As you plan your travels for 2018, may we make a suggestion? Instead of doing the classic “tourist” trip, make 2018 the year you travel the world like a local. When you throw the guidebooks aside and explore your travel destination like a native, you will experience the area in a whole new way. Even if you have visited a city a dozen times, this new approach will help you to rediscover the locale with new eyes.
Have a Local Friend
Probably the best way to experience a travel destination like a local is to have an inside man (or woman!). A friend familiar with the area is an invaluable resource when exploring a new area. If you don’t have a local friend before you plan your trip, make one once you are there! Find a friendly local who is willing to show you around, and make use of their expertise. As a last resort, try hiring an experienced local travel guide to take you off the beaten path.
Live Like a Local
While we love a four-star hotel, when you want to travel like a local, you should live like a local. Renting a home will make you feel more assimilated into the local culture than a large resort ever could. Check out luxury home rentals in the area for an authentic experience.
Travel Like a Local
Think about how you get around your hometown. When is the last time you used a tour bus to travel to your destination? Then why do you rely on them when you travel? Instead, make use of public transportation or local taxi and ride share services. The bonus to this means of transportation is that the driver likely has a wealth of knowledge about the area. Pick his or her brain about local favorite spots for entertainment and dining.
Eat Like a Local
Perhaps the best restaurant in your travel destination is a Michelin-starred French restaurant, but, unless you are traveling to France, you aren’t going to get a real taste of local cuisine there. Plan to take some of your meals in restaurants featuring local fare. In fact, inexpensive street food may give you the most authentic experience of all! We made a list of the best local food favorites around the world here.
Socialize Like a Local
Nothing will make you stand out as a tourist more than wandering around with a gaggle of people from your own country. Either diversify your travel group to include locals, or consider travelling solo. Exploring a new destination by yourself is a thrilling and invigorating experience.
Dress Like a Local
Before you pack your suitcase, do a bit of research on the local climate and fashion trends. Avoid obvious tourist accessories like huge backpacks and bulky cameras. Once you are “camouflaged” as a local, you will blend in much more easily.
Explore Like a Local
Finally, instead of bee-lining from one attraction to another, build in enough time to explore neighborhoods. Wander into small shops, spend some time in local parks, and enjoy the architecture of everyday homes. Use your phone to navigate your way around, and you may stumble upon some hidden treasures!
Have we convinced you to travel the world like a local in 2018? We think you will enjoy the new experiences you will have when you change your approach to exploring new places. Here’s to the plethora of adventures that await in 2018!