RoseMary Griffith is an author, blogger and lover of traveling. Visiting Wales with her sister Jackie, they took various trains, buses, taxis, and footpaths to see the countryside. Knowing that tiny details are what define a trip, RoseMary felt the blank book she was using wasn’t helping capture those moments. So she designed her own travel journal to better detail their next amazing journey to that spectacular country.
“Travel Journal, a journey for my soul…” contains blog excerpts and prompts to help you remember the most important parts of your adventures! Her travel blogs can be read at MusingsFromaRedhead.com—the same place you can order the journal for your next trip! Read below to learn how to indulge in the role of tourist.
7 Ways to be Okay Acting Like a Tourist
In the former home-of-my-heart, Red Lodge, Montana, we used to have a word for the flocks of summer people who descended on the little town: Tourons – a combination of Tourists and Morons.
What is it about humans that sends us on vacation, packing everything but our brains? We witness travel-zombies time and again and shake our heads in amazement.
Whether or not my sister and I looked like tourists on our trip to Wales, I’m not sure, but as soon as we spoke, our accents gave us away. Except for once when someone asked if we were Canadian. Right.
I admit that I’ve looked unusual wearing my Merrell hiking shoes in Milan while the elegant Milanese women ride their Vespas wearing short skirts and stilettos.
At least I’m a practical looking tourist as I comfortably walk cobblestone streets by the mile. While touring the Battleship Missouri at Pearl Harbor, with tricky stairs and ladders, I saw a woman with one foot in a medical boot and the other … in a flip-flop.
In Madrid, we came upon two women walking with their purses hanging open. A local stopped to admonish their carelessness. It was no shock when one of them realized her wallet was gone.
Be cognizant and fasten up! A cross-body bag is a good bet, but that doesn’t mean you can let it hang loose when you’re walking through a crowd. Keep a grip. If your klutz comes out to play now and then like mine does, a zipper will keep spills to a minimum.
All the nonsense about don’t wear your camera around your neck? What about professional photographers? Isn’t their equipment more expensive and worth stealing than my Nikon Coolpix? In this day of the smartphone and selfie-sticks, people everywhere are taking snaps—can you judge who’s local and who’s a tourist? Not so much. Go ahead and dangle that Canon.
If you’re on a hiking trip or planning to be out all day walking the hills of Prague, odds are you’ll be carrying a daypack. Not much way to avoid it, right? Don’t put expensive things in it unless it’s locked and slash proof. No need to carry the kitchen sink when walking in cities—save those preparations for hiking trails.
Dress for the area you’re visiting. No baseball caps in Lyon, and you’ll blend in better. Vacationing in Hawaii usually means wearing a tropical shirt at least once. While my Milan-walking feet wore Merrells, the rest of me was business casual. Save the athletic shoes and clothes for where they belong—in a gym.
Dressing nicely aside, leave the bling at home. Nothing screams, “rob me” as much as flashy jewelry—from diamonds to watches to whatever. Unless you’re at the Monaco gaming tables and live in that world, leave your valuables at home.
Since I first started international travels in 1995, menus everywhere have evolved to spoil us by being available in English. That said, the smaller the town, the less likely an English menu will be available. So be prepared. If you’re traveling to … Italy study keywords—or be prepared to wind up with calamaro (squid) soup like that time in Genoa. I think not. If you can recognize “vegetarian,” you’ll be safe ordering. Okra really can’t be popular outside of Texas, right?
Settling into new places
We can look like tourists anytime we step off our usual beaten paths. The trick is to not stand out so much that you look like an easy target. In a day when so many people want to be the center of attention, don’t draw the wrong kind your way.