paris

Do You Look Too Much Like A Tourist?

By: Christina Gencarelli

When you travel, are you traveling to see the sights? Or even to taste the food? Want to sight the Duomo in Milan, Italy? Or going to Paris to see the Louvre? Going to London to see Big Ben?

When you’re traveling somewhere really new, you shouldn’t really look like an obvious tourist. When I travel I really like to delve into the culture that I’m around, and I don’t want to stand out too much from everyone because then I look like a tourist and I would be an easy target for locals to get annoyed with me or even a target to be pick-pocketed.

Here are a couple of pointers if you are embarking on a journey to travel the world and to do so in a way that doesn’t make you look like a typical tourist.

Wear comfortable shoes. It’s a basic necessity as well as basic common sense. A lot of tourists in Europe wear the really cheap and not supportive flip-flops when on vacation, especially in warm climates and in the summer.

When you’re walking the streets of Paris, let’s say you’re on the Champs Elysses (The posh avenue in Paris where all the glamorous fashion shops are), and please do not wear flip-flops. They are not supportive and it’s so easy to get your feet dirty. Parisians don’t usually wear flat flip-flops, they’re more into cute shoes and their toes are usually covered. I would suggest wearing comfortable flats or sneakers, because walking around in France or in Europe, or Asia, or wherever you are, you want to be comfortable.

Please do not wear a fanny pack, it’s super easy to get pick-pocketed wearing a fanny pack. Just wearing one makes you look like a tourist. Sometimes tour books and travel guides will tell you that it’s “efficient” to have one to keep all your things on you at all times; but it isn’t as convenient as you think.

Carry a bag close to you. You can carry a shoulder bag, a backpack or even a clutch and make sure that bag is closed or zippered when you’re walking around. I got pick-pocketed once when I was in Paris. I bought a black beret at one of the street vendors there and when I got on the train I didn’t have it anymore. It’s really easy for people to steal things because there are so many people at tourist sites, that you lose track of the small things, like your cash or your shopping bags!

Remember when you are going to tourist sites, like the Eiffel Tower or The Arc de Triomphe, or even the Coliseum in Rome, make sure that you don’t look like a target for being pick-pocketed. So try not to look like a tourist sometimes.

Don’t stand around looking up and taking pictures of everything. Have a purpose when you’re out! Know where you’re going and get going. I’m not saying you shouldn’t stop to enjoy the beautiful sites of a new place, but don’t act like you don’t know what you’re doing. Get lost sometimes, but not all the time.

Try and get to know the locals a little bit if you can, talk to them and get some advice on what to do in that place. Enjoy your surroundings and always be on point when you’re traveling and don’t be afraid to speak the language of the country you’re in. A lot of people are afraid to speak the language because they may offend a local, but it’s more flattering to try to speak with someone than to just walk by and miss an opportunity to learn!

Don’t just go to a place to do touristy things like visiting museums and places that everyone goes to when they travel. Take a stroll without going on a tour, stop at a local café and have a cup of tea or coffee, or whatever you want and just relax. Go to a bookstore and read or even go out to lunch at a nice restaurant or even sit outside at a park and lay out in the sun (hopefully the weather is nice).

Do the simple things sometimes, don’t rush to try and get everything done at once. Generally when people travel they rush to go to every single hot spot in the country, that makes you definitely look like a tourist. I mean there’s nothing wrong with that, but try to enjoy some of the time you have at a new place. Do something ordinary and try things out of the ordinary.

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