Traveling to Europe? Here’s How Not to Stand Out

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Europe is an old continent. With thousands of years of history, one-of-a-kind monuments and so much more, it’s no wonder people get a different feel whenever they’re traveling there.

If you’re planning on taking a European vacation in the future, you may have everything already nailed down to a T. You have your passport ready, tickets booked, electronic issues sorted out, tours lined up and a list of your top restaurants saved on your phone.

When you’re planning to dress, you might want to try and blend in like a local so it’s not like you’re screaming “I’M A TOURIST” everywhere you go. There’s nothing wrong with that (well, please don’t scream in public), but if you’re looking at flying under the radar, these tips are for you.

The Shoes

Pretty much the entirety of Europe is compact. It’s not as common to find houses with plenty of distance and space in between them like you might in the United States. Everything is very much on top of one another.

That means you’re going to be walking…a lot. You’ll want to invest in some good walking shoes before heading over. Many streets, especially those in city centers, are cobblestone, uneven or haven’t been paid since Henry VIII divorced Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife. so wearing flats, sandals or high heels if you’re a lady will likely lead to foot pain or a twisted ankle.

You can bring your tennis shoes if you want, but you’ll probably look very out of place. Look for shoes that are in between tennis shoes and business casual wear. Shoes like this will help you blend in but will also go a long way for the health of your feet.

Pants and Shorts

Just like a little black dress, a pair of jeans never goes out of style. Jean are great for just about any climate and country, so make sure you have a pair packed, even if you’re going in the summer. Once the sun goes down, the temperature can drop surprisingly.

When it comes to shorts, most Europeans hold off on wearing shorts until it’s truly hot. While for some, 70 degrees is a signal to start wearing shorts, you’re likely to stand out like a sore thumb over there, no matter what else you’re wearing.

Many choose not to wear shorts until mid-June, when temperatures may be inching closer and closer to triple digits.

Now, there are plenty of people who travel from cold-weather countries, like the UK and Germany, to warm weather countries like Italy and Spain, who will wear shorts if the sun shines for more than half a second.

Shirts

Shirts are the area where there’s not a whole lot of distinction between a tourist and a native. While a few decades ago most people would be wearing plain colored shirts in Europe, that’s changed over the last few years.

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Graphic t-shirts are big now, with many having grammatically incorrect English sayings or slogans. If nothing else, they’re good for a quick chuckle. You’re bound to see more people, especially men, wearing collared shirts even if they’re just going down to throw their trash away.

So when it comes to shirts, don’t think about it too much.

Money Belts

While technically not “fashion”, money-belts are meant to be worn under the shirt. It’s a place to keep your money, credit cards and other travel documents you may need.

Here’s a quick guide on how to wear money belts: don’t wear money belts.

They will likely itch and Europe isn’t some horrible pickpocketing hell. Do you need to be aware? Yes, of course. Keep your valuables in your front pockets, zip up your backpacks and make sure your purses are closed.

If you’re in a big public area or riding public transportation, that’s when you need to be careful. Just put an arm around your purse or backpack.

Casual Wear

Typically speaking, many Europeans tend to save casual wear for the house. You might be perfectly comfortable heading to the grocery store in pyjamas or comfy wear, but you’re typically going to see Europeans being decently dressed even if it’s just running down to the store to buy butter.

Which, through one point of view, that’s a terrible shame. Pyjamas are incredibly comfortable!

Hats

You’re not going to find many people, if any, wearing hats. You are more than welcome to wear one, but chances are you will see very few people wearing any hats during your time there.

If you’re going to a sporting event, they’re bound to be more common but they are not a daily thing that is worn. You can always toe the line by buying a hat from the local football team.

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