8 ways not to look like a tourist when traveling abroad


The great United States has a lot to offer when it comes to places to go, but for some of the most beautiful sights and sounds to experience, a trip abroad is the only way to go. Even though you’re a fish out of a water, that doesn’t mean you have to actually LOOK like one. Here are some tips on how to not look like a tourist (even though you are one).

The global tourism industry is estimated to be about $7.6 trillion, which means that millions of people are getting out of their comfort zones and taking advantage of travel deals and experiencing other lands. Immersing yourself in another culture, different food and a colorful atmosphere can be just the thing to refresh your batteries, so to speak.

Going abroad? Here’s how not to look like a tourist

If you’ve never been out of the country, you may have some apprehension about how to carry yourself — and that’s OK. With safety being your #1 priority, here are some tips from Team Clark on how to fit in when visiting another country:

RELATED: Your international travel checklist

Travel guru Clark Howard says being aware of your surroundings is key when traveling abroad. “A lot of times when you’re traveling outside of the country, you’re going to look like a tourist anyway.”

The key to staying safe is “knowing that you’re a mark,” he says. Always know where you are, and “don’t be disorientated.”

More tips from Team Clark on how to fit in when you’re outside the country:

  • Don’t carry a map: Instead of walking around with a large, foldable map (looking lost because you are), use your phone’s GPS to get to where you’re going. Not only is it less conspicuous, but you’ll fit in because, well, everybody’s looking at their phone.
  • Using headphones? Go wireless: If you want to walk around listening to music (or a Ted Talk) wireless headphones offer and less convoluted situation for your personal space. No cords also means less temptation for thieves to yank and run.
  • Pouch over pocket: Because criminals in some areas have become expert pick-pockets, it may be better to keep your belongings in a pouch which goes either around your neck or waist.
  • Theft-proof purse: Anti-theft purses featuring wire mesh straps that can’t be cut are a great investment and can be found online. The Loctote Flak Sack is a good option as is this Travelon bag sold on Google.
  • Don’t carry your passport: Why carry your passport out and about when you can take a picture of it or download Mobile Passport and have it on your phone?
  • Don’t carry all your credit cards: Ditto with your debit card. Leave them well hidden in the hotel room if you can. If you lose your wallet or it’s stolen, you don’t want to take the risk of having your personal information exposed.
  • Leave the selfie sticks at home: I know you want that perfect shot in front of the Eiffel Tower, but so do thieves who’ve been spying you.
  • Stranger danger: Sad to say, but it’s not a good idea to approach everyone and anyone you meet on the street. Be discerning and wise. If you must ask questions, make them short and sweet and NEVER disclose where you’re staying.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below or on Clark’s Twitter or Facebook.

Here are some more travel-related articles you might enjoy from Clark.com:

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