Your ship finally docks at the first port of call you rush off the ship and you are dropped right in the middle of a shopping nightmare. If you have cruised before you understand exactly what I am talking about, a lot of "TAXI," "Honey let me braid your hair," "Cuban cigars, not in America," "You need this dress for $50." I could go on forever with things I have heard at different ports over the years. Once you are outside the port area, there are ways to avoid looking like a tourist.
1: Biggest Mistake:
Do NOT by any means wear your cruise lanyard around an island. I used to wear lanyards all the time around ships, so I understand the convenience but when on the island put the lanyard in whatever bag you might have, or just put your card in your wallet. This also goes for the RFID wristbands, necklaces, etc.
2: Previous Port or Cruise Line Apparel:
If you picked up a shirt in your last port save it for the next sea day or for when you get home, do not wear it at your next port. Nothing says "I am a tourist" more like a shirt that says "Jamaican me Crazy" while you're walking around Cozumel. Save your spirit jersey with the ships name, or your hat sporting the cruise line logo that you got as a gift for being a loyalty member for while onboard or when you get home. When you are walking around a third world country tourist spot odds are those logos are only seen as a giant sticker that says " Charge me more because I am only here for a day."
3. Types of Bags Ladies and Gentlemen, please leave your Louie, Gucci, Prada and similar brands onboard, or at home, those are not needed in port and make you stick out like a sore thumb because the odds of an islander having the latest Louis Vuitton clutch is very slim. That being said beach bags while walking around St. Thomas will make you the perfect tourist to try and charge more for those cab rides, souvenirs, etc.
Bring a Backpack for those days in port, because:
-More Durable than beach bags. Typically backpacks are made to last while beach bags are made more for convenience.
- Safer than beach bags: A lot of beach bags do not have zippers, backpacks do, and they are closer to your body, so the odds of someone taking your bag is less likely.
-Backpacks look cooler! If you want to be cool like me check out the best backpack I have ever had! It is amazing to travel with because of the ability to plug your phone in and the safety features to prevent theft!
4. Looking at a map Yes, maps still exist and yes, people still use them so simple solution to this: don't use them. If you need directions while on the island use your smartphone, (I know you don't want to pay for it, but if you can pay for a cruise you can pay for the service on a smartphone for the day in port). You can also download the directions to your pre-planned destinations while home or while using the ships wifi (Thank you Google).
5.NEVER Say that you are a tourist. Yes, I have heard people say this in the past. This never needs to be said because odds are if you are saying that they already know and it makes you vulnerable because as safe as cruise destinations are you still never know what could happen, so it is best to keep that to yourself.
These are ways to make you look like a smart tourist at the minimum. Always remember that yes the islands you go to are seen as safe by the cruise company and the coast guard, but it is still better to be alert and on guard.
If there are any other tips that you have learned from your experiences, let us know in the comments!