It’s that time of year again; you are sitting in front of your computer planning your next holiday. Where to go? It seems natural that the purpose of your vacation would be relaxation coupled with an experience of maybe a different culture.
The big problem is that everything is so expensive. You finally settle on a place, and try to get everything to fall within your budget.
Finally the day has arrived for you to leave, suit case in hand, camera steady over the neck, moon bag around the waist and off you go. STOP! Take a few steps back and check yourself in the mirror. You look like a tourist and a target to be taken advantage off.
To have a truly desirable travelling experience would be to embrace the destination you are traveling to, by being local.
Why do so many tourists feel the need to dress the part, as if they really want everyone to know that they are tourists? The secret to travelling like a local is first and foremost, STOP dressing up like a tourist. You know the type very well; they are hard to miss, in their khaki shorts, hiking shoes and camera around the neck. They might as well walk around with a big sign saying, “I will pay 10 times more than any other person, because I am a tourist.”
The secret to travelling like a local is to remain inconspicuous, so the first thing you need to do is to complete a full mirror check.
The next point to travelling like a local is to use public transport. Research the areas you are visiting and mark off the places and things you want to do and use their public transport to get around. The fare for a local and a tourist would pretty much remain the same.
Speak to the locals
Try to make a local friend, someone who can suggest places to shop, eat and visit. To experience the true culture of any given country, one only needs to hang out with and where the locals do.
Most tourists are afraid of trying out the authentic local cuisine and end up eating things that are “safe” or what they would find at home. This is pointless, firstly you will end up paying tourist prices and second, you are cheating yourself of the authentic experience.
Learn Local Language and Customs
Before leaving, try and learn about the local dress code and customs. Some countries are strict on what they allow, so don’t be caught in a situation where you find yourself been “spoken to.” Also learn a few words and phrases that may help you get around easier.
The new fad is to rent holiday rooms in peoples homes rather than staying in a hotel, if you don’t mind living with strangers, this is an excellent alternative, you automatically have a holiday family that will advise you on local places to visit, and chances are that the homes are generally not in the middle of the tourist attractions, but close enough to get around.
The secret to travelling like a tourist is to book your holiday during off peak season. There are many benefits to this; the more obvious ones would be cheaper rates and fewer tourists.
So, the secret to travelling like a local is in essence, to blend in, but remember that it is still your well deserved holiday, so let your hair down, fill your soul with the experience and enjoy every moment.