Yes, you read that correctly. This post is about how to stop being a tourist. Because NO ONE LIKES THEM. Tourists are loud mouthed, uncultured, and blissfully unaware of the world around them. They’re too focused on “doing it for the ‘Gram” than appreciating or understanding the value of their experience. They will do yoga poses in appropriate places or show their butts like these idiots at sacred temples.
No, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take another road trip or book that flight you’ve been thinking about. It’s about putting down your camera (or cell phone), taking off those yoga pants, and start being a better traveler.
Blend in. As comfortable as it is, athleisure is not acceptable attire in some countries. As a general guideline, select clothing that is neutral or dark, tailored, and chic. And there’s no reason to overpack. Laundromats exist in other countries.
Learn key words and phrases. It’s an unrealistic expectation to be fluent in a new language before traveling to the country. “Hello”, “excuse me”, “thank you”, and “goodbye” are common courtesies that can go along way. Even if you mispronounce the words, it’s the effort that counts.
Do your research. Rick Steve’s travel philosophy is if you don’t like a place, maybe you don’t know enough about it. Knowing about the history, architecture, food, etc allows you to better appreciate everything around you.
Know and respect local customs. Though most behaviors deemed as inappropriate are common sense, unintentional gestures or actions can be frowned upon or make you stand out in a crowd. Learn about customs such as how to greet, dining etiquette, if tipping is appropriate, etc.
Interact with locals. Spending time with locals is the best immersion experience when visiting a different county. Eat With allows you to join a communal table in over 200+ cities around the world. If you book accommodations through AirBnB, select a home with an active host willing to meet with you and show you around.
Leave no trace. Just as you would at home (hopefully), consider your impact and footprint on the environment. Bringing reusable items such as a water bottle and tote bag for shopping can make a big difference.
Have any travel tips? Share them in the comments!