What to Pack to Fit in Abroad

Tourists get a lousy reputation regardless of what country they call home. Some shops hike their prices for an easily spotted tourist, while others will refuse to serve anyone who seems like a foreigner. If you’re dying to fit in, but don’t want to have to buy a whole new wardrobe to have camouflage- here’s what you can pack.

Just leave the cliche visors and Hawaiian shirts at home!

Although fashion changes from country to country, tee-shirts, and plain button-front shirts are universal. For women, your shirts depend on the area you’re visiting. Some culturally conservative areas might not let you into places of worship if you don’t dress modestly- although the ideals of modesty change from country to country.

Simplify things.

The safe bet is to pack a handful of plain tee-shirts with small or straightforward logos and a couple dress shirts or blouses to dress up your appearance. Avoid anything with large brands, country-specific, or team-specific logos, and anything that might be considered offensive to the local culture. You want to look like you live where you’re visiting, not like you’re about to go home and shop for Burlington houses for sale.

Dress based on the weather.

This tip doesn’t mean you need the biggest and best of everything. If you’re going to a colder area, bring clothing that suits it. Don’t go out and buy top of the expensive line cold-gear that you won’t need when you return home. Brand new expensive clothing of any kind is an advertisement that you’re a tourist in most countries. Although it might be passable in some areas- most won’t take you seriously.

Consider the length of your clothing.

Culture holds a lot of power in how people dress. Although some islander vacation spots may call for as little clothing as possible, areas on the same island or country may call for a more conservative dress. Pack for both, and then follow the lead of what the locals are wearing. If you’re respectful and work to fit in instead of trying to be as visible as possible, give yourself the chance to blend in.

What bags are you going to wear?

Large, heavy purses are a hazard, basically begging to be snatched- and fanny packs mark you as someone who’s not local. For women, a plain bag you can keep at your side is all you need. Locals don’t pack considerable backpacks to get around the city through the day, by carrying anything larger than a purse, you’re marking yourself as someone who doesn’t know what you’re doing.

Think about your pockets.

Men should have wallets in their front pockets to avoid pickpocketing, and don’t load it up with too much cash. Although it can be exciting to play in the local currency, it’s safer to lose a card than it is to lose some physical money- since card transactions can get canceled.

Above all else, research the place you’re visiting. Look into what people expect in the culture for all times of the year, and wear comfortable clothing that others will. Don’t assume that you know how people dress or go out of your way to buy cultural clothing before you go since that can get seen as disrespectful.


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