To travel is to willingly put yourself in a foreign place. Seems like only a crazy person would do this, right?
Personally, I can’t stand being in one place for too long; after a while, I start to get the itch to travel and explore again – a sort of craving for new adventures. As it turns out, I’m not making this travel addiction up! Psychologists have confirmed it.
However, I don’t always want to have the typical “tourist” type experience. Sometimes, I want to experience a place like its everyday inhabitants do.
That’s why I put together a list of 5 ways to like a local when you travel.
- Start conversations with strangers: Talking to strangers in a foreign place can be intimidating, especially when there is a language barrier. However, when I travel, I often find myself talking to waiters and locals to see where the unlisted hidden treasures are. Sometimes you’ll stumble across a restaurant or shop tucked into a little hole in the wall. After all, Google doesn’t know everything…
- Get off the beaten path: There are some tourist attractions that are worth a visit (looking at you, il Colosseo and Musee du Louvre). But there are so many other great options no matter where you go. Try heading off the beaten path to see lesser-known sites; they might surprise you!
- Dine like the locals: Nothing gives you more local flavor than dining like a local! As an AirBnB host, I keep my guidebook up to date so that visitors know what local spots to dine at during their stay. Take a leap and bypass the chain restaurants for local fare.
- Stay open to new experiences: Sometimes (who am I kidding – most of the time!) travel doesn’t go as planned. Stay open to whatever experiences happen throughout your travels. Maybe your outdoor tour got rained out, but that gives you an opportunity to explore other indoor attractions.
- Immerse yourself in local culture: When I travel, my goal is to immerse myself in the local culture. This gives you the full flavor of a place. I visit local markets, small artisan shops, and lesser known museums and attractions. It just makes the experience so much more authentic and less “staged”.
What do you think? Do you have any tips for living like a local when you travel? If so, let me know in the comments below!