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6 Ways You Scream "I'm a Tourist!" & 6 Tips To Help Blend In With Locals

Tourists walking around a festival in costa rica

Have you ever traveled to a new country and someone told you "You look like an..." without you even speaking a word to them? Or maybe you were walking down the street and someone called out to you, labeling you a tourist?

This phenomenon of being recognized as a foreigner happens pretty often to Americans, so it's not just you if you've experienced this. Americans give off a very distinct energy when we visit other countries. We dress a certain way, walk a certain way, and talk a certain way that other countries can immediately pick up on.

When other countries watch American TV shows or listen to American music, they're getting a taste of our culture, so it's easier for them to spot us in real life.

In this blog post, I'll be outlining the 6 ways you scream "I'm a tourist!" when you travel. But don't worry!! I'll also break down the 6 ways you can blend in with the locals instead of coming off like an outsider.

You may not fit in completely or automatically, but at least locals won't resort to labeling you as an arrogant, disrespectful tourist who doesn't respect the local culture. You might even avoid scams that tourists experience, because let's face it - we are the target of all the ridiculous schemes and scams abroad.

Blog Contents

6 Ways You Scream Tourist

6 Ways To Look Like a Local

hindu temple statue dressed in religious cloth in Bali


6 Ways You Scream Tourist

Flashy or Unkept Clothes

Depending on where you are in the world, you won't see a lot of everyday people wearing gaudy jewelry or over-the-top makeup. On the contrary, you may also stick out like a sore thumb if you wear leggings and you're not about to exercise.

Your Suitcase Is Overflowing

Americans are notoriously known for being materialistic, and this manifests as us packing every thing we think we might need. 7 outfits for a 3-day weekend is excessive, even for a fashionista. If you're a heavy packer but want to look like you're not, try using an expandable carry on suitcase for your next trip. I love this one from Samsonite.

blue carry on suitcase being held by a woman with a pink tracksuit on

Google Maps is Your Best Friend

If you're constantly looking at your phone and tying to navigate, it'll be pretty obvious that you're not from the area and don't know where to go.

Very Loud, Very Public Conversations

Americans are stereotypically known for talking loudly, without consideration for other conversations around them. Plus, if you're talking loudly, quickly and in English, you scream tourist.

Your Camera is Always Out

Constantly snapping picture when traveling could mean 3 things: you're a photographer, you're a social media influencer, or you're a tourist. If you're simply using a cell phone to snap picture, the first 2 options go out the window.

man taking pictures of beer bottle on the top of a mountain at sunset

Tipping Your Server

If you didn't know, many other countries pay a living wage to their service industry workers. This means they don't expect tips from the people they serve, and may even be surprised or offended that you are offering them money for doing their jobs.


6 Ways To Look Like a Local

Dress Appropriately

It's important to dress in a way that aligns with the locals. Do a little bit of research on that countries religion, level of modesty, and local fashion trends before packing for your trip.

Learn Basic Phrases

All you need to do is download Duo-lingo a month before your trip and start learning a few key phrases in the local language. Words and phrases like hello, please, thank you, bathroom, taxi and help will go a long way, you might even impress the locals with your little bit of knowledge.

person reading a kindle on the beach

Copy Their Mannerisms

Don't be a copycat or cultural appropriator- but observe and mimic local behavior and gestures, especially their body language when engaging with other people in personal and professional settings.

Use Public Transportation

Using public transportation will make it easier to experience daily life and interact with locals. You'll get a true glimpse at everyday life - so be sure to research any buses, subways, or other local modes of transport.

a part of the public train system in Amsterdam

Take the Locals Advice

If you're good at talking to people you don't know, then you'll enjoy this one. Strike a conversation to your best abilities with the locals and make connections with them. There's a good chance that by building a relationship, you'll get insights and tips on how to have a better experience in their country.

Avoid Chain Restaurants

Try to eat at the local hole-in-the-wall, unfamiliar restaurant's, cafes, markets, and parks frequented by residents. The will CERTAINLY have the best food and prices, just be aware of the risk that can come with eating like the locals (Montezuma's Revenge)


Hopefully this post helped shed some light on how you present yourself like a tourist in another country, and provided you a few tips on blending in better the next time you travel abroad. You never know - maybe blending in better will help enhance your experience. Talk soon!

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