drunk:
The best part about alcohol is that it lets you do things you would otherwise not do. It’s a little bit of gamble because there’s always a chance that you might get carried away and start singing your national anthem piss drunk (now that’s a giveaway). But in moderation it would make you more sociable, adventurous and brave. After all confidence is everything and a couple of shots of Vodka can do the trick.
5. Use travel aids more intelligently:
While travelling it’s almost impossible to avoid the temptation to opening up a map of the locale. Remember that’s the quickest giveaway cause if you are lost in your own home city you would not look at a map. The solution is quite simple, use a map, but use it on your phone, there are a host e-maps from Google, Apple etc. If you have to use a paper map then do it inconspicuously by walking into a coffee shop.
4. Choose the right destination:
Choosing your destination to travel also plays a significant role in your overall experience. For instance if you have just decided to be a globetrotter and you speak Spanish, it is advisable you start with the Spanish speaking countries like Mexico or Panama. Also what matters is whether you are vacationing or backpacking, whether you are travelling with your family or simply with your new found love. There is a type of destination for every traveler and it’s important to recognize that.
3. Plan each day if you want to make the most of it:
It is really difficult to plan out an entire tour sitting at home before commencing your journey; especially if it’s a country you haven’t visited before. So I suggest a two-step planning. One pre-emptive plan which will chalk out the major things you want to see. Let’s say you are travelling to France, you should at least know what cities you will be visiting while on your tour. The second step is to plan one day in advance and figure out what all places you want to visit in each city (e.g. Louvre, Eiffel Tower etc. in Paris). Knowing where you want to be and when will almost always ensure your cab driver or tour guide has a higher regard for you and you are less likely to fall into tourist traps.
2. Dress right:
This is the second easiest thing to do but probably the most important of all. “When in Rome do as the Romans do,” “the first impression is the last impression” etc. etc. etc. I cannot lay more emphasis on anything more than getting your appearance right when you are visiting a foreign place. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you should wear a sarong, coconut shells and a garland of flowers when you enter Hawaii. What I am trying to say is there are certain attires which can be carried off in anyplace without drawing any attention (like a collared shirt in S.E Asia as opposed to a T-shirt/Vest). And then there is the whole bunch of things one should absolutely avoid wearing while abroad, like a fanny pack (instead use a tick pocket or a bag which can be hidden beneath your shirt), too much jewelry or sports shoes. Also dress your age, wear a local accessory (ensure it is subtle) and if you are in Europe wear black/dark grey/brown (go for formals especially in the down and Nordic countries).
1. Documents first:
The first thing to do when you land in a foreign country is getting past the immigration. So the least you can do is to get your travel documents right. And by right I mean impeccably right. Verify each countries specific entry requirements. If you have a criminal record or figure in the most wanted list of any country, community or religious body make sure you know where you’re headed and what paperwork you need filled out before going there. Overall I would say this is by far the easiest thing to do. It is advisable to keep a backup photocopy of your passport main page just in case you lose it while abroad.