There is nothing wrong with being a tourist. Exploring a new country in the company of fellow tourists and numerous guides is exhilarating. However, if you want to travel undetected and get an undiluted feel of the country without being judged as a tourist then these tips and tricks will help you blend in:
Leave the crowd
There are obvious advantages of travelling on a tour bus in a new country. You get information about the city like never before from guides and get answers to your numerous questions. The disadvantage is that you never get to experience what life really is outside your circle of tourists. Since you won’t get lost without the bus, make new local friends who will show you the country’s hidden secrets. So ditch the tour bus and get ready to experience new food, places and culture.
Get a house
In order to get a complete local experience, you have to move away from the hotels concentrated with tourists. Instead of booking a hotel, get a house or a villa with eager hosts and most times en suite staff. Getting a house helps you get a feel of the daily life of locals in the comfort and privacy of your own space.
Before you go globe-trotting, get a global view via the internet. Search for cities in mind on Google and read reviews of hotels, restaurants and resorts. Check out photos on instagram and follow blogs dedicated to life in your dream city. Making an online friend before you travel is also very invaluable as you get an undiluted version of events.
You would be surprised how many people stick out like sore thumbs because of poor mannerisms and being impolite. Throwing money around and buying the whole bar is not your ticket to getting settled in. Simple things like saying thank you and please will get you a warm reception. Don’t destroy monuments or create scenes through poor behaviour at national parks and gardens.
Not leaving your comfort zone will rob you of the sights and sounds and more importantly the cuisine of the country. Get away from the familiar hamburgers and milkshakes and ask for where to get the best local dishes.
Speak to impress
Nobody is asking you to become a fluent speaker of the language in two days but gesturing and looking around helplessly will get you spotted easily. Create a warm impression by learning the very basics of the language. Saying Hello and Thank you will get you places. You might struggle initially so be sure to compensate your halting speech with a warm smile and you would get looks filled with understanding and help from locals who will be impressed at your attempts to assimilate the culture and language.
Travel off season
Apart from being able to score some super cheap deals during off season, you will also be able to travel around the country without calling much attraction to yourself