How not to look like a tourist!

May 23rd, 2003, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 350
I recently spent a week in the Amalfi Coast with a friend who lives there. He's been there his whole life. He wore Levi's and Nike's the entire time. Perhaps he's not really European and just an imposter? Mmmmmm........
Dori is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 10:12 AM
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Parksie923, I agree that most tourists can't really blend in. I believe you probably just want to be accepted by the locals. I agree with several of the posts that say dress nicely and comfortably. The best things you can do to be accepted in France is to try to speak the language and be very polite. Before I met my husband, he went to Paris and did not enjoy it. When we went together and I convinced him to try a few french words, he had a totally different experience.

As for weather & clothing, you should plan to layer. It can sometimes get quite chilly in Paris in the summer. You should also plan for a little rain with a light rain jacket.

Good luck! I hope you have a wonderful trip.

cheried is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 10:15 AM
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Buy a phony cell phone or cover and wear it on your waist.
metlc is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 10:21 AM
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"They are total boars."

Like in wild pig, as in pasta and wild boar sauce.

LOL here!

uncle_sam is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 10:24 AM
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Dress in black, smoke and keep a cellphone in your ear.
Bob_C is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 10:36 AM
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Parksie, don't worry about what to wear style-wise. An example- my husband and I figured that since Europe's not a hot spot for surfing, people wouldn't be wearing surf clothes. So we left all of our surf clothes at home and you guessed it, lots of the locals in Amsterdam and Paris wear surf clothes.

The one thing I noticed that really makes tourists stick out is walking around with travel books in their hands.
Honeymooner426 is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 10:42 AM
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So what type of hats do the shiney bald men of France wear to avoid a summer sunburn? Or do they not care about it? My husband would be glad to wear his usual baseball caps, but our teenagers might just die of embarrassment--although I suppose we could always sell their return tickets and make a few bucks! <g>
elisabet is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 10:47 AM
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Do not ask for a capuccino at the end of the meal.
Graziella5b is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 10:56 AM
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Pack light with a mix and match wardrobe that can be layered. Women's pack: Tank or knit tops with a cardigan over. Pants, capris, or skirts. Sandals and comfortable shoes.

Besides that it's more about actions:

Don't read your map and guidebook blocking pedestrian traffic in the middle of the sidewalk.

Do take time to relax and drink wine mid-day at a sidewalk cafe in Paris.

Don't squeeze the produce at the farmers market or mess up the pile of sweaters in a boutique.

Smile and "bonjour" and "merci" your way around town.

Have a wonderful trip!!!
suze is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 11:00 AM
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elisabet, sell the return tickets for the kids and be happy that your husband has enough sence to wear a cap to protect against skin cancer. I did not and I am paying for it in many ways.

He should pack as many of his baseball caps as he wants. Screw the Fashion Police .
wemr is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 02:06 PM
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I have read so many posts about not looking like a tourist of American when travelling in Europe, that the only thing I can suggest is thatquot; If you dont want to look like a tourist stay away from all the SIGHTS"!!! Amen!!
kismetchimera is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 02:34 PM
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Well, as a native Floridian, I deal with tourists daily. The parallel I am seeing is that, no matter where one is from, or where one is visiting, the challenge is trying to "blend in." What disturbs me is that too many of our visitors seem to think that we run around Florida in boldly printed tropical shirts with pastel colored shorts (on men) and brown sandals with white knee socks!! Talk about sticking out...... I have to wonder if those in the European community silently snicker when they see us trying to emulate what we perceive them to be. I am of the (perhaps naive) opinion that if I go into these foreign countries and treat the locals with respect, I should be fine. Besides, I have tried, desperately for several days, to find comfortable, non-sneaker, dark walking shoes without success. I am going to wear my sneakers, and do my best not to offend the locals by acting as if I am doing them a favor by visiting their country. I truly believe that behaviour is far more important than appearance.
florida_dee is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 02:53 PM
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Indeed. I'm from central New York State (where people are not generally loud, by the way), and I used to visit Florida with many of my fellow New Yorkers clad in the usual cheap Florida tee-shirts, sneakers, fanny packs, visors or caps, shorts, and sunglasses. Since moving to Florida, I no longer spend a lot of time outside (too hot in the summer), I don't go to the beach, and I wear normal clothes. Why move in the first place?

lubeltri is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 02:54 PM
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I used to think there was a way for an American of European extraction to look like a native when traveling in Europe. I avoided all the tell tale signs, sneakers, shorts, etc., or at least I had convinced myself that I had. Recently just as I thought I had finally won the game dressed in the same brown that most of the natives of Palermo were sporting in March, my bubble was burst by a Parlimetan who told me that if nothing else it was my American face that gave me away. Go figure, I look just like my mom who was born in Palermo and I can pepper Italian with the dialect pretty well. I give up and am wearing whatever I fancy next time.
sicula is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 03:05 PM
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I do spend time outside, and I absolutely LOVE the beach. I feel more at home and at peace standing in the gentle, warm caress of the Gulf than anywhere else I have found. I am very fair (my Celtic roots, no doubt) so I wear sunscreen, a hat and one of my husband's old dress shirts while out in the sun, but I love the beach. I also avoid going out between 12:00 and 15:00 (just common sense)I truly do not know if I could survive if I lived more than an hour from the water.

BTW, I know that not all New Yorkers are what the world seems to believe the city dwellers to be. One of my very dearest friends is from Syracuse.
florida_dee is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 03:08 PM
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I think the best way is to wear a suit that you buy over there. Carry a briefcase, and don't speak.
As soon as you open your mouth your cover is blown. I get recognized as an American just walking down the Metro steps even though I am a conservative dresser.

I think my wife must radiate some sort of aura that says I am an American.
She was standing slightly off of he Faulhorn Trail looking at the north face of the Eiger. Another hiker came by and said to her in English, "Your pack is unfastened." He was not another American, and he could not see my wife's face nor were we not conversing at the time.

Was it her pack, hat, trousers,boots, posture? Search me.

And store personnel in Paris automatically speak English when she approaches. Maybe she looks too Irish, which she is by immediate ancestry.
bob_brown is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 04:10 PM
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I dont know, but I believe that if you are from a different country or lived in one for many years,as it is in my case,not matter what you are wearing,even if you buy the clothes, shoes etc., in the country you are visiting, you still look like a tourist..I was born and raised in Europe, but I have been living in the USA for many years now, however, when I go back in Europe everyone take me for an american.. Even my sister think so.. it is something in the look or like the french says :a je ne sais quoi .. I cant explain really what it is...perphas the way i walk, act or carry myself....
Anyway dont worry about looking like a tourist, a consider yourself fortunate that you are able to visit differents countries and learn about the ways other people live..
kismetchimera is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 06:33 PM
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On my last visit to Paris I was told that my daughter and I smile/laugh to much. While we are not loud or behave silly, we do enjoy ourselves. Also, after we became friendly with the hotel staff, they told us that Americans stick out to them for two obvious reasons. The first they said was Americans tend to be very "sturdy" a polite way of saying slightly overweight. The second reason being they touch everything and act very "picky" or demanding. i.e. they told me Americans complain about the size of the beds, rooms, wc, want foods on the menu changed to suit their moods. Remember, this is their opinions, not necessarily mine.
Lil is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 06:41 PM
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These kind of posts always make me chuckle.

Even if you manage to look local, you'll rarely fool anyone. You know why? Instead of walking from point A to B as if you're on a mission, you'll be looking up, around, backwards... hopefully with a smile on your face since you're thrilled to be there.

I know I am going to look like a tourist. I hope to look like a respectable tourist. Clean clothes (yes, even jeans) and groomed. I don't care if my black hiking boots aren't feet don't give a sh*t how anyone thinks they look. And most likely, they don't care.

I've seen the white sneakers, the track suits, the baseball caps, and the dangling cameras. The only thing I think looks truly ridiculous is someone who goes to what s/he thinks is a warm destination and isn't prepared for cooler weather. Like the Greek Islands, when it gets windy and cold, the greeks are in jackets and jeans, and Ms. X insists on wearing a little dress with strappy sandals, desperately trying to keep her dress from flying up and revealing too much. I've seen it.

But I'm sure that no one here would be so unprepared. =P
crazymina is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 06:46 PM
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C'mon we are tourists, so how can we look like something that we aren't?

The main thing is remember what your mother told you and be nice to other people.
ed is offline  

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