The Top 5 Ways to Visit Tourist Cities and Not Look Like a Helpless Tourist.

Posted by on August 18, 2015

What’s a backpacker to do if he/she wants to keep up appearances besides not washing properly and hefting about oppressively large packs? To most there’s nothing worse than coming across like a wide eyed dolt that seems to scream “rip me off.” Others fit this niche naturally. So, to not not look like the guy that you pity at the train station that’s being told the wrong directions, heed these basic rules.

1.  Pack Like You Have a High IQ

Creature comforts are not as comfortable when you have to hump them across large stretches of the city you are in. There’s nothing in error about bringing a small rolling suitcase as long as it doesn’t weigh 50kg; it can save you time in airports and train stations while on the move. The true traveler will do laundry on the road. This lack of clothing keeps more room in baggage for toiletries and souvenirs. Carrying a huge, nearly bursting pack meant for camping puts you into a special category for those that see you, and it isn’t a positive one.

2.  Have A Travel Theme

Whether it be beach, mountain, food, scenic spots, tourist traps or lingerie shops, having an idea as to what you want to do helps you stay on the move and motivated. If you don’t enjoy sitting in cafes and drinking overpriced coffee in your hometown, why do it abroad? Many that end up this way do so because they lacked perspective before buying their plane ticket. Maintain your discipline and keep hitting out for your theme. Don’t drop into lost traveler oblivion just drinking and waiting for the date on your return ticket.

3. Pick Up Take Out Pizza

Unless you have serious dough to burn, always playing around in fine dining establishments will puncture your budget almost as fast as a pick pocket lifting your wallet. Every now and again, check the nearby fast food establishments. There’s a good chance you could meet some locals and they could direct you to authentic native fare at better prices. There’s no reason to pay for your foi gras at three times the cost. The locals don’t do it, so why should you? Locals also eat burgers and pizza, so why can’t you?

4. The Internet Is More Than Facebook (wechat/QQ for Chinese)

Before even considering going for a trip, do research. The days of sitting in non-AC common rooms and scouring maps and stained travel guides in backpacker slums are over; some miss those hallowed times. Slept in enough airports and train stations, thanks. There are hundreds of free sites and apps available with all the info needed to have an enjoyable experience just about anywhere in the world. Lonely Planet’s Thorntree forums still rocks out as being the one of the  most widely frequented sites for info. Registration is free. Another good place to search are ESL forums. Teachers often will set up shop in foreign countries for years and hold info abounds about the places you go; that is, if they aren’t too jaded to talk to you.

5. A SIM Card Could Be Your God

Don’t be the guy wandering in circles, map with in hand but somehow still going the wrong direction. Google Maps. No need to say much else about it. If you don’t know the power of GM, stay home. Most countries, besides the stupid USA, have multiple phone carriers competing for all different markets and demographics carrying all sorts of mobile phones. There are usually traveler packages available from a few days to a month. See #4 and do some research or ask in the place you stay. Everyone wants to save some cash on their phone bill and most will be happy to share the info.

Last modified on August 18, 2015

Categories: General Mess
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