How Not to Dress Like a Tourist in Spain


When my family and I first moved abroad and became expats in the amazing city of Barcelona, we didn’t take notice to how we may have...”stood out” amongst locals.

Looking back now two years later, it’s so obvious how we must have stood out as American tourists. How we didn’t get targeted for pickpocketing still amazes me!

So if you plan to travel or even to move to this city, let me give you a hand on the fashion dos and don’ts. Yes you may be a tourist but you sure don’t have to tell everyone walking along La Rambla that!

1. Baseball hats - while I still love my army print baseball cap, I’ve learned to use it for emergency bad hair days ONLY. And I’m quite aware that on the days when I do wear it, I look like I’m going to a baseball game - in a city where baseball hardly exists. Very touristy looking.

2. Flip flops - This was a tough one for me! In the summer, I practically live in flip flops. When I found out they should only really be worn to the beach, I tried to boycott! Told myself it didn’t matter and no one really noticed. Until someone did. And I immediately felt like some hippie surfer girl who isn’t a hippie and doesn’t surf. Point taken.

3. Workout clothes (yes, this includes yoga pants!) In American it was very typical to throw on your outfit in the morning consisting of stretchy workout pants, tank top, sweatshirt hoodie and running sneakers. Wouldn’t even think twice about it! Here? If you ain’t goin for a workout, leave the spandex at home!

4. Barcelona t-shirts (excluding FC Barca team jerseys of course!). Nothing says “tourist” better than a big ole’ t-shirt straight from the souvenir shop with the city you’re currently in written in huge letters. Come on, guys!

5. Sweatpants - Reserved for bedtime only! I don’t care if they DO say Versace on the side. Leaving your hotel while visiting Spain means you’ve taken more than two minutes to consider your attire for the day. Which under no circumstance should include baggy cotton sweatpants.

Please consider these simple fashion tips that can make a real difference when you visit Barcelona! After all, traveling is so much more fun when you can fit in like a local versus standing out like a...tourist!

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Written by theexpatchronicle
Hi I'm Lauren, the creator and writer for The Expat Chronicle blog. We're your average American family from New Jersey living a rather unique chapter in our lives abroad in Barcelona, Spain! My articles have been published in The Expat Magazine, The Bonjour App, Roaming Nanny, The Barcelona Edit and on countless fellow travel blogs. My hope is that through the blog, readers can learn from our experiences, laugh at our mistakes and be inspired to also take "the road less traveled" and move abroad!

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