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How to Stop Looking Like a Tourist (and Why You Should Want to)

January 6, 2015|Posted in: Travel Advice

hiking boots

A couple of weeks ago, I went on an urban hike in my home city of San Francisco with my friend Carlos. Uncharacteristically, Carlos was late. So, I perched myself on the steps of the Ferry Building to do some people watching while I waited.

I immediately spied two tourists waiting for their guide to arrive. They could have been from anywhere. But, I was certain they weren’t from here.

How did I know they were tourists? They wore the typical tourist uniform of hiking pants paired with hiking boots. All over the world, in the most modern of cities, this is what tourists wear and they stick out like sore thumbs.

The problem with sticking out as a tourist is that it makes you an easily visible target for pickpockets, thieves, and less-than-honest taxi drivers.

There are ways to look more like a savvy ex-pat than a gullible tourist ripe for the picking.

  • Wear hiking pants and hiking boots only for hiking. Jeans and sneakers are a better choice to blend in yet still be comfortable.
  • Leave the expensive jewelry at home. Nothing says, “Rob me now!” like diamonds dripping from your wrists, fingers, neck, and ears. Unless you are in Monaco, of course!
  • Refrain from the temptation to wear a fanny pack. While they might be convenient, they not only mark you as a tourist, but they are notoriously easy to pickpocket.
  • Likewise, unless it is absolutely necessary, ditch anything hanging from a lanyard around your neck.

Of course, if you are slinging a load of expensive camera equipment, you still won’t look like you belong. But, at least maybe you’ll be mistaken for a savvy photojournalist from National Geographic Magazine instead of a potential target.

Come with us on a custom adventure to Peru and I promise you won’t have to wear anything on a lanyard around your neck!




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