It’s fun to be a tourist. You’re out there exploring a new place and experiencing a lot of different things that enriches you as a person. But the word ‘tourist’ also has certain connotations. ‘Tourist’ usually evokes the image of a person who is out of his natural environment and is conspicuous because he just doesn’t blend in his present milieu. One of the best ways of really exploring a new place and is to actually blend in and not look like a tourist at all. It may sound like a hard thing to do but with these helpful tips you’ll be able to shake off that ‘tourist’ look.
One of the most glaring characteristics that spell TOURIST is that lost look. Hollywood movies practically parody the tourist as a person who has this perpetual perplexed look as he looks at a map or street guide and looking all over the place. Try to avoid this by at least pretending that you know where you’re going so that people who take advantage of ‘lost tourists’ won’t target you. If it is imperative that you look at a map, try to find a place with few people, or go to a café and study your map while drinking a cup of coffee. Of course, don’t sit outside the café if you plan to do this. If you are hopelessly lost, ask help from people you know won’t take advantage of you like the police, tourist guides or members of the local tourist authority.
Don’t talk loudly that everyone within a wide radius will hear you. Nothing screams tourist more than people talking over the din of the locals in a strange language. Try to talk within the volume and intensity of the locals so you can blend in. It will also help if you learn useful words and phrases like hello, thank you and goodbye as well as handy phrases like how much, where is or what is.
Don’t act like you would in your native country. Try to observe the local and how they interact with other people and try to act like they would. Observe their mannerisms and try to adopt it. For example, in Muslim countries men usually place their right hand briefly on their hearts after shaking a person’s hand. In fact, you should also take note of the distance by which the locals talk to each other because it actually differs in some countries.
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