Embrace Looking Like A Tourist To Get Locals’ Help

Embrace Looking Like A Tourist To Get Locals’ Help

Most of the time, it is hard to completely pass for a native when travelling. If you can’t blend in, embrace looking like a tourist and some locals will be more likely to help you with directions or recommendations.

Image from Nick Page

Erica Ho from Map Happy explains:

People are more inclined to stop and help you. I don’t know if it’s because I feel somewhat inclined to give some of the karma back, but if I’m not in a rush and I see a group of people hanging out by a street corner with a map and a guidebook, I’m more apt to stop by and ask if they need some help.

Erica Ho mentions several other reasons standing out as a tourist can aid you during your travels. Check them out in the full post via the link below.

Advantages of Looking Like a Tourist [Map Happy]


  • Makes sense. If it’s someone who’s obviously unfamiliar with the area, you want to help them out. Otherwise, if it’s someone who’s just potentially dawdling or waiting around, you’re not sure if you’ll be offending them.

    • This. There’s no better way to set yourself up as a target for theft than by standing in the street holding a large map looking lost.

    • I haven’t tested it myself but the article says looking like a tourist protects you from pickpockets in some places because criminals who target tourists are dealt with more harshly. I wouldn’t go out of my way to look like a tourist in a place known for pickpockets but the benefits might outweigh the risks in other places.

    • It’s kind of funny… when I tripped around some of the parts of Asia notorious for pick-pockets I was repeatedly warned about how to avoid being a target and all that sort of stuff. But I’ve never had my pocket successfully picked and I was curious as to what it’d be like. I bought a dummy wallet and kept it in my back pocket and didn’t change a thing about how I acted… neither the real wallet or dummy wallet got lifted, after several weeks of very-obvious-white-tourism.

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