There is a time and place to initiate full on tourist mode but there is also a time when you want to live like a local and travel like a local, and no you don’t have to apply for a visa and literally move countries to experience the local life. All of these tips can easily be done during a quick one week vacation or even a weekend getaway.
Here’s 7 ways you can travel like a local…
Go During Low-Season
I personally prefer to travel during the shoulder-seasons as you not only get the discounted rates but the weather isn’t the polar opposite and tours are still running. However, if you really want to skip all the tourists and see what a town is truly like when they aren’t flooded with travellers then head out during low season.
As a bonus, you are probably more likely to get time off when everyone else isn’t requesting it.
Live Like a Local
For a lot of people, this could be a little bit out of your comfort zone if you aren’t used to couch-surfing. However, you do not have to sleep on a randoms couch to get the experience. Simply trade in your hotel room for an apartment or AirBnB that’s out in the suburbs rather than the touristy areas.
This way you can live in a locals house, shop at the nearby grocery stores and get a real feel for a living city.
Skip the International Bars
As fun as being an Australian and heading to an Australian bar that is filled with Australians sounds, it’s the main reason I left to travel – to get away from Australians. I want to see other cultures, so being able to head to a local hang out spot that isn’t filled with people who are exactly the same as me is a bonus.
Travel Like A Local
Like literally, get around the city or town on modes of transportation that a local workers commute would use. Jump on a bus or tram instead of those big red double decker tourist busses.
Learn the Local Language
With so many countries and dialects around the world we totally understand if you just want to opt into learning a few key phrases. We always recommend learning greetings, apologies and thank you’s as well as being able to ask for directions.
I feel like there is a bit of a trend going on here: live, eat, travel. This time we suggest you trade in your hotel restaurants and fast food chains and instead look for local food vendors or mum & pop shops that don’t have lines out the door filled with “I Love NY” tops.
Whilst you are there do some research or ask around about what the local dishes and cuisines are and then jump on Zomatoe and find the best place in town that serves those dishes.
Or just cheat – Download an App
Okay, okay we are definitely guilty of doing this one. We had a trip to China organised at very late notice and didn’t have any time to take Mandarin classes, but enough time to jump on the App Store to get the Google Translate.
There are offline translation features available but if you want to fully use all the features, grab a local sim card. Though not perfect, still revolutionary and helped us so much, even when I was just asking for some sugar for my coffee.
Still want to use an app and not cheat? We honestly cannot recommend Duolingo enough. It actually makes learning a language very fun!
Win 1 of 10 Urban Adventure Tours
We have teamed up with Urban Adventures to give away not just one but 10 of their new “Locals on Tap” tours that are now available in over 50+ destinations around the globe. We have personally been on a number of their tours while travelling through Canada, Vietnam and Cambodia and we highly suggest checking them out!
The whole idea behind “Locals on Tap” is for those travellers who head to a new and strange city and don’t know where to start. Rather than just going on a food tour to see what’s great to eat, you also have an intro session as well as a city meet-up included in your tour. That way you can make some new friends abroad on top of being shown the best places by a local.
How to enter? Just use the Gleam app below or head to their giveaway page. We have given you guys a bunch of ways to enter, just follow the links below and check back every 24 hours to add more entries into the mix.
Enter to win one of 10 “Locals on Tap” tours by Urban Adventures.
Thanks to Urban Adventures for supporting Flying the Nest, as always our opinions are our own.