Each trip throws you with a choice, to be that money belt wearing tourist or being dressed up as person next door. Once upon a time, travelling used to be visiting museums, monuments, temples, churches, lakes, rivers, mountains, and valleys. I am glad that the world has moved on. Now travelling is an experience of culture, cuisines, outfits, arts, and lastly for all things traditional. A painting is same in every culture and geography, consisting of canvas, and brush strokes. They are merely defined by culture and lifestyle exhibited. So we have created a list for you, to enjoy your next trip like a local, which will sure come in handy.
Ditch your Map App – This is the first step to be more vulnerable and more outgoing. This will make way to talk with people, your tour guide, your cab driver, your hotel staff, or that friendly guy down the road. You have to decide if its tech trip or a local tour.
Find a place most local of them – Each city has a place where locals love to spend their time and it has an aura of local culture too. London has London Fields, and New York has Central Park. It will be an opportunity to lay back and get off your tourist hats.
Hop on a Local Transport – I bet you will get to know what locals talk about, how would they react to a pushy nudge, or what makes them annoyed most, how conservative they are, and by the time you figure it you will be talking to a local.
Prefer a home over a Hotel – Well you can do that with AirBnB or Couchsurfing. The neighbourhood of a house will be lot more local than what will be of a hotel. Walking out from a house will make you get treated like an insider, or with neighbourhood curiosity.
Thanks to Master Chefs all around the World that you can eat global cuisines at any place and any time. But that local twist in flavour you will get in probably street food, or locally renowned restaurant. Ditch the Michelin stars, and follow advice of a local to eat.
Travelers many a time treat a trip with shopping opportunity. Not a bad idea. But ditch these shining malls, and go to a local market. It can be Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, or Chandni Chowk of Delhi. Trust me immersing yourself in a new ethnicity is truly elevating.
Guys it’s okay to miss a sunset, but if I were on a trip I would never miss a folk fore show. How enriching they are. You might not understand every bit of it, but you can always share a common laugh and maybe think about it later. Curve of understanding isn’t that bad.
A little local dress will just make you indistinct from the locals. It could be a Sari in India, cowboy hat in Texas, or aKeffiyeh in Arab. In no time you will be one of them, sharing food, clicking pictures, and talking what matters most.
Learning should never end. Getting a little hang of a language of country you are visiting, is a great idea to travel like a local. The connection made by local language is way far than what you could achieve with a foreign handshake. Locals will never be closer than this.
Wake the Volunteer inside you – It could be cleaning of roads on a Sunday Morning, a marathon for Fund Raising, or food competition for eradicating hunger. Take part, you will feel on cloud nine, you will make friends, and you will feel like a true proud local.
You won’t feel local till you meet enough of Locals – Make best out of each opportunity, like cabin crew on airlines (especially if its local airlines of that country), taxi drivers, hotel staff, restaurant staff, tour guide, commute travellers, or even that food stall vendor.
Never be shy of throwing all your curiosity to a local you meet. You are going to amaze them by how interested you are. They will end up telling you more than you wanted to, and in mid of all this do we need to mention a long conversation is start of making new friends.
There might be bunch of things that irritate you, or might bring up anger in you. But when on a trip, try to be at peace, ignore it with a smile. A local might start off a little rude, but your calm will make him end with love. It goes long way.
Bid a farewell with a small gift – Preparation includes stuffing a little place in your bag with gifts like a popular country side music CD, or a keychain of opera house, etc. Give it to the local whom you have made bond with, and returns will be lifelong. Trust me.
Choose to plan your trip in off peak season. This is the best time for an immersive holiday. Tourists are less in number and locals have fewer phobias for them. Also all things that we mentioned will work best when practised off season.
Think Global, Live Local!