It’s sort of a running joke with Nick and I about how often I’m asked for directions, both at home in Portland and when we’re traveling. I’m stopped all the time on street corners in my home city of Portland by tourists wondering which direction to the Pearl District or how to get to Pioneer Place but I’ve also been stopped numerous times abroad in places all over the world for directions. I’ve explained in French how to get to Paris on the train from Orly to a tourist who stopped me to ask (while I was just a tourist myself as well) and pointed tourists in London toward Hyde Park. I was also just asked for directions in LA this past weekend and it’s becoming a bit of a phenomenon when we travel.
I think that it is due in part to the fact that when I travel, I do know my way around. I am not wandering aimlessly, as I’ve done research before hand to have somewhat of a handle on my surroundings. I generally know which direction things are in pretty well. Perhaps it’s just that I look like I know what I’m doing, but there are definitely tips and tricks to help you blend into wherever you are and I’ve gotten really good at them over the years of traveling so that you don’t look like the out of place tourist.
So here in no particular order are ways to help you blend in while traveling, after all, who wants to stick out as the annoying American tourist? I surely don’t and I employ all of these tips below regularly when we travel. The more I can look like and blend in with the locals the better!