7 Ways To Avoid Looking Like A Tourist

Tourists often complain about the fact that they have been ripped off at a tourist sight, because they were tourists. Duh! With all the beau...

Tourists often complain about the fact that they have been ripped off at a tourist sight, because they were tourists. Duh! With all the beautiful things that come with travelling, touts and agents are also facts that you have to come to terms with. Trying to milk money from tourists is their livelihood and though many state and central governments are trying to curb malpractices, it cannot be eradicated completely. But there is something that you can do to blend in and not get the touristy treatment while travelling. All you have to do is avoid looking like a tourist. Here are some useful tips that will help you to avoid unnecessary attention as a tourist.

1. Do Thorough Research Of The Place You Are Visiting

When you ask too many questions about getting around and what to see, you instantly send the signal of being an uninformed tourist. And these are the easiest tourist types to be fooled. So thoroughly study about the place, its culture, attractions, etc. before going there.

2. Learn Commonly Used Phrases

It is not possible to master the language of the place you are visiting, but learning a few useful phrases will make you look less like a tourist. Learn the basic symbols and common etiquette used there. When I was in Cairo, I learned the symbol for pyramids and the bus stations. This made using public transport a cake walk. Needless to say, I saved a lot there.

3. Get The Local Look

You cannot really do anything about your ethnicity. No matter where I go, people instantly know that I am an Indian. But the question is do you want to look like a clueless Indian tourist or like a well-informed Indian, who has probably been in this tourist land for quite some time. If you choose the latter, be prepared to shed off clothes that shout tourists and get into the local attire. Wearing a Salwar Kameez in Pattaya is as good as wearing a two piece in Iran.

4. Always Make Friends With Some Locals

Keep aside your discomfort/ego/fear and get talking to the locals. This way it will become easy for you know about several things that are not explicitly mentioned in your travel guidebook or maps. Once while travelling in Cambodia, I reached a place way too early in the morning. I got invited to a local friend's place for breakfast and had a great time. Also, I got to visit some traditional places along with his family and was in no way treated like a tourist.

5. Be Well Versed With The Local Currency

It is true that most countries accept dollars and euros these days. But if you don't want to be given the touristy exorbitant prices, use local currency. This will help you to assess whether the cost is slightly higher than what locals have to pay, or if it is extremely exaggerated because you are a tourist. This helps you to bargain better and get a better deal.

6. Use Public Transport

The chances of cheating you on money is far lesser when you use public transport for transportation. The tickets will not be charged higher because you are a tourist. On the other hand, using private transport like cars or hired taxis may increase your expenditure as they will charge you as and what they fancy owing to the fact that you are a tourist and do not know much about the place.

7. Don't Shout Out Your Foreignness

To blend in easily and not attract unwanted attention, keep a low profile and don't be too loud. By loud, I don't just mean in term of decibel levels. Don't be too loud about protecting valuables or too loud about getting lost. If you constantly fret about your belongings, more often than not they will be stolen. If you are too scared and fuss about getting lost, be assured you will. So keep your cool and chill out like the locals. Keep your belongings safe and get confidence in your stride. When you exude signs of confidence, touts will be at bay and not look upon you as gullible tourists.

Hope you find these tips useful to avoid looking like a tourist. Do let us know what you feel in the comments section below!

Image Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Contributed By: Kriti Mazumdar


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  1. Very informative post for all travellers..

  2. Thank you Divya. Things like this have helped me during my travels.


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