We should all travel as much as we can. Not only will it open our minds and clear our heads from the everyday grind but it will show us how beautiful and precious our little blue planet is. We can choose between travelling like a tourist or being a traveller. If a lack of time, laziness or fear of unknown is our issue, then it’s easier for us to travel like a tourist who buys a package from a travel agency, hops on and off the bus and follows a tour guide. But if you want to be a traveller, you will need to invest some time and effort. Here are some tips to help you travel like a local.
- Research the destination. Decide where you want to go and gather all the information you can on that city, country or area. You need to put time into preparation. Do your homework and research blog post of people who travelled there, read magazine articles, watch online videos covering that area.
- Decide ahead on what you want to see, places you want to visit and events you want to experience in your chosen destination. Make a list. For each item on the list (such as visits of museums, parks, festivals or landmarks etc.) write additional information on opening hours, entrance fees, distance from your accommodation so you can stay organized and schedule them into a detailed trip plan. If you want to go to a specific festival that takes place on Saturday, plan your museum visits on other days. Make sure you leave extra time for unexpected situations such as transportation delays and always have alternative program in case there is an employee strikes or bad weather.
- Find local friends. Not even the most knowledgeable tour guide will give you authentic, accurate and location-specific information. The best people to get that information from are the people who live and work there. Search social media for locals and befriend them, ask them for tips and guidance. Be nice and offer your help in case they travel to your hometown.
- If you don’t speak the language of your destination, learn some basic vocabulary and phrases. This will mean a world to the people of that country and instantly make them your new friends.
- Immerse yourself in the local culture – eat local food and drinks, use local public transportation, go to local restaurants, pubs, coffee shops or a library. By renting a room in somebody’s home instead of staying in the hotel you will a chance to chat over a cup of coffee with a local inhabitant.
The effort you put into your trip preparation will pay off by fantastic experiences, meny new possibilities to explore the world, new international friends and great memories that will stay with you forever.