How not to look like a tourist. How to get people to think you’re a local.
I have bad news…..you can’t. Unless you speak the local language, dress exactly like the locals, and learn their cultural minutiae, you’re going to stick out.
Just the other day, I was discussing New York City, where I was born and raised, with an aquantance who had visited the city. She said she did everything she could not to stand out–even ducking into toilets when she wanted to consult her map.
I felt bad when I informed her that most New Yorkers would have known she was a tourist simply by the way she walked. You see New Yorkers, true New Yorkers, know where they are going and are always in a rush. They tend not to make lots of eye contact and walk with determination.
Tourists on the other hand, walk slower, are constantly looking at what’s going on around them, and tend to, on a regular basis, look up to admire the skyscrapers. (Not long after 9/11 I was walking down 5th Avenue in Manhattan when I noticed a group of people stopping in the middle of the sidewalk and looking up. My first thoughts were, uh oh, here we go again. So, I looked up and was relieved to see they were only admiring the top of the Empire State Building a couple of blocks away.)
So it was with amusement today when I saw an article in the Huffington Post on Six Ways To Avoid Looking Like A Tourist.”
I have to admit, I think it’s a good start. I tend to follow all six suggestions and have occasionally been mistaken for a local. Very occasionally.
Besides the six suggestions in the article, what do you do to try to “blend in” or do you bother at all?