How to Blend in Wherever You Travel

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To read more of Ryan Hemphill’s travel advice, visit his website RyanHemphill.net.

There is arguably nothing worse than traveling to a new location and failing to blend in with the people around you, as it makes it incredibly obvious that you are, in fact, a tourist. This could leave you susceptible to scams, being overcharged at restaurants and shops, and even pickpockets and other thieves.

Although there is no surefire method to easily live like the locals do, there are several ways to ensure you do not stick out like a sore thumb. Here are several tips you should follow the next time you travel abroad:

Learn a few common phrases in another language

No matter where you are traveling, it would be wise of you to learn a few common pleasantries in their native language, such as please, thank you, hello, and so on. If you’re not necessarily adept at picking up other languages, try a free translation app like DuoLingo, which can aid you in preparing for your trip and even help you on the fly while you’re abroad.

Make a small purchase at a local shop

Although this tip may seem a bit out of the ordinary, travel expert Pauline Frommer explained that this tactic is one of the best she was ever told — especially for women who are traveling alone or venturing away from the rest of their party.

Carrying around a bag from a locally-owned shop will establish street credentials of sorts, affording travelers the ability to blend in with others around them — no matter how differently they may be dressed.

Dress appropriately

Going off of the previous point, it’s essential that you dress appropriately for your surroundings. Although it would be nearly impossible for you to blend in with everyone in a given country, there are some common steps you can take to look more local than tourist. Avoid brightly colored clothing at all costs, don’t wear open-toed or athletic shoes, and be sure to leave your expensive or flashy jewelry at home.

Avoid tourist traps

While there is nothing wrong with stopping at the usual tourist sights abroad, make it a point not to linger in the adjacent area for too long.

For example, if you’re visiting the Trevi Fountain in Rome, be sure to eat lunch or shop in places that are outside the immediate vicinity. In other words, avoid where tourists eat and shop, as you will lower your risk of being overcharged for coming in with the masses and appearing to be a foreigner.

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