Vacations are all about submersing yourself in a new culture—not about sticking out like a sore thumb. Here, five ways to avoid being the “annoying tourist” that all the locals make fun of behind her back.
PACK THE RIGHT CLOTHING
Before packing your bag, check that you’re fully aware of traditional garb, especially when it comes to countries where religious or gendered customs reign supreme. Visiting a cathedral in Europe? Wear something that covers your shoulders and knees. A Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia? Go for shoes you can slip on and off easily.
LEARN IMPORTANT PHRASES IN THE NATIVE LANGUAGE…AND ACTUALLY USE THEM
Attempting to learn a bit of native tongue is great—but only if you employ the phrases you practice. Limit yourself to a few super-useful expressions you can actually remember (“Where’s the bathroom?” “Thank you for your help”) and then break those puppies out any chance you get.
KNOW HOW TO GET AROUND BEFORE YOU LEAVE
We’re not talkin’ Uber, people. Be aware of your hotel’s location and its relation to the rest of the city. And be sure to download Google Maps so you can access a map anywhere, even when you’re offline.
TRY TO BLEND IN
The easiest way to avoid appearing like a jerky tourist is to do as the locals do. Study up on country customs and mannerisms, no matter how subtle. Everyone eats dinner around 11 p.m.? Better get used to some afternoon snacking, sister. And don’t you dare rub your chopsticks together in Japan…unless you want some side-eye from the chef for your rudeness.
LEAVE A TIP FOR THE HOTEL STAFF
Maybe tipping isn’t a custom in the country you’re visiting, but leaving anything (even just a thank-you note) in the hotel room once you’ve cleared out is always appreciated. Plus it increases your chances of getting back that phone charger you’ll inevitably leave there.