California is the perfect vacation destination. As the third largest U.S. state, and with the fifth largest economy in the world, it really is like its own country. From bustling cities to mountains, the world’s largest trees, and beaches, there’s something for everyone in this massive state. (Image Credit: David Mark/Pixabay)
However, that doesn’t mean you want to stick out like a sore thumb. Most Californians detest the stereotypical vacationer. If you play that role, you’ll just end up with an unpleasant vacation experience.
The question is, exactly how do you vacation in California without looking like a tourist?
Avoid the Busiest Tourist Destinations
You can start by avoiding the busiest tourist destinations. For example, almost everyone flocks to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Although they can be a lot of fun, these places are crawling with tourists. There are plenty of other popular places that are just as fun to visit, and you’ll have a better chance of blending in.
For example, consider spending a weekend on the water at Lake Tahoe. Although it’s a vacation destination in its own right, it’s primarily a vacation destination for locals, not tourists flying in from all around the world. You’re more likely to meet and interact with local residents, and they’re more likely to accept you because you chose a less common vacation destination over a more popular one.
Use Public Transportation
Many travelers like to rent a car. It’s understandable. It provides you with the most flexibility to do the things you want. However, a large portion of the California population doesn’t drive a vehicle because they can rely on public transportation instead. You should do the same.
Figuring out public transportation systems when you’re on vacation can be a big challenge, but it isn’t impossible. Prep ahead of time by doing research online before you leave, which includes looking into passes that will make you look even more like a local.
Want to travel throughout the state? If you plan on traveling further north or south, by all means, rent a car. Just don’t drive it when you’re in the busiest cities.
Learn the Local Style
California is known the world-over for its laid-back style, but because it’s such a huge state, the way that style is translated can be different. Know where you’re vacationing in California and pack accordingly.
A few tips for creating that authentic California style include:
- Wear a stylish swimsuit underneath a lightweight dress with sandals and a floppy hat when on the beach.
- Opt for boyfriend jeans and a plain white tee tucked in at the front with a pair of sneakers when shopping in the city.
- Dress in layers and wear denim when spending time in the great outdoors.
- Add some glam at night when going out on the town by wearing a statement necklace and heeled sandals.
Learn the Local Lingo
Not only should you learn the local style if you don’t want to look like a tourist when you’re vacationing in California, you also need to learn the lingo.
California has its own special version of the English language. Don’t be caught unawares by words and phrases that you haven’t heard back at home. For example, “dank” is used a synonym for “good”, while you might hear a surfer use the phrase, “double overhead.”
Learning the lingo is important so you can understand the locals, but don’t use the lingo yourself unless you’re totally confident. The lingo is a little different in different areas of California, and using the wrong words will just make you look like more of a tourist.
Do as the Locals Do
Not only should you dress and talk like the locals, you should also do as the locals do! That means paying attention to their habits and following accordingly.
It’s especially important when it comes to dining. Although locals may eat at chain restaurants, you’re more likely to catch them at local haunts. In order to eat the way a local does, you have to keep your eyes peeled.
Grab lunch at a food truck with a line that reaches the street, or ask a bartender to provide you with a recommendation. Not only will you fit right in with the locals, you’re more likely to discover a new favorite.
California tourists get a bad rap. Don’t feed into those stereotypes! Instead, enjoy your vacation more and actually make friends with area residents by learning how to blend in like a local.