Because of the Blagojevich stupidy-for-sale scandal, many in Illinois politics may be thinking about taking a quick trip out of the U.S., PERMANENTLY, so, I thought I might republish the link for you this easy wikiHow guide for How To Avoid Looking Like An American Tourist.
In these days when Americans are not always seen as popular overseas, though President-Elect Obama may be helping that image a bit now, fitting in is likely to be more important than before. So this could be timely whether you intend to escape to, er, visit, Argentina, Guatemala, Ireland, Blagoland, West-Ciceonia, or other places in the world you might like to visit. Notice I did not even hint at Sicily. Eh, Tony?
Here's one tip I didn't know. In other countries, ignore what Mom pounded into your head and use your left hand to use your fork. That's right, do what always felt natural all those years! Yes!
But, in general, to travel in other countries is going to mean more dressing up, giving up gym shoes and logos, wearing more black socks, and avoiding logos. Yup, looking like, THEM.
Well, that's the price of fitting in. But, as they say, when in Rome... That's the point isn't it? Learning about another culture by fitting in a bit. Learning a bit of the local patois, the lingo, and about the money, figuring out where you want to go first? That kind of stuff.
It's a pretty good article.
WikiHow's are Fun. Anyone can start one. I considered starting one called "HOW NOT TO APPOINT A REPLACEMENT UNITED STATES SENATOR" but I think between them Rob Blagojevech and Pat Fitzgerald have that material covered.
Wikiguides, are not always perfect, since anyone can start and edit them, but, they can be informative, with things you might not think of.
Ok, the Wiki-how link was supposed to transport the article to this blog in toto: here's what came:
from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
How to Avoid Looking Like an American Tourist
As an American traveling in a foreign country, the last thing you want to do is stand out like a sore thumb. Not only do you have a greater chance of getting sucked into tourist traps, but you're also a more obvious target for getting mugged or even kidnapped. So, are you aware of the things you do, say, and wear that make you look like the stereotypical tourist?
Ditch the athletic shoes. White athletic shoes (otherwise referred to as tennis shoes, or sneakers) are stereotypically American. Any shoes that don't look like they were meant for exercise will suffice. If you do wear socks, make sure they're dark. Flip-flops are also very noticeable as American attire, unless you're in a country like Brazil where Havaianas reign, or Australia or New Zealand where the Brazilian flip-flops are also ubiquitous.
Buy accessories at local stores, especially ones that you see the locals wearing, like scarves. Sometimes not wearing something could signal that you are a tourist. For example, in some countries, hats or scarves are worn by the majority, or, in winter, most people might wear neck scarves. Also, head scarves in some religious establishments. It would be wise to research this in advance and be prepared to take something with you if you plan to visit religious places.
Avoid US brand name clothing with easily readable names (eg. Nike, Gap, Abercrombie, Patriotic, Texas A&M, etc.). In fact, don't wear any slogans (like "Virginia is for lovers") that will tie you to a specific place. Notoriously American brands are becoming more popular outside of the US due to globalisation, however, it's still a good idea to stick to non-slogan clothing.
Dress appropriately for the local weather. Shorts and a t-shirt in cool climates (or winter time) are a clear sign that you are not in touch with the local weather.
Camouflage. What colors do the locals wear? Mostly black and other neutral shades, like in London, or bright, bold colors like in the Caribbean? Wear colors that you see the locals wearing. Your hot pink sweater vest or bright blue collared shirt might be fashionable in Minneapolis, but it won't fly in Budapest.
Leave your baseball hats, backpack and water bottles at home
Take whatever condiments they give you. Requesting typical US condiments (ketchup, salt, pepper, etc.) is a sure giveaway that you are an American tourist. Use the typical condiments in your host country, and if you don't like them or can't bear to eat without your American condiments, bring your own. Take small packets with you to use rather than insisting that the restaurant supply you with it.
Give up the ice. In many parts of the world, you will be served your drinks with little or no ice - much less than you're accustomed to in the US. Of course, if you want ice in your drink because that's how you prefer it and you're paying for it, you're perfectly entitled to ask for it...but the point of this article is to help you avoid being labeled as an American, and requesting ice is a definite giveaway, and be warned, the drinking water of some other countries aren't as safe as the water back at home... the water in the glass might be filtered, but the ice sometimes isn't, and with that you can get a bad case of food poisoning.
Use local table manners. For example, in Europe, a fork and knife are used differently than in the US. In some Southeast Asian nations chopsticks might be more appropriate.
Order like a local. In some countries, for instance, a salad is the last item served, not the first. In others, people don't eat what we in the US think of as a "salad".
Don't request decaf unless you can see in the menu that it is offered.
Don't ask for a seat in the "non-smoking" section, unless you already know there is one.
Don't insist on drinking “Coke” with every meal.
Keep the map out of sight. Pulling out and looking at your map in a public space is a no-no. Study it before you leave your hotel, and if you do need to consult your map, step into a store or any other less public place. Have the maps pre-folded so they may be easily accessed and read. Same goes for other items:
Don't carry US newspapers, magazines or books in plain view.
Don't wear your camera around your neck. When traveling to a foreign country, you are bound to take pictures. However, having a camera strap and wearing it around your neck for easy access is a sure way to look like a tourist. If you can, keep it in a pocket or in a purse and pull it out when needed.
These are only guidelines. You can do whatever you want as a tourist, but this article outlines some things you might want to avoid doing if fitting in and avoiding unwarranted attention is a concern.
Avoid baseball caps if possible.
Always buy a pair of local shoes - especially what people wear for comfort.
Don't wear a fanny pack. They make you a ridiculously easy target for pickpockets. A pickpocket could unzip the fanny pack and effortlessly take out the contents without you being aware.
How to Be Safe in a Foreign Country
How to Travel Beyond the Tour Bus
How to Travel With One Bag
How to Get Cash when Traveling in Europe
How to Travel to India—Native Style
How to Travel Around the World
Sources and Citations
http://studyabroad.tamu.edu/travel_avoid.asp - Research source.
http://traveltravelfargo.blogspot.com/2008/04/17-ways-to-avoid-looking-like-tourist.html - Research source.
I hope you find this and other articles interesting. I know the last two months I have had less humor and more commentary and theater notices. There is a reason for that. My sense of humor is returning. Remember, with more than 650 posts, just hit the archives for lots of jokes on all kinds of topics, use the blue search box to find them.
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