When going on vacation, especially to another country, many people don’t want to be identified as tourists. Mention the word tourist and your mind instantly conjures images of crowds of people blocking streets, travelling en masse to hyped up locations and attractions, and perhaps worse, people who treat a destination’s residents with ignorance or indifference.
Many people travel to experience and explore, not to be a nuisance. The best way to fully immerse yourself in a place you’ve never seen before is to resist the norm and march to the beat of your own drum, while respecting the laws and manners of other places. The travel experts at SellMyTimeshareNow.com have compiled this guide on how to not look like a tourist, and be a traveler instead.
As mentioned above, the thought of tourists does not conjure a friendly image for some. Many view tourists as disrespectful, part of the reason why they generate so much discontent. Imagine someone visiting your home, and in the process, making your commute longer or openly complaining about your customs and comparing them to where they come from.
As a vacationer, you should want to avoid the usual hallmarks of a tourist. There is actually a very easy way to do this, and doing so will leave you with a greater experience and state of mind as a traveler.
Start by boarding the plane or getting into the car in the right state of mind. You’re not traveling because you have to, or because some friends or coworkers said “you really need to see this place.” You’re going to immerse yourself in a new culture and to explore outside your comfort zone. Keep this mantra for the duration of your trip.
When you get to your destination, don’t just skip from one attraction to the next. Make an effort to blend in a bit. Explore areas off the beaten path, find out what the local residents do. Make connections and exchange stories with locals and other travelers. Doing this will give you a greater sense of what the place is and how the culture operates.
Arranging for different accommodations can also give you a different vacation experience. Try staying in an establishment other than hotel chains. Find a vacation rental or a timeshare rental to stay at, or see if there is an apartment available for week-long bookings. Simply changing the surroundings of your space can transform you from a tourist to a traveler.
Always be respectful of your vacation destination’s norms and culture. Some tourists end up complaining about things that aren’t like where they live, and this can drive people crazy. Adapt as best you can to new cultures and laws, and always be on your best behavior.
Avoid being overactive on social media outlets like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Yes, sometimes it is crucial to stay connected, and you’ll obviously want to post proof of your adventures to make your friends jealous, but don’t have your phone in front of you all the time. Chances are, you’ll miss a lot of the things that are actually happening around you.
Finally, you should leave your comfort zone, but still be you. Do something new on your trip that you normally wouldn’t do—this is a good way to gain a different perspective on what it’s like to live in another place while pushing your limits. Show people who you are, but be willing to learn from them too. This is all part of the traveler experience.