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
3 Key Phrases to Know When Eating Out in FranceComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
France’s culinary culture is incredibly rich and varied. One of the things I enjoy most when I visit France is dining out pretty much any chance I can get. However, enjoying a meal in a French restaurant comes with a set of social norms that many Americans are not used to (and most don’t take the time to learn). Set yourself apart from the other American tourists and impress your serveur/serveuse with your knowledge of étiquette française. These three phrases are easy to master and will go a long way toward improving your dining experience....read more
5 Tips for Avoiding Tourist TrapsComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
Let’s be honest, some tourist attractions are well worth experiencing, but others are simply a waste of time and money. Rest assured, even the most seasoned traveler falls prey to tourist traps from time to time (or perhaps I’m just speaking for this seasoned traveler). However, there are some tried and true techniques you can use to avoid tourist traps the next time you’re in an unfamiliar place. Here are my top five suggestions....read more
5 Tips For Learning a New LanguageComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
Learning a new language is never easy. Many beginners end up throwing in the towel. If you want to make picking up a new language a little bit more manageable and less of a tongue twister, here are five tips to follow that will have you blabbing in a new language in no time....read more
Extend Your Summer! @VisitFlorida Blogger Kara Franker Talks Ft. LauderdaleComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
Planning a Florida getaway CAN be as stress-free as your time spent on the sand. We asked pro wanderer and OneTravel Twitter chat co-host Kara Franker of Kara On the Coast to share her best summer packing tips, first travel experience, and what sets Ft. Lauderdale apart as a vacation destination....read more
7 Exciting Things To Do in Fort LauderdaleComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
Fort Lauderdale was once the spring-breaker’s go-to destination. While the city on the southeast coast of Florida still attracts those looking to soak up the sand, sun, surf and maybe a cocktail or two, the city is showing a different crowd another side. From historic homes to mermaid shows, Fort Lauderdale surprises with its rich natural scene, art and culture. You won’t want to miss these seven exciting attractions in town....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.