The only way to really experience a new place is to explore it like a local. Sure, you can have fun on vacation when you do all the typical tourist stuff, but you’ll end up getting caught in every tourist trap, overspending, and having the same overrated experience that every other tourist gets. When you travel like a local, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in local culture and have the time of your life. Plus, you’ll actually save money! There’s really no reason not to try out authentic experiences on your next vacation. Here are five ways to start.
- Eat Local. You’ll inevitably go out to eat on vacation. Don’t stick with your favorite fast food chain, though, and don’t spend a ton on some fancy seafood place in the middle of Tourist Town. The best food comes from hole-in-the wall local eateries. You can usually find these places at the edge of major tourist areas, and they usually aren’t much to look at on the outside. The more tiny and random, the better!
- Ask a Taxi Driver. Taxi drivers know absolutely everything about the place they work. If you ask yours what locals do for fun, he’ll almost certainly be thrilled to teach you about his home town. Plus, he’ll be able to drive you to all the good places.
- Get Outside the Tourist Area. I live on an island that is extremely touristy. My neighborhood is a huge tourist center. It’s also pretty fake and nothing like the rest of the island. Here, you have to go inland to find what the locals like to do. There is a lot of stuff there that is way cooler than the casinos and bars! Every place is different, but you can usually figure out how to exit the attractions if you do your research.
- Take a Bus. Obviously, this is not advisable in certain areas of the world. But generally, taking a bus is a great idea! You can always meet locals on the bus, and you can follow the line to see what they do and where they go. You might even consider holding off on a car rental for a day or two, just so you can take the bus and get to know the area from a local’s view.
- Play Outside. Just like you when you’re at home, locals in any given area don’t have endless flows of cash to do theme parks and tours. What do people do instead? They play outside, of course! Go find a place to get into nature. Whether it’s the beach, the lake, the woods, or the park, you’ll find plenty of local activities to try.
This list is just a start—there are so many ways to travel like a tourist! Commit to trying at least one of these on your next trip and see the difference it makes. Do you have any tips of traveling like a local? Comment below and let us know what you do!