Nobody wants to stick out when touring a foreign country. Sometimes we don’t realize that we dress or act like a foreigner, which could be a big disadvantage when traveling. Using the following tips can help you blend in.
1. Look at what others are wearing. Are they wearing sneakers? Boots? Heels/dress shoes? Take a look around and notice trends. Most Europeans do not wear sneakers, so wear boots, flats, or anything that suits your fancy. Make sure that they are comfortable as well.
2. Carry a coat. Get one that’s not too bulky, but warm. A lot of European countries get a considerable amount of rain and some are very cold, like the United Kingdom and Poland. Make sure your jacket keeps you warm and dry.
3. Dress casually. Don’t wear shirts with American brands or slogans on them. “American Eagle”, “Hollister”, or “Abercrombie & Fitch” are probably not a good idea.
4. Try to blend in. Speak quietly and don’t draw attention to yourself. Don’t behave like a tourist, and be polite and courteous. You probably won’t fool people thinking that you’re European for long, but you can leave them with a good impression of yourself.
5. Don’t assume that everyone speaks English. Even if they do, they might not answer. Remember that those who do would still greatly appreciate a word or two in their native tongue and who knows, they might even be nicer to you! If they have great vocabulary and pronunciation, tell them. They’ll appreciate it and treat you better.
6. Make sure you know at least a little bit of the language. Attempting to speak the country’s language is showing respect towards the nation and its people. Good words or phrases to know include are “hello”, “please”, “goodbye”, “do you have…?”, and “do you speak English?”
7. Don’t wear any clothing that screams “American”! Examples include: shirts with the American flag on it, “I Love NY” shirts, shorts with anything written on the buttocks, etc. At the same time, don’t pretend to be a different nationality; it might get you in trouble and put you in the position where you either have to lie or make a strange excuse.
8. Dress fashionably. You don’t have to sport all the latest trends, but try to put effort into your appearance. Clothing articles like hoodies and sweatpants probably won’t make you very European looking, so try to stay away from the outdated and sloppy look.
9. Speak quietly in public. In the United States, a “notice me” approach to public volume is acceptable, but in Europe, your accent and loud talk will be unappreciated. You don’t have to whisper, but try to act civilized and polite.