I think we’ve all experienced a situation where we noticed someone who looked and acted like a tourist. Whether it’s their driving, clothing, or interaction with others, it tends to be obvious to locals when they’re dealing with a tourist. While you might love to travel, most people don’t like looking as if they don’t belong. But it’s hard to blend in when everything seems so foreign. So here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling to a new country that will inevitably have different customs than you’re used to.
Tennis shoes have the ubiquitous mark of being American. Maybe try purchasing a pair of comfortable walking shoes that aren’t necessarily athletic.
Europeans (particularly Parisians) wear a lot of black. You will stand out like a sore thumb if you wear those neon colors that are so popular in the states right now.
Shirts that represent American labels across the front are a dead giveaway.
Casual dress is uncommon in most other countries besides the United States. Plan to dress a little nicer when traveling around Europe and remember that short shorts are pretty much unacceptable almost all foreign countries.
Don’t cart around backpacks or fanny packs. They are targets for theft and tourist traps. If you must carry a purse or bag, make sure to keep it on your body at all times and try to make it blend in with what other locals wear (i.e. small hand clutches or pocket wallets).
Don’t shock the locals with your swimwear. Do some quick research on what’s acceptable at the beaches or pools so that you don’t offend anyone. Unless you’re traveling to Brazil. Anything goes there!
Try not to default to chain restaurants. If you’re in France, don’t eat McDonalds! Of course it’s a more affordable option than the restaurant serving escargot down the street, but you might want to branch out of your taste bud comfort zone when traveling to some place exotic.
Decaf coffee is not easy to find and will label you as “American” if you order it. Few people drink decaffeinated coffee because they probably figure, what’s the point?!
Don’t make a fuss about smoking. Most countries still allow smoking in public areas such as restaurants, parks, and bars. If you don’t like it, you’ll have to find someplace that is smoke-free. Oftentimes there are no rules against it, so you have no place to complain.
Try to speak quietly. Americans are usually recognized as being loud.
By being a tourist yourself, you’ll hopefully gain patience and understanding with vacationers in your own hometown. But these tips will help you blend in better when traveling abroad, so you can travel the streets feeling confident and adventurous.