How to Not Look Like a Tourist

How to Not Look Like a Tourist

This article is all about how not to look like a tourist while on vacation.

I’ve been quite fortunate in my life, and I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively both within the United States and internationally.

Each time I’ve gone, I’ve not only had a fantastic time, but I’ve also learned a great deal.

So, in the form of top things you should try to avoid wearing while on vacation, I’d want to offer some of the things I’ve learned.

As a result, you’ll be less likely to be targeted for a tourist, which will leave you have a more enjoyable experience.

It also protects you from pickpocketing and other sorts of criminal activity.

Some of these tips will help you visit every landmark you desire, such as churches, without being turned away.

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But, before we get started, remember to take anything I say with a grain of salt. Adjust things to fit you and your unique taste and preferences, without a doubt.

These are just a few of the things I think are important to have in mind to make your trip more enjoyable overall.

Athletic Wear

The first category is full-body athletic wear, which includes gym attire, athletic sneakers, Nikes with laces, sweatshirts, sweatpants, and anything else that screams gym. All of these things should be avoided whilst on vacation.

We tend to be extremely casual in the United States, and there is definitely a time and a place for that. Even with the advent of the athleisure trend, you’ll have a hard time finding folks who are dressed head to toe in it while traveling.

One of the key reasons is that it’s difficult to move from sightseeing to dinner in that look.

You want to be able to visit as many places as possible while on vacation, so dressing up slightly at the start of the day allows you to more easily transition that look into the evening.

Depending on the season, swap your sweatshirts with a fitting, classic sweater made of cotton-wool or cashmere. Wear a great pair of slim pants with belt loops instead of yoga pants. Belts are one of my favorite things since they quickly spice up any outfit.

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Swap off your typical tennis shoes with a slip-on sneaker or a city sneaker. Something along those lines will be really comfortable and easy to wear while also not making you look like you’re going to the gym.

Baseball Caps

In a similar vein, baseball caps, particularly ones featuring American teams, are usually a dead giveaway that you are a tourist.

Try to swap that and leave it at home as a general rule.

If you want to protect your head and cover your eyes, go for a more traditional hat style.

It’s just a nice, very easy swap to make that will help you fit in a little bit better.


Backpacks are really easy to travel with. Because they’re hands-free, they’re really comfortable, and carrying something on your back is much easier than carrying something on your arm, for example.

However, when traveling, especially in a densely populated area, you should avoid using a backpack because it’s easy to slide in and out of, making you vulnerable to pickpocketing.

A cross-body bag is a better option. It is my personal favorite since I can wear it hands-free, but I can also swing it around to the front of my body so that I can keep my hands on it and protect it.

It’s absolutely something worth putting into practice in all of the major cities, and then just traveling in general. It’s a lot less difficult.

You can also get in faster and grab whatever you need, such as a passport or money.

It’s simply a better way to transport your most valuable possessions, which you can’t afford to lose, especially when on vacation.


My next two tips, both of which apply to footwear, are probably my favorites from this entire list.

The first is to avoid wearing high heels or uncomfortable shoes. You’ll undoubtedly see people out and about in heels, and you’ll definitely see natives from wherever you’re visiting wearing high heels, but I think as a general guideline, if you’re going to be walking a lot, bring comfortable but attractive footwear.

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You don’t want to be too casual, but you also don’t want to hurt your feet, especially if you’re not used to walking great distances and don’t walk much in your day-to-day life, but you do walk a lot on vacation.

Give yourself a fighting shot by starting with comfortable footwear. Your feet will most likely suffer anyway.

Sleek sneakers are a couple of my favorites when traveling. I try to avoid wearing running or gym shoes, as I indicated previously, and instead opt an extremely stylish lace-up sneaker.

Traveling in a pair of slip-ons is also a good idea, and they look slightly more dressy.

For this reason, I adore ankle boots. It not only keeps your foot safe and prevents you from wobbling, but it also adds a little height if you choose one with a modest stacked heel.

I also like wedges, so if you want to dress up a little bit and wear a heeled choice, go for a wedge.

It’s important to remember that most of the places you’ll visit outside of the US are older than the places you’ll visit here, so cobblestone streets can be an issue.

Things are often uneven, and you don’t want to be stumbling around in stilettos and risking injury. As a result, I always choose a wedge. It’s a lot easier to walk in and a lot safer overall, in my opinion.

The second item on this list is to avoid wearing flip flops. Outside of several beach destinations and especially outside of the United States, you won’t see many people wearing flip flops, therefore you may be turned away from certain places.

Flip flops are often far too casual for most places you might want to visit, so you don’t want to be turned away from a restaurant because you’re wearing incorrect footwear.

Instead, I recommend going with a classic sandal that is little dressier and sleeker in appearance. It’s easy to dress up, which makes you appear more acceptable in the long run and prevents you from getting turned away.

You want to be able to visit as many places as possible while on vacation, and I think that the footwear you choose plays a huge role in that.

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Flimsy Raincoat

When you’re on vacation, you’re bound to run into bad weather, whether it’s rain, sleet, or just bad weather in general, and your first instinct is to grab a windbreaker.

That, in my opinion, is a dead giveaway that you are not a local. Instead, I recommend taking something weather-appropriate with you. It may be a great trench coat or something made of waxed cotton.

Anything waterproof is a good option so you have something to protect yourself from the elements and don’t have to rely on a cheap, plasticky-looking overcoat.

It’s something that’s often forgotten, but it’ll make a huge difference in the overall comfort of your trip if you’re prepared for a variety of weather situations.

Too Exposed

I mentioned this one briefly earlier, but I believe it’s important to be mindful of the clothing code when traveling in general, and especially when visiting churches.

If you’re traveling through Europe and come across older, historic cathedrals, you may want to visit them, but keep in mind that many do have a dress requirement.

You can’t reveal your shoulders or have a hemline that extends over your knee, so keep that in mind when packing and dressing.

If you plan on dropping into a church every time you pass one and want to be prepared every day, it’s a good idea to pack longer hemlines and slacks and jeans, as well as a cover-up.

You are welcome to wear sleeveless and strapless clothing; just bring a cardigan or shawl to be prepared.

what does a tourist look like

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