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Travelling to Europe – How to Avoid Looking Like a Tourist

Travelling to Europe – How to Avoid Looking Like a Tourist

Published by Programme B

Flights are booked, accommodation is organized and the dream European destination is soon to be explored. Now all that is left is to carefully fill the itinerary with sightseeing activities and choose what to pack. 

If travelling to Europe, there are some considerations to keep in mind while preparing to travel and also on arrival to avoid looking like a tourist. And, while there’s no one “right” way to do this, there are a few tips that will help to ensure tourists blend in with the locals and don’t stick out like a sore thumb. 

Avoiding these common pitfalls will leave travellers less vulnerable to being targeted by pickpocketers, ensure appropriate dress when visiting the local religious site and avoid costly tourist traps. This will lead to a more authentic and immersive experience. Therefore, don’t look like a tourist when travelling in Europe by following these five guidelines:

  1. Leave these items of clothing at home 

It is best to leave the Hawaiian shirt, baseball cap, or another tourist t-shirt at home. Generally speaking, these types of clothing are not something that local people wear. If you’re visiting a big city like Paris or Rome, most people would probably prefer that you dress a little more conservatively.

Avoid gym clothes, it is rare to see locals wearing leggings outside of the gym. It is also difficult to transition these from sightseeing to a restaurant dinner. Europeans generally like to put in a little effort when dining out. Instead opt for tailored trousers, and a fitted sweater which can easily be worn with a pair of trendy trainers for comfort. While baseball caps are growing in popularity across Europe it is usually a sure sign of a tourist. As an alternative to protect from the sun, select a more classic hat style. This will create a more subtle and chic look that will blend in better with the locals. 

  1. Don’t overpack

Unless taking an extended trip, try to pack for a European vacation with a small suitcase like one from There are several reasons for this. It is easier to travel with minimal luggage. It is easier to access public transport and to move through cobbled streets in the old town city centres of Europe. It will be more economical when it comes to airline fees, especially if planning to take a flight from one destination to another within Europe. With less luggage moving through the streets will be simpler and draw less attention. 

  1. Cover up when leaving the beach

Many European cities are lucky enough to have beaches in close proximity to the city centre. A mistake many tourists make is leaving the beach without dressing and strolling the busy streets in their swimwear. It has become such an issue that in Spain doing so can result in a fine. Therefore, respect the local people going about their working day and cover up when you leave the beach. Also, bear in mind that away from the beach it is unlikely people wear flip flops and many restaurants adhere to dress codes which forbid flip-flops in the evening. Avoid being a disappointed tourist and don’t wear them after the beach.  

  1. Avoid eating in restaurants that cater to tourists

Many popular tourist destinations in Europe are full of restaurants that are specifically targeted at tourists and serve food that is priced sky-high in order to take advantage of the fact that many tourists are on a limited time budget. Instead, opt for local restaurants that don’t offer menus in English. These places will usually have much better food at much lower prices and won’t have hordes of other tourists trying to squeeze into the next tiny table. It will lead to a more memorable and authentic experience. 

  1. Take advantage of public transportation 

Not only is this a great way to get from place to place, but also great for getting one’s bearings in a new city. Try taking the bus instead of a cab when travelling around a new city to get a feel for local life. It will be cheaper and avoid the possibility of being overcharged a fare.  


Of course, it is possible to adapt these guidelines in order to better suit your personal style and tastes. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to travelling. These are simply useful tips to be mindful of when exploring a new place and culture and will ensure the overall experience is a positive and memorable one. 

Photo by Галина Ласаева –