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Do You Look And Think Like A Tourist?

May 31, 2008
When you to travel to a destination are you a tourist or a visitor? Do you assimilate into the culture or do you instantly brand yourself as a tourist. Unfortunately Americans have the international reputation for not blending into the local culture and sticking out in the crowd.

If you travel with a fanny back, you can rest assure that you will instantly be branded as a tourist. There is always an American tourist sporting the fanny. Get rid of the fanny pack, unfortunately it is cheesy and worse of all just plain ugly.

I know this sounds obvious but I have no idea why so many people open an oversize map in the middle of the street. Study the map before leaving the hotel or even better leaving your home. That way, a quick glance while walking around is all you need to re-orient yourself.

If this is impossible, how about taking a break at a restaurant or even pulling into a store to regroup. If you must travel with a map, try to get a small discreet one. Anything is better than pulling out the map with the fanny pack around your waist in the middle of lots of foot traffic.

When you visit glorious culinary cities such as Rome or Paris, do not eat at the local KFC, McDonalds or any other predictable American chain. Eat the way the locals do, grab the street food, and do not assume that it is dangerous it will most likely be delicious.

Leave the flashy jewelry at home. We expensive draped around your neck and the expensive ring adorning your finger, you are asking for trouble. You will either look as inexperienced visitor or become an easy target for local thieves.

If you are staying in a hotel, utilize concierge service. With their help, you will know exactly where you are going. If you have opted to rent a vacation apartment, prior to arrival find out if you can hire a guide to orient you to city so that you do not have to wander around aimlessly.

Please make an attempt to learn the basics of the language. Do not assume that everyone speaks English. The French especially Parisians appreciate the effort and will encourage your learning. A few keywords in the local language will open many doors. No one is expecting you to be fluent but you will be surprised at how the service improves when you memorize a few key phrases in the local language.

For some reason, tourists love to look up so if you want to look like you belong do not look up into while you are walking. This simple unconscious act is a dead giveaway that you do not belong here and are on borrowed time.

How you dress speaks volumes to who you are. If you witnessed someone dressed in shorts, a t-shirt with a logo, baseball cap, back pack and athletic shoes, you think they are an American tourist. The universal color for chic attire is black. The population of Paris, London, New York and other sophisticated cities tend to wear lots of black.

I recommend packing few clothes, then immediately shop the local stores, and buy what you find there, buy the clothes the locals wear. You will instantly blend.

Which is safer a hotel room or a vacation apartment? You want your hotel or vacation apartment to be your home away from home, but many of hotel aspects of hotel pricing and policy are not necessarily homey. So how does a hotel stack up against a vacation apartment?

Even in elite hotels, luggage can be stolen right off the luggage carts in the lobby. And the hotel assumes no legal responsibility for the loss. If your bag is going to sit for more than a few minutes, ask that it be placed in a secure room.

Yes, that designer luggage set will definetly impress fellow travelers but it also catches the eye of the local thieves that prey in hotels. The cheaper or uglier your luggage looks, the greater the odds that a thief will target someone else.
About the Author
Rita Borges is Managing Director for Paris Luxe Apartments, http://www.parisluxeapt.com
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