A few trips back, I sat in the airport looking around at the other travelers and realized that with their distinctive covers, the various tour books being studied acted like flashing signs pointing to people’s status as *tourist*. And the books gave away not only the fact that they were visiting in an unfamiliar place, but disclosed their language and country of origin with the large print titles on the covers.
This seems like information that might be best kept a bit more private, or at least not advertised to everyone walking by. Our solution since then has been to make a simple paper cover for our travelguides and books. Use a brown bag (like you did in school) or snag a local piece of newspaper when you reach your destination.
It may not completely hide that you’re checking your guidebook on the streets, but at least at a glance it could pass as any sort of nondescript book. At least it makes me feel a little bit more like a local.