Traveling is an incredible experience. You can spend a few days in a place or a few weeks, but it’s difficult to get the full experience of the area unless you live there. While you might want to see the main attractions and do all the traditional tourist activities, many people are interested in seeing the hidden gems places have to offer. Here is some advice on how to travel like a local and truly get a feel for a new place.
Instead of opting for a hotel, rent a house or apartment instead. Airbnb has become incredibly popular and properties can be found almost anywhere in the world. You can communicate directly with the host and view other people’s reviews of the place, so you can feel completely comfortable about where you’re staying. These apartments are not always located in the center of the touristy area like hotels are, so you’ll get a real feel for a local neighborhood. You can also ask your host for recommendations on sights to see and places to eat.
Snap fewer photos
While you definitely want to document your experience, you’ll miss so many beautiful opportunities and experiences if you have your face glued to your camera or phone, snapping away at every single object you see. Get a few photos, but then take the time to enjoy what you’re viewing.
Try the food
No matter how foreign the food may be, at least sample it. It’s a fantastic way to have an authentic experience like the locals. You might find some new dish that you really enjoy and you can make at home.
Learn local customs
Whenever you go somewhere new, locals appreciate if you make an effort to familiarize yourself with their culture. Learn key phrases you can use to ask for directions, about food, or say “please” and “thank you”. Make sure you’re aware of any unique customs before your trip, so you don’t make any social mistakes. Even when you aren’t familiar with a culture, the best bet is to be generally respectful toward everyone you meet. You’ll look less like a tourist who is only concerned with seeing landmarks.
Take a tour with a local
Avoid sitting on a bus for a few hours and find a local who gives tours. Tour By Locals is a website that helps tourists find a local guide who can give them an in-depth tour of the city and not just a typical overview like most tour companies do.
Finally, the best thing you can do to get a genuine feel for a place is to wander wandered. Go to some of the must-see landmarks, but then take the time to explore the neighborhoods around them. Find a small, locally-owned restaurant that tons of people aren’t trying to go to. Sit in a park and just watch the people go by. If you wander aimlessly around a new city, you’ll feel more like a local.
Check out this website for local guides to some popular cities.