There's nothing crueller than a local, confronted with a tourist. Spotting your bum-bag, stretched-out map and sandals with socks combo, they tend to take great pleasure in sending you in the wrong direction. Just because they can.
So, we spoke to our friends at Wimdu.co.uk, a site that offers people the chance to rent out their spare room to travellers, and they gave us some tips on how to avoid standing out.
Check with your Twitter/Facebook/Google + networks and local discussion forums for recommendations from locals before your travel. Use these sites to make connections before arriving to a new city making sure you yield local contacts for a local's introduction to various cities
Google common phrases and write them down; it makes a big difference and shows you are keen to make the effort. Don’t worry about standing out, you probably will anyway so just get on with it. Head to a local bar, have a few drinks, this always helps to loosen the nerves and gives you a chance to practice your pronunciation with a few locals
Stay in a residential neighbourhood. You wouldn’t want to stay on Piccadilly so why stay on Times Square? Find a friendly neighbourhood and rent a room with a local or an apartment for yourself. Don’t rush off to the big sites, explore your local neighbourhood walk the streets and get a feel for it. Look at local listings, gigs, attractions and events. See what your neighbours are doing or where they are hanging out. Talk to your neighbours or your flatmate in many of our stays our hosts put together local listings for you. Use these.
Get A Haircut
Always try to save a fresh haircut for your travels. It takes you places only locals go, gives you a side you would not normally see, talk to your hairdresser get tips for where to go. Choose your hairdressers carefully match your holiday style with your hairdresser. If you are travelling in the developing part of the world, it also saves you some money.
Dress For The Climate
Locals usually have a fashionable way of being comfortable in their climate, you don't need to wear a Kaftan in Istanbul but a white linen shirt in Morocco might be a good asset in your luggage
Plan Nothing: Talk To Everyone
Introduce yourself to anyone and everyone you can. If you do this without hesitation and with genuine energy you will find a door opens to an otherwise unattainable world. Take each day as it comes, who knows where or what you will be invited to. Just go with it and stay safe.
(Image: All Star Images)