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Four Ways To Not Be A Tourist

Traveling to a country with a culture that is unfamiliar to you can be eye-opening, overwhelming, incredible, and sometimes uncomfortable. Your giant backpack, cry for help at the train ticket machine, and map-fumbling don’t exactly help you blend in, either. Here are some tips to look like, and hopefully be, less of a cliché tourist.

Observe everything

Traveling to a country with a culture that is unfamiliar to you can be overwhelming. Step back and experience the culture you’re surrounded by. Take the time to people-watch, whether you’re sitting in a cafe, wandering in a grocery store or taking public transportation. Understand that every local has a different history and life experience, and you are there to observe without judgement.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

This is important. Of course, prepare for your trip by budgeting everything and listing out the sights you want to see. Prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally for a journey that will inevitably change you. But most importantly, prepare for things to go wrong. Always anticipate changes to your original plan and practice patience. A calm demeanor and easy-going attitude are vital for your own sanity and, in turn, will make you appreciate what’s around you. (You also might stick out a little bit less while traveling.)

Converse with locals

Ask locals about their favorite restaurants, shops, activities or general areas nearby. It’s a much more personal and authentic way of finding things to do during your visit than Google “things to do in [country name here]” or scrolling through your TripAdvisor app. A simple conversation of recommendations can also turn into mutual story-sharing. Making connections with people around the world is never a bad idea, either.

Know the dollar conversion—and know it well

Knowing what your dollar is worth while traveling seems simple, but it’s easy to forget and overspend. Being aware of what you’re spending can be the difference between trying to buy an ice cream for $3 or $30. It can be embarrassing and ultimately laughable, but you can also easily be taken advantage of. Revolut is an app that keeps track of your funds and can convert dollars to euros, yen, etc. It’s a super simple way to make sure you know where your money is going without having to ask the people around you.

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