Throw away your guide books and maps. (Okay, maybe hang on to one map.) The best way to fully experience a new destination and not look like a tourist? Act like the city is your hometown and travel like a local. You won’t stick out like a sore thumb, can discover places you may not otherwise have heard about and can fully embrace your trip or vacation as a break.
But how do you accomplish this in a completely new place, one where you may not even speak the language or know the customs? Have no fear (a good first tip); it is possible to blend in yet still fully experience a city.
Ditch bus tours. Avoid the crowds and forget about booking an overcrowded, big-bus tour that shuffles you from place to place, tourist trap to tourist trap.Go explore at your own pace. Take wrong turns and wander aimlessly. Avoid the crowds and save money.
Two good ways to do this? Take public transportation or rent a car. Figuring out buses or the metro is a great way to learn how to navigate a city and save money. Another way to save money is renting a car; Enterprise and Hertz are top choices available many places and with these coupons you can save even more money for other trip expenses.
Do research beforehand.
Doing any research about sites to see, where to eat and how to get there before you leave saves you the trouble of packing guidebooks and having to constantly refer to them. But just in case… Moleskine city guides are small and discrete enough to tuck away in a bag or pocket.
Another helpful trick is to learn some key phrases in the native language. (Think basics, like Hello, goodbye, thank you, how do…, where is…) Rosetta Stone has coupons to save on language tapes and books, and you can find more language books for cheap using Gumdrop.
Dress the part.
A safe bet to ensure you won’t look like a tourist is to find out what the typical fashion is wherever you’re going. You’ll fit in and be respectful of local culture. Not sure of what to wear? A safe bet is all black. Chic and on trend in many places (many northern European countries for instance) and doesn’t show dirt as easily.
What tips and tricks do you use when traveling? Do you prefer to look like a local or let someone else take care of the itinerary? Let us know!