Let’s take a look at how to dress when you travel and why travelers should dress to fit in and not to stand out.
When it comes to safety while traveling, your appearance and behavior are critical whether you stand out as an easy target or not.
Thieves typically like to pick their victims based on appearance and behavior:
The way a thief looks at it, tourists are often carrying enough money to get them through their trip, so the score is higher. Plus, a thief has a better chance of taking down a distracted tourist than someone who’s local and aware of their surroundings. Simply not looking like a tourist is a great start on protecting yourself.
Of course, it’s not just about whether you’re going to be marked for mugging – it’s also about obeying the regional laws and showing respect for the people of that country.
Some countries go so far as to impose legal limits on what citizens and visitors are allowed to wear:
Many countries are more conservative than our own, so your clothing style should be more conservative as well – especially when visiting churches, cathedrals, and other historic or holy places.
Torn jeans may be the ultimate in cool in New York, but they’re looked upon as shabby in other countries and you may not be treated as well as you’d like when trying to get a table at a restaurant or check in at a hotel.
In many areas of the world, wearing camouflage is isolated to the military and there’s little benefit to being identified as military as they are prime targets for terrorism and rebel actions.
The best travel clothing has a comfortable fit, classic design, and a quality build. The following guidelines will help you dress to fit in while living out of a suitcase:
The key is to blend in and avoid standing out because there’s really no upside to being identified as a tourist. Those who live locally and are seeing you briefly for just a few seconds will judge you completely by your appearance and behave accordingly toward you.
When most of your personal contact is with hotel clerks, cafe waiters, and museum staff your best bet to securing a good room, a nice table, and great service starts with looking properly dressed. For many who travel, submerging in the foreign culture is the best part of the adventure and blending in has as much to do with safety as it does with learning a new culture.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.