May 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
Today, I read a interesting article called How to Avoid Looking Like a Tourist. http://www.gadling.com/2012/05/30/how-to-avoid-looking-like-a-tourist/. The author, Libby Zay offered some really useful; common sense tips, such as not walking around with an open guide book all day (my words, not hers) so as to avoid being targeted for the wrong reasons.
Yet, how can you avoid looking like a tourist in a small Caribbean island where everyone practically knows everyone? You can’t! If you are European or of Northern American extraction in particular, you will stand out. If you are of an ethnicity similar to the place where you are visiting but from elsewhere, your clothes and demeanor will betray you before you have even opened your mouth. That has certainly been my experience in Tobago.
So the question then becomes, How Do You Avoid Not Standing Out Too Much? Well here are 3 top tips
Do some research. Try to find useful information about the country that you intend to visit. Even if you have visited before some years ago, it is worth updating your knowledge by doing some further research. Material such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Country Reports and U.S State Department Reports can seem daunting at first, but provide extremely useful information. Trip Advisor is also helpful and in the case of Tobago, it goes without saying that this site is the place to start
Avoid over reliance of the Guidebooks and Maps. To borrow from Libby Zay, you really want to be discreet with your guidebooks and maps, in public, regardless of which country your visiting. Of course you will wish to use your map to pin point where you are or gain some helpful facts but you will wish to avoid being too over- reliant on the maps. If staying in a hotel or guest house, ask a reliable person for directions beforehand. Most people are only too willing to help. In Tobago, maps are useful but you will find that locals tend to refer to landmarks and rarely refer to the streets names. Therefore, prior planning can prevent you from looking like a lost tourist who hasn’t a clue where they are or where they are going, i.e a target.
Tone Down the Jewellery and Gadgets. Obvious I know but worth highlighting. As a tourist, locals are unlikely to think of you as a person who has saved all year for your holiday and are now on a tight budget. Instead, more often than not, you will be seen as a rich tourist with dollars and pounds to spare. And that is not isolated to Tobago or the Caribbean. So why add to that perception by carrying around flashy jewellery or expensive cameras, iPads and iPhones everywhere. By all means, use your well earned gadgets but be discreet. Flashy and expensive jewellery are best left at home.