Being a tourist is nothing but a pleasure, but what if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture?
Visiting all the top tourist attractions is, beyond any doubt, something that most avid travelers want to checkmark on their to-do travel list, but sometimes you get to leave behind those small gems that make that place a magical one.
You probably know that sensation when you feel you belong to a particular place, but this can be debatable. If you allow yourself to get absorbed into the culture of a new destination, you’ll most probably feel like a local. So, what if instead of buying a souvenir, you’d diversify your collection with something much more valuable – experiences?
Discover how you can have a more profound connection to the places you visit:
Use public transportation
Whether you have numerous trips or not, you should know there’s no better way to connect to the local culture than taking public transportation. This is an essential part of each local’s routine, so you must go through this experience to truly understand how life’s going in places other than yours. It is also a cheap method to get around and see more diverse parts of the destination. It’s also an excellent way to do some sightseeing between different tourist spots. However, you should do your homework beforehand; depending on the city you visit, there can be different ways of approaching public transportation. Some cities may require a metro card, while others do not. Besides, it would be helpful to know the route maps in advance so that it won’t take hours to figure out where the next train or bus heads.
Try the local cuisine
Diving into the local cuisine is undoubtedly a one-of-a-kind experience you should try. Maybe the idea of eating something unknown isn’t compelling, but think about the experience! It’s just not a complete trip if you don’t try the local meals. For example, if you travel to Italy, tasting Tuscan wine, Polenta, sheep’s cheese, and olives is a must. And don’t worry if some tastes don’t align with your preferences – at least you tried. Maybe after the second attempt, that particular food will be delicious (it’s all about acquiring the taste). If you’re heading to the North Pole, ensure you try the Swedish surströmming, a fermented herring that, for most people, might be disgusting, but if you develop the palate for it, you’ll probably ask for seconds.
Participate in local activities
Visiting museums or other tourist attractions might be fun, but traveling is much more than that. In fact, it’s a “say yes” game with one winner: you. We know that there are a lot of fears and doubts regarding adventuring into the unknown, but who knows? Maybe this unknown will become the new “familiar”. Everything from hiking for ten kilometers in the French Alps and riding a zipline to a simple street exploration should be on your travel bucket list. Our advice would be to do thorough research on the activities that destination is famous for. You should also look for events involving locals to get into that particular culture’s spirit.
Some places are also known for their vibrant festivals and music events, so if you’re curious about how other people like to party, you should participate in such events. This is cultural immersion that not many travellers do, but be sure it will get you out of your comfort zone.
If you decide on exploring the streets of that destination, it’s indicated to watch where you step. Since it’s an unknown destination, it’s not excluded that you can get injured in public places. Such fortunes are quite common and are known as slip and fall accidents. In this situation, it’s not recommended to ignore and move on, especially if you’re hurt. Even if you’re in a foreign country, inform yourself about what has to be done in this regard. You may be eligible for compensation, so taking measures to do yourself justice is imperative. We also advise you to make a compensation calculation in the UK to get an idea about the amount you can receive for your damage.
Shop from the local markets
If you want to travel like a local, you must stay local. So, regardless of where you’re in the world, consider taking a look at the richness of local groceries or markets. Each place has its own products that are worth tasting and also its own atmosphere. Our hint would be to get to know that atmosphere at the nearest local shop. And who knows? Maybe you will discover your new favorite treat! If you plan to stay in that place for an extended period, purchasing your groceries early in the morning for a fresher taste would be advisable.
Markets are also an excellent place to buy local artworks since numerous artists showcase their works there. Maybe these are not rare pieces, but they are great memories to take with you back home. Take going to the grocery as an opportunity to get familiarised with the locals’ lifestyle and dare to purchase unfamiliar products: if you don’t try, you’ll never know! And do you know what’s great? It’s way more affordable to shop from local groceries than to spend a fortune in supermarkets, especially in a place like Switzerland, where it’s expensive even to take a breath of air.
Head to where the tourists aren’t
You’re probably dreaming of being surrounded by locals when traveling to your next destination, and you’d probably be if you don’t go during the tourist season. Some places tend to be overcrowded during some periods of the year, so it’s best to inform yourself before booking your flight. Santorini, Barcelona, and Venice are great places to visit, but ensure you do this when there is no cruise ship season because you risk being surrounded by tourists rather than locals.
You can take your trips to the next level if you consider some simple practices. We hope our recommendations will help you achieve your dream of being a local in a foreign place.