For the locals in hotspot cities like London, Paris, Beijing, and Tokyo, the common tourist sticks out like a sore thumb. Often a local can’t help rolling his eyes or muttering under his breath about “another one of those tourists” who is simply “in the way.” The key to avoiding these labels when you travel is to remember that you are a visitor and should be courteous during your stay. Stowaway offers seven simple suggestions to help you look like less of a foreigner and to avoid the eye-rollings and breathy mutterings of “another one of those locals” who is simply “in too much of a hurry.” If you apply these seven tips, you will be on the road to becoming a traveler—not just a tourist.
1.Watch your steps and stops
Pausing in the middle of a busy sidewalk to snap a photo or standing on the “walk” side of the escalator isn’t conducive to your safety. And it definitely isn’t conducive to the sanity of those around you. Plan ahead and pay attention so you can walk confidently and avoid missteps and misstops.
2. Remember: Let off, then get on
Public transportation, particularly underground rail systems, is often a new experience for travelers. Never forget to let the passengers get off the train before you get on. Sure, it may seem like a no-brainer, but in the heat of the moment, when you have to rush through the sliding doors before they literally snatch the clothes right off your back, it’s possible to forget etiquette. Don’t. Resist the urge and wait your turn.
3. Satchel up
Fanny packs and backpacks automatically draw unnecessary attention. Upgrade the fanny pack and add the bonus of carrying your stuff where you can see it— invest in a satchel or another type of shoulder bag.
4. Be your own photographer
If someone wants to take the time to stop and help you with your photo shoot, they’ll volunteer. Until then, it’s in your best interest to learn the art of the extended-arm, reverse camera shot. It takes practice, but the time investment is worth it if you want your entire face in any of your pictures.
5. Think neutral footwear
Comfortable shoes that match every outfit may be few and far between, but black and brown are the perfect solution to your problem—not white. Leave your white tennis shoes at home where they belong, eagerly awaiting the next time you head to the gym.
6. Dare to mix and match
Though it may be logical and tempting to some, the concept of dressing your entire group in a matching color or outfit is a mistake of gigantic proportions. Yes, the neon green jumpsuit makes it hard for you to lose Bob in the crowd. But what is most likely to be the focus of your photo—the earthy golden pyramids, or your buddy, Bob, in a neon green jumpsuit?
7.Beware of social extremes
You may typically chat with strangers, but keep in mind that when you travel internationally, your friendly disposition may be seen as obnoxious. On the other hand, you may have a knee-jerk reaction to glare at anyone who so much as glances in your direction, which isn’t universally recommended either. As you pay attention to the behavior of the locals around you, decide whether the decibel level of your voice should change and whether a smile or a look of complete disinterest would be a better facial accessory.