How to Not Look Like a Tourist in Orlando, Florida

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Unless you’re heading off to a costume party, do you really want to look like a tourist, even when you are? Looking like a local definitely has its benefits. Not sure how to toss off that tourist vibe that surrounds you? No worries. We’ll tell you how.

What Makes Someone Look Like a Tourist in Orlando?

Wander into one of the many theme parks in Orlando, and you’ll immediately know who the tourists are simply by watching the crowds. Non-locals will generally have tropical button-up shirts or brand new T-shirts flaunting their newest encounter at their most recent theme park. 

While clothing is an easy way to spot a tourist in any crowd, the cell phone may just be the number one giveaway. Locals don’t need to look up directions or take photos constantly.

They’ve been there, done that. Tourists are constantly either looking down at their phones for directions or through their phones for those Instagrammable moments.

Tourists act differently, too. A little stressed. A little anxious. Perhaps a little too excited. Unfortunately a little too sunburned. A little too much of everything. This all combines to make it easy to sport a tourist in Orlando.

Why Might You Not Want to Look Like a Tourist in Orlando

Orlando won’t be so beautiful once a pickpocket selects you as their next victim. And more often than not, tourists are victims because they’re not paying attention to their surroundings.

Unfortunately, people seem to take advantage of tourists. They generally have money and are willing to spend it on all kinds of thrills and frills. Vendors notice this, too. If you look more like a local and less like a tourist, you may be less likely to suffer a bad deal or outright thief.

There are simple things you can do to look more like a local. Putting your phone (or camera) away will, first and foremost, keep you aware of your surroundings.

It will also put you in the moment. You’ll see more and experience more because of this. Orlando isn’t a cheap vacation. Make the most of it by staying present in the moment.

Easy Ways to Look Like a Local in Orlando

It’s pretty simple to look like a local in Orlando. You’ll blend right in with a few simple changes in what you wear, where you go, and how you behave.

Leave Your Theme Park Tees in the Hotel

Souvenirs, especially T-shirts, are a must when visiting Orlando. How else will anyone know that you saw Harry Potter or Princess Elsa?

But when still in Orlando, leave those tees in the hotel. Instead, don your favorite T-shirt that you’d wear back home. It’ll be almost magical in its instant transformation of turning you from an unsure tourist to a confident local.

Stay Away from International Drive

International Drive already has a lot of tourists. It doesn’t need you to be one, too. A famous retail district close to Walt Disney World, Sea World, and other amusements, it attracts tourists by the droves.

While the gigantic Ferris wheel, retail outlets, and dizzying array of dining options may tempt you, if you want to act like a local, stay away. Greater Orlando is a city of more than two million people. There are other places to explore.

Keep Your Camera in Your Bag

We’ve said it again and again. Put your camera away. Take your photos in the moment, but then stow your camera away. Use your own senses to capture Orlando’s excitement.

You’ll see more, experience more, and have much more fun. If you really want to be a photographer, plan a day for being a photographer, but when you’re with your family enjoying the city, be there. 

Eat Where the Locals Do

Dressed like a tourist, you’ll get tourist recommendations as to where to eat. Dressed and acting like a local, you’ll get genuine recommendations for where to eat. You may have to drive off the beaten path, but you’ll get a better experience of Orlando by doing so.

From Indian to Asian to Mexican to Thai food, the choices around this diverse city are seemingly endless. How about authentic street tacos, comfort foods, homemade muffins, and freshly roasted coffee?

All that and more are within your reach if you’re willing to head away from International Drive. 

Wear Flip Flops

If you’ve always wanted to wear flip-flops everywhere you go, Orlando is the city to do just that. Jeans? Pair them with flip-flops. Skirt? Flip-flops! A bit dressed up? Same.

Locals wear flip-flops all the time here. Some may be a bit fancier than others, but they’re still flip-flops. They’re the unofficial shoe of the city.

Traveler’s Tip: Don’t let the size of Orlando make you miss out on these 9 unique experiences in Winter Park, which is just ten miles north of the city.

Taking on Orlando Like a Local

Without much effort, your tourist look-alike days can be a thing of the past. Leave the tropical shirts and khaki pants at home. Ditch the white socks. Put the camera back into its bag and the phone in your pocket. Slip on your flip-flops.

When you explore Orlando like a local, you may find so much more beneath the surface.

Do you have any tips for blending in while traveling?

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