Meeting the LocalsPosted on Apr 13 in Travel Tipsby Samantha DeavinPrint
When we travel, it’s easy to stick to the well-trodden tourist path. But seeing attractions, monuments and visiting only the most famous beaches won’t give you a real feel for the character of a place or destination. The best way to really ‘see’ and get to know your holiday destination is to venture further than the guide book tells you, or steer away from the popular tourist haunts. Meeting the locals and hearing and seeing how their day to day lives operate will give you an insider’s view and unique holiday experience.
So how do you meet the locals?
- Make the most of connections or friends-of-friends. Today, it’s a small world. Everyone has a friend-of-a-friend living somewhere on the planet! When travelling, these are the connections you have to take advantage of. You might even get a place to stay out of it! Think of your favourite restaurant or place in your city. It’s likely that it’s not listed in any guide book, and this is the special ‘local’ knowledge you’ll be privileged to when you make the most of acquaintances or connections overseas.
- Avoid the tourist traps. Tourist spots are geared towards the tourist, and can often be gaudy and unauthentic. This defeats the purpose of travelling! So get off the tourist-path and see and visit out of the way places.
- Go to local events. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. No matter where your travels take you, getting involved in the local events and customs is the best way to experience difference cultures. Local sporting games, festivals, or just day to day activities are a great way to not only experience the lives of local residents, but meet them as well.
- Couch surfing. Couch surfing is a relatively new accommodation option when travelling, but the concept has caught on quickly. Couch surfing became popular in the mid 2000s and continues to gain momentum. Couch surfers move from couch to couch as they travel, as opposed to staying in hostels. Locals share their homes with foreigners, in the hope that when they travel someone will return the favour. Couch surfing is one of the best ways to meet locals and really see how they live. If you don’t have to worry about accommodation costs, you can also spend more on international and domestic flights.
If you’re travelling, then see the true flavour and culture of your destination by living like the locals do. You never know who you might meet!