How to NOT Look Like a Tourist When You Travel

Summer is upon us and so are our travel plans! We're looking forward to seeing all of your fun adventures all over Instagram--don't hold back!

Vacation is coming!

Vacation means packing. Packing can mean a lot of stress for many of us, especially those of us with kiddos or those of us who tend to overpack. But in some cases, packing can be a lot of fun. It's sort of a challenge if you can gather the right perspective. Figuring out what's needed for the destination and planned activities and the climate--how to fit it into whatever space you've got...

But--let's be real--is there anything worse than showing up somewhere and looking like a tourist?

Okay. Yes. There are worse things. But it's certainly not a fun thing. To arrive in a place you've looked forward to being and feel like you stick out like a sore thumb is not ideal for anyone. It certainly takes your vacation confidence level down a notch.

The good news is that this can be avoided with just a little bit of research and planning ahead. But, we know you don't have time for that, you're a busy lady! So, we've taken it upon ourselves to bring it all right here. Your ultimate guide on how to NOT look like a tourist this year on vacation. Now, we get it. You're all going to different places with totally different company and circumstances, but we've got some tips that should be general enough to help all of you out wherever you might be headed!

1. Research Climate + Weather Trends
A common mistake people make is checking the weather for just the time they'll be visiting a place. This is not always an accurate description of what the weather is actually like in any particular place. We tend to pack based on a very small weather window that pops up on our phones and often leaves us not fully prepared when we reach our destination. Do some digging on the good ol' internet and see what the weather trends are like. A safe rule of thumb is to generally think about extremes and take at least one thing that speaks to that. For example, traveling to Mexico in July? You would assume it wiould be extremely hot the whole time you're there. Having lived there, I can tell you that July is usually the thick of rainy season--more autumn weather--and you're definitely going to want to pack a couple of sweatshirts and some rain gear. Or think Orlando in the summer--super hot and humid but the air conditioning makes you feel like you're in the arctic! If you don't think ahead and bring something warm you'll be wearing the airport hoodie you picked up every night to dinner. (And hey, no judgement--I've definitely been there) Does the trip you're planning require a lot of walking? Don't find yourself sliding and getting blisters from your Target sandals while you treck all over the city.  By taking a few extra minutes to do the research and see how to best pack and prepare for your trip, you can feel like your most confident self and blend in with the locals wherever you land.

2. Stay Neutral
An easy way to look like a local and to save on space in your bags is to take a neutral palate of clothing. Stick to similar color stories and styles that are easy to mix and match. It's hard to fully know the personality of a place before you get there, but you can't ever go wrong with neutral. Once you're there, have some fun and pick up some pieces with local color perhaps, but having a neutral canvas to build on is really key. Often times people get a bit over excited about the fashion they think a place is famous for--maybe Hawaiian shirts for a trip to the Big Island or a black Barret for lunching in Paris--and then realize once they're there that no one is dressing like they do in the movies. Better to have the basics and then take a moment to adjust and observe and add your local flair after a day or so. Take pieces that you really love and that you won't mind wearing a few times!

3. Don't Assume People Speak English
This is huge when traveling internationally. We often hear that Americans are not the most well liked people when traveling abroad, and this is a huge piece of it. We live in a massively large country where the same language is predominately spoken as far as we go in any direction. Sure, a lot of the world does know some English, but when you're in another nation, take the time to at least attempt to get into their context--that includes attempting to speak their language. We're not suggesting you need to take a full on Rosetta Stone course before leaving, but a little goes a long way in this regard. Even learning basic greetings and everyday words for communicating is really meaningful to someone interacting with a foreigner--especially and American. It says--look, this person actually wants to understand our culture and our angle and experience it from our perspective. So many people travel to travel these days--for the luxury or the status. Traveling really should be about seeing a great big beautiful world that God created and looking to connect with the people He's filled it with. Traveling should be about trying new things and experiencing new cultures and seeing the world through new eyes and perspectives. So the next time you're in a foreign place, don't just start speaking in your language louder. Take a second to be quiet, listen to what the person in front of you says and then try it. And remember--body language is everything when we're speaking two different languages and a smile goes a very very long way.

4. Take Local Transportation 
If you want to look like a local than move like a local. Not only is this a really great way to get a feel for the local vibe, it's also usually a great way to save some cash. Ubers add up really quickly anyways and that's precious cash you could be spending on brunching and adorable local cafes. You can pick up a subway or bus route map pretty much anywhere around the city and you'd be surprised how much locals are usually willing to help!

5. Travel Light
This is one that is learned and perfected over time. A sure fire way to look like a tourist is to travel with everything but the kitchen sink! It's also a real pain and a lot more stressful for you! Hear us out--we get it. You want to be prepared and you want options and you don't trust the hotel hair dryer like the one that's been with you through an entire decade of your life. You gotta look cute for all the Insta posts. We hear you. That being said, if we're all super honest with ourselves, we never wear or use probably more than half of what we lug with us on trips. Here's a great tip: pack as light as you can a copule of weeks before your trip. Do your research on the weather and the style and think practically about what kind of trip it is (do you need walking shoes or warmer clothes or workout clothes...etc.) and then call a friend and have them go through your choices with you. Of course choose a friend who will actually help you make cuts and not encourage you to take more--we all know which friends we're talking about here. Run through each day with your friend and what you've packed and how you intend to wear everything. Maybe you really have cut it down to the bare bones, but chances are ssome outside perspective will get you even a little more free space. There's nothing worse than overweight luggage fees are we right? And you have to's always inspirational to see those people that look like they're leaving for a  year with nothing but a backpack. We can certainly find a way to land somewhere in the middle. And don't forget about the carry on. Guys--you are not going to read those five books you've been meaning to read all year on one flight. You just aren't. Save yourself the leg room and the back ache and narrow it down! This one you won't regret!
This also goes for when you're out on the town. Sometimes the backpack is necessary for seeing the sights, but often times we just end up hulling around a bunch of extra stuff unnecessarily and wastes precious energy that we need to enjoy our travels. Take the extra time to think through the day and carefully plan what is actually needed. Often times we rush out the door and grab everything for the sake of not forgetting a couple things. Taking the extra five minutes to think through the day and the plans and activities and only pack for those things will save us some annoyances later and keep us from looking like a tourist!

**Adding this little tidbit at the end. Some of you might care less about looking like a tourist. You like what you like and you want to have all the things you like on hand even while traveling. My (Rache'sl) dad could rock the tourist look--the high socks with the Payless sneakers and the baseball cap and fanny pack and no one questioned him. He used to lug the digital camera around his neck with the mini discs in his fanny pack without shame. You do you, girl. It's just been a fun challenge for us to learn how to be travel chameleons and we thought we'd share our learnings from along the way with you should you be up for the challenge as well!

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