De-tourist-ify Your Next Exchange

You’re planning your next exchange and are probably already feeling the buildup of excitement that comes with exploring new areas, seeing exciting attractions, and sampling the local cuisine. Maybe you’ve already started packing, or at least started considering what items and outfits you might pack. If you’re a serious planner, you probably already researched a few notable places to explore and the best ways to get there. In all that planning there might be one thing that you haven’t considered: how not to look like a tourist.

Let’s face it, no matter how much fun you might be having on a trip or vacation; it’s hard to shake off the “tourist” persona that can wrap around you. You might find that you enjoy yourself more if you didn’t look and feel like a tourist, but rather blend in like one of the locals. Don’t worry, achieving the “local” look and ditching the touristy outsider look is easy enough to do.

Follow a few simple tips to “de-tourist-ify“ yourself, and you can avoid being singled out in the crowd by sidewalk salesmen or stared at with annoyance by those who have little love for tourists! Besides, blending in and acting like a local has some advantages.

Dress the Part


When you’re researching what the weather might be like on your trip, consider beyond the type of clothes but also the style. We can tend to want to dress up when we go out on the town while on vacation, but if no one else on the street is carrying designer handbags and wearing fancy clothes, you are sure to stand out. Also be aware of cultural sensitivity when it comes to showing skin and wearing things like shorts or tank-tops. No matter how warm it gets, it is better to be appropriate than unintentionally cause disrespect.

The most important thing is to be comfortable. We aren’t saying to dress like a slob, but instead try not to overdo it. The more comfortable you feel, the more you’ll fit in and have a good time.

Tip: Make a point to avoid wearing those t-shirts that showcase the place you’re visiting. They can be fun souvenirs, but they are better worn once you get home.

Learn the Language


Will you be visiting a foreign country? Take a little time to learn some language basics. You don’t need to become fluent, but mastering basics goes a long way. Locals will appreciate that you’ve shown interest and taken the time to learn some of the native tongue, as opposed to gesturing at things while saying words they clearly don’t understand and expecting them to guess at what you’re asking.

Some of the most essential items you’ll want to learn how to read and speak:

  • Greetings and thank you
  • Basics on how to read menus
  • Reading street signs
  • Questions and answers for a taxi or Uber driver
  • How to ask for directions
  • Ask where the public bathroom or public parking is
  • Ways to ask if they speak your native language

Look Like You Know Where You’re Going


Instead of wandering the streets aimlessly or pausing every few minutes to look at a map or your phone, plan your route ahead of time, no matter how close or far you are going. Looking like you know exactly where you are going (even if you don’t) goes a long way towards masking that tourist scent. If you do happen to get off track, because it does happen, you can now always easily ask for directions if you followed the above tip!

Think Before You Click


You’re on vacation, so we would never suggest that you avoid taking photos to remember your travels. That said, walking around taking snapshots of every little thing is definitely a signal that you are a tourist, and that may even attract unwanted attention by less-than-savory folks. By all means, take pictures and have fun but be aware of your surroundings when doing so.

Tip: Can’t quite get the shot you want? Often picking up a postcard is a quick and easy way to not only capture a memory but also get an image you’d have to be a professional to take.

Eat Where the Locals Eat


A lot of restaurants located in high-traffic areas purposely cater to tourists. If you want to experience local fare the way it was meant to be enjoyed, eat where the locals eat. What better way to discover the delicacies of the region than by exploring neighborhoods. Make a point to ask your Exchange Partner where they would recommend. After all, the food is most likely going to taste better, and it will be a more memorable experience than that restaurant that is more flash than quality.

Exchange Homes and Live Like a Local


Want real freedom and a new experience to create lasting memories when you go on your trip? Ditch booking an overpriced room or apartment and go for a home exchange instead. It’s cost-effective, unique, and lets you truly feel as if you live in the area. Plus, a home exchange gives you more flexibility to relax and enjoy the area without being restricted by “house” rules.

By using HomeExchange, you have more opportunity to travel and stay anywhere, and with the ability to select the ideal home for your vacation. You are guaranteed to have a much better trip. Discover HomeExchange for your next adventure.

Now that you know what to do to look like you’re one of the locals, the next step is to pick any exciting destination, pack your bags, and select a HomeExchange that works for you! Whether you take our advice or not, don’t forget to get out there and have fun. If you happen to look like a tourist, embrace it. Enjoy every moment of your adventure and savor your travel. Happy Exchanging!

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