Forget vacationing like the 1%, the best way to truly submerge yourself in a destination is to live like a local while you’re there. Thankfully, you don’t have to be rich to do so! In fact, vacationing like a local typically save money, all while providing a more authentic experience. To truly know a place, you need to experience it like a local. Most locals don’t spend their time at fancy beach resorts or hidden spas, and so to truly get to know a place you need to find out where locals do spend their time. Here are 9 travel tips that’ll have you vacationing like a local and getting more out of your travel experiences.
#1. Ditch Hotels for Airbnb, HomeAway, etc.
Hotels are for tourists, and you’re trying to vacation like a local. Sites like HomeAway and Airbnb grant you access to homes all around the world available for short-term vacation rentals. Staying at someone’s real home takes you out of the tourist trap and into the real day-to-day life of locals. Sure, you might have to wash your own towels and forfeit room service, but as a result, you get to experience things you never could in a hotel.
#2. Contact Locals Ahead of Time
Thanks to the awesome world of social media, you can find an entire list of people that live in an area with a simple search. Once you find some suitable options, directly contact them to say you’ll be in their area and are looking for recommendations from locals. You never know, they might agree to meet up with you and give you a non-touristy tour of their town. Make sure to let them know if they ever travel to your neck of the woods, you’re there to help them travel like a local too.
#3. Take Public Transportation & Talk to Your Uber/Cab Driver
Trains, buses and underground subways offer a uniquely authentic feel of a city. Public transportation gives you a chance to see locals going to work, running errands, and just living life. An Uber is another form of transportation that offers local insights. Don’t sit in awkward silence, ask your Uber driver questions about how long they’ve lived in the area, what they like to do, and popular local hotspots that most tourists don’t know about.
#4. Skip Touristy Restaurants for Authentic Cuisine
Instead of eating at touristy restaurants, find out where the locals eat and go there instead. Don’t stick with your favorite comfort foods, try local dishes you might not otherwise get a chance to try. Ask local patrons and waiters for suggestions that are popular amongst locals.
#5. Adventure Sports with Locals
Find out where locals go to ski, surf, fish, etc. Connect with people online before you leave or make friends while you’re out there to learn even more about how your sport of choice is conducted ‘round these parts. Chances are, you’ll learn something new that isn’t practiced where you’re from.
#6. Travel During Off Season
Traveling during off season puts you in crowds of locals as opposed to tourists just like you. This will make you feel like less of tourist, plus you’ll find better deals when demand is down.
#7. Sit Back & People Watch
Find a place off the tourist track to sit back with a coffee, or your beverage of choice, and watch locals as they go about their day. People watching offers a lot of insights about a place, along with its customs, cultures and behaviors.
#8. Wander as Much as You Can
Go exploring without a plan and you never know what you’ll uncover about a place. Do some research ahead of time and bring a map or your smartphone so that you don’t get too lost. Safety is important, but don’t be so cautious that you get stuck on the beaten path. Part of the adventure is never knowing what you’ll discover.
#9. Come Prepared with Your Cargo Hitch Carrier
The Vault Cargo Hitch Carrier attaches to any vehicle and adds 500 pounds of hauling capacity on a compact 60” x 24” platform. Part of living like a local is having everything you need, and this heavy-duty platform offers just that and then some. Learn more about the Vault Cargo Hitch Carrier