It's pretty easy to pick out a tourist right? Fanny pack, camera around their neck, staring at a map. There's nothing wrong with being a dorky tourist...but that makes you an easy target! You don't want that! Here's how to look more saavy and fit in when you travel.
The fear of not being safe has kept some from fullfilling their travel dreams, but that doesn't need to be you! We've helped thousands of volunteers safely live abroad. Our experience can help you solve so many of the things that keep you from volunteering abroad! (By the way, that guide I linked talks about other common problems like saving money and ways to get school credit while volunteering.)
You will know how to look just like a local while traveling, just as long as you keep these rules in mind while packing and traveling abroad:
- No Flip Flops
- Dress Like The Locals
- Be Discreet
- Learn The Language
- Quiet Down A Bit
No Flip Flops
Sorry to break it to you, but other countries don’t really wear flip flops out and about in public. In fact, in Asia your favorite beach sandals are worn as shower shoes! Grabbing your favorite pair of flip flop sandals in certain countries is going to peg you as “American” from a mile away.
Dress Like The Locals
Want to look Parisian on your weekend trip? Plan on doing some shopping while you are abroad to really fit in and literally dress like a local. Some of the best souvenirs I’ve taken home from my trips are things I wear, whether it be a cool leather backpack or an awesome pair of pants…but when in Russia, don’t miss out on these 5 souvenirs you should bring back. Also, you’ll be chastised by everyone on the Russian metro if you aren’t dressed up in a hat, scarf and gloves during the colder months!
Hanging out on the streets of Switzerland with a fanny pack and map just screams tourist. Fit in with the crowd and throw your passport in a cute purse you can keep an eye on and step into a chic cafe to consult a map or ask directions to our favorite places to travel to in Switzerland (a favorite vacation spot for our European volunteers!)
Learn The Language
Learning a few key phrases can help you fit in no matter where you are in the world. Snag a guidebook and memorize some basic conversations and practice them while you are out and about. Even if you aren't perfect with your pronunciation, people will appreciate your attempt to speak their language.
You’ve got a great chance of learning Spanish by traveling somewhere like Mexico, where you pretty much have it all — think gorgeous beaches, tasty food, great souvenirs and a language that is pretty easy to learn.
Quiet Down A Bit
Americans are notoriously pretty loud…but it’s hard not to get excited when you are traveling around Cambodia, right? While you might not be able to fit in with your blonde hair and blue eyes, you can cause less of a stir by quieting down a little bit. Be respectful at religious and holy sites and save the loud cheering for a Chinese soccer game.
Of course, you can always fit in a bit easier by living somewhere as a volunteer instead of just visiting for a week or two! I mean, I never looked like a local while living in China with ILP, but I certainly got know my way around the city and culture. Get more info about what life in China is really like and by checking out the button below!