There are a lot of negative connotations attached to the word "tourist." While it's inevitable that when traveling abroad, you'll look and feel like an outsider at times, it's easy to avoid tourist hate.
Here are seven simple ways to not look like a tourist. We promise, it will make your travels even better.
1. Stay out of the way.
It's fine to want to take a moment to absorb your surroundings, snap photos or consult with friends. But if you and your crew park yourselves in the middle of a busy city sidewalk, you're asking for trouble. Find a less crowded spot, grab a seat on a bench or duck into a cafe if you need to a moment to regroup.
2. Do your research.
Make sure you know the temperature and clothing norms for the destinations you're visiting. You don't want to be that foreigner caught without a jacket on a cold night or in short shorts while touring a place of worship abroad.
3. Put the map away.
Walking around with your face in a guidebook is an easy way to not only look you have no idea where you're going (a welcome sign to pickpockets, for sure), but you'll probably also miss out on much of your surroundings. Study your maps and travel books before you go, save some notes in your phone, and get out there. If you really do get lost, be discreet about pulling out your maps.
4. Learn the language.
You don't need to be fluent in the foreign language of the country you're in -- but a few key phrases, polite words like "please" and "thank you" and greetings will help you seem a little less clueless.
5. Respect local customs.
Customs and etiquette vary widely from country to country. If you read up on your destination, you'll likely learn about the ones that foreigners most often encounter. Don't assume that because you're from elsewhere, these don't apply to you. You're going to get funny looks if you order a cappuccino after dinner in Italy or eat with your left hand in India, the Middle East and parts of Africa.
6. Don't be a stereotype.
It can be easy to get wrapped up in your surroundings, but don't forget you're a visitor and you are representing your home country wherever you go. Don't be that sloppy, drunk tourist. Don't be that loud, obnoxious tourist. Don't be that messy, unkempt tourist. You probably don't like those kind of people -- so don't be one.
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