How to avoid looking like a tourist

Nothing quite shouts "foreigner" like a Hawaiian shirt and bum bag on holiday.
Follow these rules and you'll never look out of place again.

If  "a tourist" is a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt with a camera around his neck, it should be easy enough to avoid looking like one: change your shirt or holiday in Waikiki. Of course, it's not that simple.

When on holiday, we mark ourselves out as tourists in subtle. yet paradoxically glaring ways, and it can work against us. At best we look culturally shallow or naive: at times we're just plain irritating; and worst we make ourselves targets for touts, pickpockets and scam-artists. 

Here are a few rules that can ensure we look less National Lampoon's Vacation and a little more National Geographic

Rule No.1: Don't be a sheep.
Nothing says "tourist" quite like a tour guide carrying a little flag on a stick leading flock of name tags. Independent travel at least fives you a chance to be light on your feet and merge into the crowd. But there's flip side: without the guide and the little flag. you have to do all the work. 

Leading us to rule No.2: Know where you're going. 
This means doing your homework before you travel. If you know which treasure you head for and which trap to avoid, it's a win-win. 
If you don't know where you're going, at least look like you do. Street-smart New Yorkers say "look straight ahead and make like you own the place". It's the one confidence trick you should be open to. 
And if you want to cut to the chase and actually live like a local, check into an owner-occupied Airbnb pad. Be nice, make friends-job done. 

Rule No. 3: Don't be arrogant
The world is not being laid on for you, you are merely privileged enough to be observing it. And note the word "observe", along with its gentle neighbours "reflect" and "consider". Constantly judging a culture because it's not your own is the hallmark of a tourist. Being impatient with non-English speakers not only marks you out as a tourist, it marks you as a jerk who needs to have his or her passport revoked. 

And so to rule No.4: Learn a little of the language. 
"Hello", "please" and "thank you" can work wonders with locals. In the world's more notorious markets and bazaars it can make you seem less like a complete patsy.

Rule No.5: Be alert to what the locals are doing and follow their example. See how people are standing on the right of the escalator in the London Underground? See how nobody has gone topless on the Malaysian beach? DO THE SAME

Finally, rule No.6: Avoid those tourist cliches. Bum bags are just stupid (leave the passport in the hotel). T-shirt with "I (heart) Barcelona/Hong Kong/Getting wasted at Oktoberfest" are only hearted by tourists. And if you haven't yet figured out the local currency, step out of the queue until you have.

Of course, these days there is a foolproof way of blending in with most countries: simply hunch over your phone, connect on Facebook, answer emails and check Twitter.

But if it really comes to that-you might be better off looking like a tourist.

Sources : Escape SundayMail, Sunday September 6, 2015

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