As I looked up to a stretch of sky I couldn’t place, surrounded by locals, towering bluffs and a refreshing swimming hole, it seemed as though I found a place a traveler wouldn’t be able to discover alone, a slice of local living.
Travelers often search for the local experience, following the advice of those who have rich cultural experiences. What they don’t tell you is traveling like a local or obtaining the local experience when you travel is easier said than done.
If you have always wondered how those travelers meet locals and have these colorful exchanges, you are not alone. Here are a few ways I have learned how to meet locals and find local spots that tourists can’t always find.
Do a homestay—Couchsurfing has since replaced this option. While this can be a good way to meet a local, it doesn’t always work for the traveler looking to stay longer than a few days. A homestay is a great way to interact with locals and their friends. Whether you sign up for a language school or you are a student studying abroad, if there is a homestay option with a local family, jump into the idea. The more private person may worry about the decision, but your local interactions will be forced upon you and you won’t regret it.
Talk to your waiter/waitress—While traveling, you are probably constantly eating. As you relax with a good meal and perhaps a great drink, you might feel more comfortable talking with your waiter or waitress. These locals are so accessible to the traveler and usually have a local tip on a place you wouldn’t know otherwise. If you just order your meal, you have missed a simple opportunity to have a local exchange and perhaps even discover a local hotspot.
Learn a Language—When you don’t speak the local tongue of the country you are visiting, you might feel a bit like a turtle. You will crawl into a shell of your own local tongue and fail to speak with locals. Enrolling in a language school for a week or two in a destination can be your ticket to local experiences. Being able to communicate or just trying to communicate will present more exchanges with those who call your destination home.
Attend a local market—Markets aren’t exclusive. There usually isn’t an entrance fee or card you have to flash, unless you are heading to Costco. Most cities and towns have local markets at least one day of the week. Much like talking with your waiter, a conversation with a vendor over the price of peaches could turn into a series of suggestions of where you must go and more importantly, where you must eat.
Get uncomfortable—The best way to find local secrets and to interact with locals comes not from doing some set activity, but from opening up the mind. If you close yourself off in an all-inclusive resort or you only talk to travelers at your hostel, you aren’t opening up your mind for local exchanges. It can be easy to sink into the comforts of home when you find them far, far away from home. Get uncomfortable with your mind and step outside your home mentality. You never know what will meet you on the other end.
How do you find local experiences when you travel?
I really like the talk to your waiter/waitress tip--that is so easy to do, and those people really are so accessible to you!
Get new posts delivered by email:
Top Travel Deals on RSS
5 Smoke-Free U.S. Cities to VisitComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
As a parent, I appreciate places where I can bring my kid without having to worry about second-hand cigarette smoke. Smoke-free cities have no-smoking laws that apply to restaurants/bars, workplaces, public buildings/grounds and city parks (as well as other areas around the city). The cities on this list also have extensive anti-smoking campaigns, as well as programs to help people stop smoking. In celebration of The Great American Smoke-Out, here are five of the most smoke-free U.S. cities to add to your list of places to visit....read more
3 Winter Festivals To Attend in Puerto RicoComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
Puerto Rico might be on your radar for sunshine and palm trees, but it shouldn’t be counted out for a winter getaway. There might not be snow softly falling on pine trees, but the island gets into the spirit of winter with a number of celebrations. If you are in need of a winter escape, try Puerto Rico, specifically to attend one of its lively winter festivals....read more
5 Fascinating New Zealand MuseumsComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
There are plenty of reasons to visit New Zealand – the natural beauty, diverse cultures, and unique cuisine being a few of them. New Zealand is also home to world-class museums where visitors can learn more about art, history and even sheep farming! Here are five to check out....read more
A Dinner Table Mouthful! How to Say 'Bon Appétit' in 15 Languages Across EuropeComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
The French phrase, “Bon appétit,” is often used as a substitute for the lack of an English phrase of the same meaning. While you might hear, “Enjoy your meal,” Bon appétit is one of the most common ways of greeting someone before they chow down. As most of the country gets ready to have a Thanksgiving feast, in case you have a few at your table who don’t speak English or French for that matter, it is useful to know how to wish someone a good meal in some of France’s neighbors. Here’s how to say essentially, “Good appetite,” in 15 European languages....read more
Switzerland Celebrates 150 Years of Winter TourismComments: 1Rating: 0 / 0
Mention Switzerland and most people immediately dream of skiing in the snowed Alps. And that’s just as many folks from there would like you to think of their beautiful home. Indeed, there’s consensus among the Swiss that their country is the original destination for cold weather fun — and that this coming season marks the 150th anniversary of winter tourism....read more
California: CST #2090295-40, Nevada: SOT #2007-0081, Iowa: SOT #883, Washington: SOT #6027859380010001
Some of the content posted herein are the views and opinions of the individual blogger's and do not represent the views and opinions of OneTravel. It may be the case that OneTravel is partnering with a particular travel supplier mentioned in a blog post, however, all views and opinions expressed herein by parties other then OneTravel are by the respective bloggers.
© 2014 W K Travel, Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright for all material appearing on this website is owned by W K Travel, Inc. Persons accessing this website are authorized to view and print material from this website for information purposes only. Any other use of this material is restricted to non-commercial purposes and must include this copyright notice.
W K Travel Inc. owns the following Trademarks and Servicemarks appearing on this website:
OneTravel, OneTravel.com, and 1Travel. Trademarks and servicemarks for all other products and services appearing on this website are the trademarks and servicemarks of their respective owners.