Tourists generally stick out wherever they go, but a simple way to reduce appeal as a target for pickpockets and scammers is to prepare photocopies of key guidebook pages. Nothing paints the red bull’s eye on tourists like pulling out a thick guidebook. And it is darn inconvenient to haul around heavy books and thumb through pages.
Instead, photocopy key pages like maps, tourist sight information, food guide and language guide. These can be folded and stuffed into pockets or tucked inside newspapers and discretely consulted. They are also useful to pass around when asking directions and a good backup in case the guidebook is lost or confiscated, which occasionally happens in certain countries, such as sporadic reports of Azerbaijan confiscating Lonely Planet Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan due to sensitivity over its death-stare border disputes with Armenia.
Some guidebook companies, particularly Lonely Planet, sell PDF or other electronic versions of their guides. For trips to one or few destinations, an individual PDF chapter can be economical. But for planning and study The Rapid Traveler prefers having the full book and then photocopying pages he needs, often leaving the book at home for the actual trip. He wishes Lonely Planet, his default guidebook choice, would work out an economical way to pair print and PDF versions in one package.
Yesterday The Rapid Traveler was photocopying maps of Santiago and Beunos Aires. He and Mrs. Rapid Traveler will forgo turkey for mixed grill.