I don’t know how I missed this, but apparently Where’s Waldo is turning 25 this year. HBD, Waldo! Bud and I were OBSESSED with Waldo as children. (Well, Waldo and Carmen Sandiego)
Waldo went everywhere and he seemed to blend right in. Which thinking about it now is kind of hilarious since if you really dressed like Waldo, you would most certainly stick out like a sore-thumb. Danimal and I head to Europe in two weeks. (Let the countdown begin.) When we travel internationally we always try to dress as unassumingly as possible so we can blend in. In my opinion, this helps you get a more authentic experience of the place you are visiting. You don’t attract tourist attention so are treated more like a local. More importantly though, you don’t send up the red flags that say “I’m a tourist… I have a fancy camera, probably cash and other valuables… take advantage of me!”
Independent Traveler has a great list of 20 Tips for how to blend in with locals… here are some of my favorite.
1. Pack Clothes You Can Wear Anywhere – SO true. I tend to pack a lot of black. It doesn’t show dirt as easily and can be dressed up if we decide to go to a last minute show or nice dinner.
2. Buy Clothes At Your Destination– This is one my favorite things to do. And, I’m also pretty sure Danimal wishes I would do it less. I have found beautiful tops and shoes across Asia and the mid-east. This means you have to bring less with you and you have a great souvenir when returning home.
3. Douse the Shoes– Nothing screams tourist more than white shoes, white socks and fanny pack.
4. Say Hello– Learning how to say hello in the native tongue is a great way to get better service and make new friends abroad!
5. Plan Out Your Day and Route– I hate using maps, mainly because it makes me feel less like a local. Take a look at maps before you leave the hotel in the morning. If you get a little lost, no big deal… that is part of experiencing a new place.
6. Wear Muted Clothes– I am incredibly proud to be American, but when headed abroad leave your Old Navy American flag t-shirt in the States. It is perhaps the biggest give a way that you aren’t local. Just being yourself will give people a great taste of what being from this incredible country is all about.