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How to Experience a Place like a Local

June 9, 2022 in Travel Guide

When you travel, do you want to see the sights and sounds of the city or country you’re visiting? Or do you want to check off a list of tourist traps?

If you’re looking to avoid the tourist traps and immerse yourself in the culture of your chosen destination, look no further. These seven tips will have you experiencing a place like a local in no time. In addition, these tips will help you navigate any new city like a pro, from finding the best food to exploring off the beaten path.

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Top seven tips for experiencing a place like a local

1) Do your research

Before you go, read up on your destination’s culture, norms, and traditions. Then, find out what the local hot spots are. The best way to do this is to ask people who have been there. Travel forums are a great place to find the best places to go and what not to miss. Also, if you know someone in the city you plan to visit, talk to them. Locals are your best source of information when finding a hidden gem or something off the beaten path. Again, you’ll get the inside scoop on what not to miss and where to find it.  

Do your research to experience a place like a local
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2) Take a trip in a different season

Most people visit cities in the summer when it is hot and humid. The locals know it is not nearly as crowded in the fall or winter months. As a result, you can get fantastic deals on hotels, flights, and car rentals. This also means you can spend more time in local attractions and explore hidden ones without navigating crowds.

Take a trip in a different season to experience a place like a local
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3) Don‘t get caught up in the hype

There are plenty of places to visit, things to do, and restaurants to try that are off the beaten track. For instance, Bogliasco is a beautiful postcard destination not often visited in Italy.

Don't get caught up in the hype
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

4) Use public transportation

It is cheap, but it’s also an easy way to get around and see the city from close quarters without driving or parking. After all, this is how most locals commute in the city. Depending on the city, you can travel in the local shuttle buses, trams, ferries, trains, and boats by buying a day pass or a weekly pass.

Use public transportation to experience a place like a local
Image credits: Unsplash

5) Eat at ethnic restaurants

In most cities, ethnic restaurants or eateries that serve local food are affordable. Eating local food like the locals is a great way to experience a new place. It’s also a great way to expand your palate.

For instance, many restaurants in Greece, such as taverns, ouzeries, and mezedopoleia, serve local delicacies such as moussaka, pastitsio, souvlaki, etc., gyros, tiropita, spanakopita, and dolmades. In Leh and Ladakh (India), you can experience the traditional way of eating local specialties such as Thupka, butter tea, and Khambir.

Eat at ethnic restaurants to experience a place like a local
Image credits: Unsplash

6) Take advantage of free events

By taking advantage of free cultural events in a place, you can meet new people and explore new places simultaneously. This is also the best opportunity to learn about the local culture and customs. Some events to explore include street fairs, concerts in parks, dance and music festivals, art exhibits, and cultural fairs.

Take advantage of free events to experience a place like a local
Image credits: Unsplash

7) Do a walking tour

Walking tours are the perfect way to get a sense of a city’s history, culture, and architecture.

There are walking tours for every city in the world. So whether you are interested in history, food, art, or architecture, there is a tour. And the best part is that most walking tours are accessible or affordable.

Here are some of the walking tours around the world to explore:

  • Street Art Tour, Berlin – This tour takes you through the vibrant streets of Berlin, where you’ll see some of the best street art in the world.
  • The Royal Mile, Edinburgh – This tour of the most famous street in Edinburgh, which is home to historical landmarks and charming shops.
  • Florence, Italy – On this cultural walking tour, you will have the opportunity to view some of the most impressive Renaissance artwork in the world. Uffizi Gallery is home to pieces by da Vinci, Raphael, and Botticelli, and the Florence Duomo, with its iconic dome, is a must-see. You will also see Michelangelo’s original ‘David statue, located in Florence.
Do a walking tour to experience a place like a local
Image credits: Unsplash

These are a few things to keep in mind when traveling if you want to experience a destination as a local would. First, avoid tour groups and stick to smaller restaurants and shops. If you’re feeling adventurous, try Couchsurfing or Airbnb – both offer excellent opportunities to get to know a city or town from a local perspective. You can also find great tips, itineraries, and advice on Travel-Wise, so check it out!

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