Australia is a wonderful place to visit. For most, though, it can be tough to feel like they don’t belong in a foreign land. One of the best ways to have a great trip is to mesh with others you meet, and this means blending in. If you want to visit Australia without seeming like a tourist, make sure to check out the four tips below.
Talk to a Native
One of the best ways to avoid seeming like a tourist is to talk directly to a native of the country before you leave. Go online and visit Australia-specific forums and talk to those who actually live in the city that you’re visiting about the local culture. There are plenty of people who are more than happy to tell you about all the best places to visit, and they’ll steer you away from the tourist areas and towards more rewarding experiences.
Sit Up Front!
While in America, it’s common to sit in the back of the cab, Australians love to chat and spin a yarn. It’s common in Australia for people to sit up front in cabs to be able to hold a conversation. Of course, you should still put your safety first, and it’s totally okay to sit in the back if that’s where you feel comfortable. But if you really want to get a feel for the culture and not seem like a total tourist, then sit up front!
Brush Up on the Language
Yes, the national language of Australia is English, but it’s very much its own dialect of the language. Visitors from other English-speaking countries can get a bit confused by the local slang, so put in some effort to learn it before you visit. You might want to learn what a skip bin is, for example, (essentially a large trapezoidal trash or waste bin that you may see on the sides of streets). If you see an SUV, you should know to refer to it as a Ute. The more of the language you understand, the less lost you’ll seem. As an aside, though, you should know to not try and imitate the Aussie accent or make Crocodile Dundee jokes. Really, just don’t.
Mind Your Manners
A great way to pass as a local is to read the room and act in a similar manner to those around you. Don’t walk around loudly proclaiming about how things are back home, and definitely don’t complain when you encounter something that you do not understand. Don’t wave around selfie sticks, and, possibly the most important thing on this list, don’t annoy the wildlife. Nothing screams tourist more than running to photograph a wild animal that was minding its own business. Not only is this a bit tactless, it’s also dangerous. Many of the wildlife in Australia can and will react and could bite, kick, or sting you. So mind your manners around both animals and people. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to watch your language—Australians tend to drop swears a lot, so be prepared for that.
You’ll always stick out a bit if you’re not from Australia, but you don’t have to look like a clueless tourist. Do some research, learn the local slang, and make sure to act the part. If you can put in the effort, you’ll find that those around you will be more than happy to help you feel at home.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan