If you’re anything like me, you love getting out of the bustling city center and experiencing how locals actually live when visiting somewhere new.
Here are some of my top tips on travel to any city through the eyes of a local.
1. Talk to Locals—Obviously, the easiest way to travel like a local is to meet the locals! Chat with your servers, waiters, and those sitting next to you at cafes and pubs. Not only will you be able to get insider tips on what to see and do, but you’ll also be able to get an understanding of what it’s like to live in the city that you’re touring.
2. Stay at out of the city center—Sure, staying further away from the city center may mean that it’s harder to visit some of the main attractions of a city, but you will be able to see how people really live. You’ll get to see grocery stores, families playing in parks, and you’ll even find local restaurants that you otherwise would have missed. Staying away from the main attractions is easy with AirBnB, and other lodging websites that offer apartments as one of their filters. Many AirBnB rentals are owned by true locals who can give you insider tips on what to see and do other than typical tourist attractions. Plus, you may stay in a neighborhood that you otherwise may have never experienced!
3.Take tours of a neighborhood—The best way to visit somewhere is to explore through the eyes of someone who lives in the neighborhood. Many popular neighborhoods have locals who give tours that take you behind the tourist attractions. You’ll be shown pubs, street art, and restaurants that are well off the beaten path where you can later visit and enjoy! A great way to find these tours is through AirBnB Experiences. I recently went on a photo tour of Notting Hill as a part of an AirBnB experience and saw so many gardens, beautiful homes, and boutiques that I never could have found on my own.
If you ever find yourself in London with two extra hours, I cannot recommend booking Soleil’s tour enough. She’ll tailor your time together to meet your specific interests and also take fabulous photos of your for keepsakes.
4. Utilize public transportation—By using public transportation (or walking!) you’ll see how inhabitants of the city get to and from work, the supermarket, and other routine activities. Beyond seeing the locals you’ll be able to make small talk with ordinary people—ask them for tips of the city you’re in! If the public transportation is above ground you’ll also be able to see more of the city, which is a huge plus.
5. Attend festivals—Find out if there are any local festivals happening when you will be in a city and go to them! Regardless if it’s a specific cultural holiday or a nationwide event, you’ll interact with a variety of locals and further your understanding of the culture of the region that you’re in. Plus, festivals usually mean sampling new food, and that’s always a major plus.
Bonus: bring back something that you love that isn’t necessarily a souvenir. Post cards and trinkets for friends and family certainly have their place, but consider bringing back an experience from the city that you visited. For example, learn how to make a traditional meal from the country that your visiting, or learn a skill that’s done by the locals, like surfing! Having these skills will be a great reminder of your travels every time you use them at home.
How do you travel like a local? Let me know in the comments!