The desire to travel like a local has increased exponentially in recent years. In the U.S alone, over 89 million Americans opt to travel like a local when visiting most cities. Seeing your destination from a local’s eyes offers numerous benefits and perks, including:
• Avoid tourist crowds
• See the best spots at the perfect time
• No feeling like an outsider
• Easy to make friends
• Economy and environment-friendly
• More fun
Despite offering great benefits and perks, traveling like a local is never easy, especially in another country. But no matter where you visit, there are always a few hacks and tricks that can help you ditch the tourist bubble and travel like a local.
Avoid Bus Tours
Most people use bus tours when visiting a new city or country. Although these tour guides can be knowledgeable and you’ll probably learn a lot, you will miss out on handling transactions and even talking to locals.
Generally, package tours handle itineraries, meals, tickets and even your stops. This form of arrangement can be nice if you’re terrified, but not if you want to really know a place and its people.
All-inclusive resorts also have this setback. So, if never leaving your hotel or interacting with people who are not part of the tour group is not your thing, then start by arranging your airport transfer with a local taxi.
Stay In A House
Staying in a hotel means you’re in an area will a higher concentration of tourists. You’re more likely to bump into other tourists, and that’s not a great way to feel like a local.
The better alternative is to go with a rental instead of a hotel. In any case, rentals tend to be cheaper than hotels, and you still get all the amenities you would get at a hotel. In addition, you will be contribution to the benefits of adventure tourism.
Use Public Transportation
Taking a bus through a scenic part of your preferred destination can be amazing. It’s also a pocket-friendly way to get from one place to another and enjoy magnificent views without getting on a campy tour bus. You also get to feel for the locals of that place.
Learn The Local Language
No one really expects you to master the local language, but being able to speak a few words like hello, goodbye and thank you in the local lingo can make a huge difference.
Keep in mind that the more language you learn, the greater the insight you get into the culture and tradition as more people will like to talk to you. That terrible pronunciation you’re so afraid about will break the ice and get a laugh.
Learn The Local Customs
You don’t want to be that person who innocently offends the locals. So spend some time to learn a few cultural dos and don’ts of your preferred destination. A few things like pointing a finger at people or wearing a headscarf can offend people in some countries.
Every destination is home to a myriad of customs, traditions,and cultures, so do your homework before visiting to avoid making a social faux pas.
Ask For Directions
It can be very tempting to rely on Google Maps or your smartphone to find your way in a new place. But sometimes it is more fun to write down the address and ask for directions. It might be budget friendly, but you’ll be able to interact with locals.
There is also a very high chance that you’ll learn more about the place before you get there if you ask. Don’t let the language barrier prevent you from interacting with locals. Basic gestures and a smile is all it takes to start a conversation.
Local Cafes And Restaurants
In most places and destinations, there are plenty of tourist traps. These are areas where restaurants and cafes charge tourist exorbitant prices. You rarely find locals there.
You can easily avoid these places if you’re keen. During your visit, venture beyond the areas with many tourists and find other cafes that locals love. You can even hire a private guide to take you around.
Most people travel to experience and see new places. Sadly, apart from the small talks and gestures with locals, it is nearly impossible to get in touch with anyone personally. Honestly, if you want to meet people while traveling, and learn more about your destination, you must be ready to learn, be open and talk. After all, it is the locals that make each place feel special.
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