Travel in itself, is probably one of the most rewarding experiences in life. It gives you a peak into a way of life that’s totally different from your own. You get to immerse yourself in many new experiences, try new cuisines, meet new people, and see new places. The key to a beautiful and memorable experience, is traveling like a local.
Well, you have heard it time and again; do as the locals do. This means that you should stay where locals live, eat where the locals eat, dress like the locals, and go where the locals go. It is great advice, but if you are in a new and unfamiliar place, it is easier said than done. Fortunately, we have compiled some tips for you on how to travel like a local:
- Dress Like a Local – First, do some research on what/how the locals wear. For instance, find out if the local culture is a bit more modest than yours. If it is, make sure you keep your knees and shoulders covered. Also forget the khaki bermudas and safari vest, and do not wear the camera like some permanent necklace. Instead, only take it out when you actually want to take pictures .
- Sleep Like Locals – Consider trading your hotel room for a nice apartment. Remember to choose the neighborhood wisely, so that you can enjoy a more authentic experience. If you are the more adventurous type, home renting services like Airbnb offer places to stay pretty much anywhere you want; this gives you a great opportunity to not only live like locals, but also meet the locals.
- Explore With a Local – Locals offer a great perspective you will likely not receive from the mainstream tour operators. Moreover, they will show you some of their favorite spots, like a great locals only pub with nice and cheap drinks, hidden spots with the spectacular views, among others.
- Learn a Few Key Phrases – Try and learn a bit of the local language prior to traveling. Mastering a few key phrases like greetings (hello), apologies, thank you, excuse me, yes, no, numbers, directions, food and drink items, will go a long way. Even if you are not perfect with their language, and you make mistakes, the locals will greatly appreciate your effort, and will easily warm up to you.
- Be Flexible – Travel is best enjoyed when you go with the flow. Having rigid plans might make you miss out on experiencing or seeing something unique and special. Having a plan is good and will help you maximize your time, however, you should have some flexibility. At times, it pays to create some space in your schedule for any unexpected events or surprises.