10 Ways to Not Look Like a Tourist

I’ve been in New York City for almost a week and I’ve learned quite a few things. It didn’t take long for me to realize that New Yorkers don’t like tourists. If you just moved to the city or are just here for a weekend and want to blend in, check out these tips to avoid looking like a tourist.

10 Ways to Not Look Like a Tourist

  1. Wear headphones on the subway. Most people will be wearing headphones/ear bugs on the train, so if you want to blend in, do as the Romans do! It shows that you’re a local and people will respect you.
  2. And don’t talk to people when they’re wearing headphones. If someone is wearing headphones, don’t tap them on the shoulder to ask a question or start chit chatting. They most likely want to listen to their beats in peace.
  3. Avoid Times Square at all costs! One of the most popular streets in New York, Times Square is full of tourists, flashing lights, and honking taxis. It’s one of the loudest and most populated areas, and since tourists frequent this area, steer clear!
  4. Don’t put your map in your face. Nothing says “I’m lost” like a huge, unfolded map that’s sticking to your face. If you’re unsure where you are, be discrete about it and check Google Maps or call a friend.
  5. Don’t let people swindle you. Many streets have road shops that sell purses, books, food, clothes, etc. and oftentimes the clerk will try to get you to pay an exorbitant amount. Don’t give in! Try to haggle, and if they aren’t accommodating, walk away.
  6. Walk on the right. Just like driving on a two lane road, make sure you’re walking on the right side of the road, or else you’ll get bumped and a few angry looks.
  7. Stay to the right of the escalator. If you’re not in a big rush, be sure to stand on the right side of the escalator. That way, people who are in a hurry can easily walk up the escalator.
  8. Don’t put your wet umbrellas on seats! Of the four days I’ve been here, it’s rained two of the days. On most days, the weather is nice and sunny, but on the occasional wet days, make sure you don’t put someone else in a rainy mood by making them sit in a puddle of rainwater.
  9. Download the New York City Subway app. Instead of asking strangers which trains to take, analyze the subway maps to pinpoint how to get to your destination. Some strangers won’t mind helping you, but asking for directions is a surefire way to let people know you’re not from around here.
  10. Don’t take selfies in public! This is probably the most important thing that I can stress. But what if my hair is perfect and that taxi just drove by and the sun is going down and the background is just so pretty? You want an Instagram-worthy picture of you to show all of your friends. I get it. But if you want to avoid looking like a tourist, it’s best to leave your selfies back home.

I hope these tips help you in your city endeavors. If you know of any other tips to look like a local, I’d love to hear them!


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