by Jen Anderson, Fashion Writer
The most embarrassing part of traveling is looking like a traveler. Admit it, you just want to enjoy your beignet in the French Quarter without a New Orleans native pointing out that you’re so obviously not from Louisiana. It’s all about the appearance. If the native can’t tell that you’re a tourist, your trip experience will heighten and you might learn more about your destination than you normally would have with a DSLR strapped around your neck and a map sticking out of your pocket.
Here are four tips on how to pretend you’re a native of your destination site when actually you’re just a really good iguana blending into your surroundings.
1.) Dress the part
We all know the famous image of the stereotypical tourist: the hat, camera around the neck, a streak of sunscreen down the middle of the nose and that horrible Hawaiian print shirt. NEVER wear the Hawaiian print shirt. Before leaving for your trip, check up on what locals wear in the town you’re visiting. If you’re going to Cali, stock up on some beachy essentials. If you’re heading to Europe, check out Paris Fashion Week trends. The best tourists look like they have grown up sporting the styles of their vacation destinations.
2.) Talk the Talk
Nothing is more embarrassing then traveling to a different city, making a new local friend and not being able to communicate with them. Language can be a horrible barrier that is nearly impossible to overlook. Yeah, Mary Kate and Ashley made it look adorable when they weren’t able to talk to their French boyfriends in Passport to Paris; when you really think about it, that movie was far from realistic. When it comes to being a tourist in a country with an entirely different language, brush up on some key phrases (like “Where’s the closest bar?” or “That’s absurd, I’m not paying that much”). When going to cities with heavy slang, make sure you’re up to date so you don’t sound obviously foreign (BREAKING NEWS: Nobody on the West or East coast knows what a “bubbler” is).
3.) Walk the Walk
Getting lost in a foreign city is no joking matter. Quite frankly, it can be very terrifying. Figuring your city out before embarking on adventures is an obvious yet commonly overlooked component to travelling. The best tourist buys maps and books before leaving that explain how cities work so that even in the worst of situation, you can find your way back to your hotel. Don’t be the one on the park bench looking at a huge map. Plan everything out before you leave. You won’t look like a lost puppy or a foreigner; everything will be smooth sailing.
4.) Ditch the Disposable
It’s not only the disposable cameras, any kind of camera which screams “I am a camera” call attention to tourists. Nowadays, it’s unnecessary to constantly have a camera at your side. Seeing as though it is 2013, someone on your trip is sure to have a smartphone. Apps like Camera+ offer special filters, flashes, timers and stabilizers to help make iPhone pictures of DSLR quality for only 99¢.