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Exploring the world is something the majority of people want to do in their lifetime. There is a hitch, though: fitting in. Travellers are apart of a community, and it can feel cliquey at times. Of course, the great thing about seeing the world is that people are friendly and accepting. Still, it’s hard to know that when you are a novice who is looking to take their first steps.
Like anything in life which you aren’t good at, you should fake it until you make it. Yep, by turning up and pretending to be one of the crew, you can ease your fears in no time. The best way to blend in is to dress like a seasoned traveller and hide in plain sight.
For those of you that don’t know how to do this, here are the tips to keep in mind.
Take this literally because there are physical tags that scream amateur. The ones in question are the sticky variety which airlines put in your bag. Some people like to think they act as a sign: here stands a certified traveller. The problem is that bona fide explorers don’t care what other people think. So, they have no qualms ripping off tags and throwing them in the bin. Also, there’s a practical reason to toss the luggage ticket, and that’s money. Individuals with marks on their bags that are fresh from the airport are targets. Anyone from a taxi driver or a thief will try their best to exploit you for all you’re worth. Simply removing clutter from luggage can save you a fortune in unnecessary fees.
There’s a difference between a gringo and a traveller. Non-locals are the ones that show up in branded gear and dress as if they are at home. Travellers, in truth, look like hippies who have just found themselves in India. At the moment, ‘elephant pants’ are all the rage, trousers with psychedelic patterns. Legit voyagers also wear a lot of plain clothes, such as t-shirts and vests. And, if you can manage it, dreadlocks are a dead giveaway. Should any of this sound too much, there is a middle ground. Billabong swimwear and clothing is known for being a favourite of travellers around the world. And, unlike hippy apparel, it’s fashionable and modern. It’s especially helpful if you plan to go down under for any length of time.
Aside from dressing the part, you also have to act like if you belong. When was the last time you saw a cultured person hail a cab? The answer is never because tourists like to soak in the customs and explore their environment. One sure-fire way to do this is to jump on a bus or flag down a tuk-tuk. Firstly, they are the cheapest options which is the most important thing. Secondly, public transport is an excellent way to meet new people and experience life as a local. Visiting a new country is about broadening horizons, and taxis don’t offer that privilege. As well as cabs, you should ignore planes. ‘Flashpackers’ are people who fly from one destination to the next, and they stand out like a sore thumb.
Okay, no one expects you to be fluent in a foreign language. Well, maybe the French do, but they are an anomaly. As an English speaker, the odds are high that you will be able to get by. It’s the most commonly spoken language around the world, and it’s amazing how many countries understand the basics. Still, talking louder and slower isn’t very cultured. What is refined is to attempt to talk the talk with people on the street. For one thing, it helps improve your skills as nothing is better than diving in at the deep end. Also, it’s another way to connect with the traditions and the society as a whole.
No, it isn’t! Some people won’t care either way, but others will use the info to their advantage. Again, taxi drivers are people you want to keep in the dark, as are salesmen and women on the street. As soon as they see you’re a farang, they will never leave you alone. To these people, you are a frequent visitor who understands all of their tricks and can’t be scammed. In reality, you are a prime target yet they don’t know that as long as you dress properly and can reply in pigeon Spanish etc.
Do you have others to share? What steps do you take when you visit a new place?