What better way to connect with your destination than by pretending you really lived there? Here are our tips on how to travel like a local!
Stay with a local
AirBnB, HomeAway, Couch Surfing, Home Stays - One of the best ways to travel like a local is to stay with one. Not only will this get you out of the tourist zones and into a neighborhood, but your host will usually have tons of information on their favorite places to eat, drink and hang out. They will often even take you themselves.
Travel to places where you know someone
Travel to places where you have a connection that will show you around or give you some tips. Meeting new people while traveling is a great way to gain friends from all over the world. Take advantage of those connections, to find the local hotspots!
If you want to travel like a local, you must actually travel like the locals. Use the bus system or take the subway!
Don't rely on tours
Tours can be a great way to experience a new site, learn about your destination and meet new people, but if you want a truly authentic experience you may want to look elsewhere. This is where trip planning can come in handy - sometimes it's better to create your own tour.
Learn local customs and at least some phrases
Do yourself a favor and research the local culture and customs before you arrive at your travel destination. Also, try to pick up a few simple phrases that will likely come in handy on your trip. You will be less likely to look like the lost tourist and the locals will be appreciative.
Ask locals for their favorite restaurant recommendations or head into the packed lunch spot with no tourists. This is a great way to get a taste for living like a local.
Don't hang out with tourists
Obviously it's great to make friends and you can meet some very interesting travelers, but if you want to travel like a local, try to befriend some locals.
Dress the part
Be aware of the local dress and act accordingly. This could mean getting a sense for the local customs, or just style.
Take some detours, go the long way back to your hotel, go for a run through town. Always be safe and aware of your surroundings, but don't be afraid to get off the beaten path when you feel like it.
Travel with Purpose
Want to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Travel to Brazil and train with the pros. Want to learn everything about wine? Book a stay in the Tuscan countryside of Italy. Want to learn to speak Spanish? Enroll in Spanish classes in Costa Rica. There are a million ways to travel with a purpose and it is one of the best ways to make an authentic connection with locals.