Visiting top tourist attractions are most likely on everyone’s travel itinerary. We all want to see the sites we’ve read and heard about over the years. While visiting these sites be sure to make it a well-rounded holiday by spending a little time gaining insight into how the locals of the area live. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
Use Public Transportation
You might find it easier to Uber or book a car service when traveling around an unfamiliar place, but by doing so you miss out on the real flavor of the culture. Taking the time to learn the local public transportation system is a great way to really immerse yourself in the daily routines of the locals. Don’t be afraid of getting a bit lost along the way, you can always just get off and get right back on again.
Learn the Language
You don’t need to necessarily make an investment in Rosetta Stone (unless, of course, you want to) but it’s a great idea to at least learn a few words and phrases in the language of the countries you visit. It will not only help you get the feel of living locally but it’s also good “travel etiquette” when you’re a guest in another country. If you are traveling with kids then it’s a great way to expose them to another language. We always like to have our kids take turns being in charge of learning a few key phrases for the country we are about to visit. We then will call upon them for a particular phase that’s needed. It’s a great learning experience for adults, as well, as children.
Ask the Locals for Suggestions
One of our favorite “side-line” excursions was on a trip to Ireland while driving the Ring of Kerry. During a quick stop at a gift shop, the owner told us about a little known off shoot of the Ring of Kerry that the tourists don’t know about. He pulled out a map and showed us how to drive onto the ferry and take this recommended detour. He also mentioned an ice cream shop on this route that he said was reason enough to make the trip. So off we went on this mini adventure. With all the research I do before leaving on holiday I would have never found out about that delightful route without chatting with a local, and yes, the ice cream was amazing!
Book A Home Exchange
One of the best ways to truly get the local experience is by booking a home swap, living in local’s home is a great way to experience he local culture. A popular option is International Vacation Home Exchange. They offer non simultaneous home swap to their members, which is a convenient booking option.
Visit the Local Grocery Store
I always love stopping into local grocery stores on holiday. It’s a great way to experience what’s grown locally or to find out about some of the local cultural favorites. You can watch other shoppers for what types of items they are purchasing or ask the owner for suggestions. They are usually more that happy to teach you about their cultural dishes.
I’d love to hear about a living-like-a-local travel experience you’ve had by leaving a comment in the section below. Hopefully these tips will help you add a little local flavor to your next holiday experience but remember that to truly fit in with the locals you’ll unfortunately need to leave your selfie stick at home.
Thank you Travel Writer Lisa Medeiros. Follow her on Twitter @lisamedeiros_
As Published in IVHE.com 8/6/16