3. Be Confident Enough To Move Along
Every city in the world has its share of scammers and aggressive salespeople who use high-pressure tactics to take advantage of tourists. Keep in mind: Aside from basic courtesy, you don’t owe anyone anything. When you’re in a crowded area such as a bazaar or market, put on your game face (I always keep my sunglasses on as well) and keep moving. Nod your head from side to side if you’re not interested in an item. And don’t feel the need to engage: The locals don’t, and you shouldn’t either.
4. Don’t Lug Around Your Guidebook
Look, we love our guidebooks. A good one is worth its weight in gold when you’re visiting a place for the very first time. It’ll help keep you on track and will ensure you don’t overlook any major sights. But if you don’t want to look like a tourist, keep it stashed away.
Read it on the plane on the way over, or at night in your hotel room when you’re planning the next day’s activities. If you absolutely must refer to it while you’re out and about, do so during coffee breaks or lunch, not while you’re walking down the street. Wandering around, paging through your travel book, and trying to figure out which way to go will tell everyone around you that you’re a tourist.
5. Use Public Transportation
Sure, it’s easier on your travel budget, but using a city’s public transportation is also a great way to get to know the area like a local. We’ve taken the Metro in Paris, Budapest, and Istanbul; minded the gap in London’s Underground; explored Vienna via U-Bahn; and taken a far cheaper version of a gondola ride on the vaporetto in Venice.
These modes of transportation are convenient, efficient, and will get you to the major sights with less walking and guesswork. If you’re lucky, the underground stops and stations might even provide delightful little surprises that give you insight into a place’s culture, including buskers singing and playing music or small stands cooking up traditional foods. Taking the bus or subway also offers a great chance to people-watch. It’s a win in our book!