Travelling is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It offers the chance to explore new places, learn about new cultures and meet new people. Not to mention all the fantastic foods out there to try! Whether you’re travelling across the country or the world, there’s so much to do and see. And sometimes, you don’t want to stand out like the tourist that you are. So, if you’re looking to feel more like a local and experience places in a different way, check out these ten ways to feel less like a tourist and more like a local.
- Research, research, research
So, starting your holiday with research might not sound like a tremendous amount of fun, but it is! Properly preparing before you go means that when you arrive, you can confidently smoothly navigate this new place. Make sure to look up the currencies you’ll need, any local rules and customs, and pick up tips on how to blend in. Effective research will make feeling like a local in a new place so much quicker. So, make some to-do lists and plan your next trip away.
- Learn the language
That doesn’t mean you should spend a year preparing for your trip, but swatting up beforehand can make life so much easier. Having at least a few phrases in your back pocket will help you get by, and learning some slang terms is a sure-fire way of making yourself feel more like a local. By all means, carry around a phrasebook, or download an app that can help, and try speaking the language. Before you know it, you’ll be haggling in markets and ordering food in the local dialect.
- Use local shops
Sometimes, it’s doing the ordinary, mundane things that make you feel most at home. So, to really get your feet under the table of a country, shop as the locals do. For some, that may mean visiting markets and experiencing all the sounds, smells and delights they have to offer. For other areas, that means grocery stores. Take a leap of faith and explore the local produce, and try new ingredients that are particular to the area that you’re in. By buying local, you’ll feel far less like a tourist and far more like a resident.
- Rent an apartment
Step away from the hotel. Moving away from a hotel and finding an apartment means you’ll immediately leave the touristy area behind, and so much of the city opens up to you. Plus, you’re more likely to mix with locals than tourists. Whether you’re in Texas or Taiwan, there are loads of ways of moving out of hotels and into houses. Whether you’re exploring rental Singapore spaces or checking our Airbnb in Malta, there are loads of opportunities out there.
5. Take a class
This may mean stepping outside of your comfort zone, but it’s a great way to feel more like a native. Choose something that interests you — like yoga, dancing or cooking — and you never know what you might learn. Taking a class somewhere will push you to see new places and interact with people that you might not have done otherwise.
- Make some new friends
Try taking yourself to a local bar or restaurant, and see if you can make friends with locals. This can be tricky — especially if there is a language barrier — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Making new friends from the area can help you feel like you know the place much better. They’ll be able to give you tips and tricks on how to get by, and might even introduce you to some new places to eat!
- Use public transport
Nothing screams tourist more than hopping in and out of taxis (except for a tourist bus, maybe). Enjoy the new perspective that you’ll get by taking a bus or train journey through new areas. While you’re off the beaten tourist track, you’ll get a feel for different parts of the place, and you can get a feel for the local way of life. And, it’s a great way to keep costs down while you’re vacationing.
- Eat local foods
Foods can tell you so much about a place and a culture. Step away from the chain restaurants you know and love, and immerse yourself in the foods of the place that you’re visiting. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to explore new areas, with a destination in mind. A little research is helpful, but getting tips from locals is your best bet. You can fully immerse yourself in the culture of the place by spending hours trying new foods — you may even pick up some recipes to bring home with you.
- Spend time in cafes or restaurants
This is key: people watching and soaking up the atmosphere will help you feel more at home in an unfamiliar place. You can build up your reputation (becoming a repeat customer somewhere never hurts, and getting a knowing smile can help with homesickness!) and maybe meet some new friends. Lunch is a great meal to try, as there’s less pressure than dinner, and you can spend more time enjoying people watching. You never know what you might see!
- Enjoy being a tourist sometimes
After all that, being a tourist isn’t a bad thing! You shouldn’t let wanting to blend in and feel more like a local can hold you back from experiencing some amazing things in the area you’re visiting. Make sure you don’t discount opportunities just because that’s what ‘tourists’ do — tourists will do them for a reason! So, give your permission to enjoy the things in the handbooks, as well as the things that will make you feel like you’ve lived there for years.
Hopefully, these tips will help you feel more like a local next time you go on vacation. Because it’s clear — being a tourist isn’t a bad thing, but doing what the locals do can make you feel at home quicker!