Tips and tricks to live like a local on holiday
Getting off the beaten track and soaking up a completely different culture can transform your holiday into a truly life-changing experience. With limited time on your hands and language restrictions, this can sometimes be a little tricky to do. It’s often easier to stick with the hordes of other tourists and tick the main sights off your list then take a chance on a random town, an unknown delicacy or a lengthy train journey. To help you venture into the unknown we’ve compiled some top tips on how to live like a local overseas…
Eat local food
Sampling local cuisine is a must on your getaway. Often the most memorable travelling experiences involve unique and exciting local food – noodles in China, pad thai in Thailand, burritos in Mexico and gelato in Italy. A good bet is to head where the locals do and order a selection of dishes to share. If you have time why not sign up for a traditional cooking class where you can learn how to use exotic herbs and spices? Recreate signature dishes and impress your pals at dinner parties back home!
Use public transport
Live like a local and take public transport. It may be easier to hop on a plane in between destinations or to catch a cab on your way out at night, but this means that you’ll miss out on excellent people watching opportunities. Throw yourself into the hustle and bustle of everyday life in your destination and catch the bus instead. If you’re not sure where you’re heading, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Speak the language
The number one hurdle for many travellers is the language barrier, particularly if you are in a country like China or Russia where very few people speak English. Spend time before you head off learning some local phrases. “Hello”, “Thank you”, “Where is the station?” and “How much is it?” may bring you back to your school days but will inevitably prove useful on your trip. Knowing a few words of the local tongue also allows you to interact with your destination’s inhabitants. Buying a local newspaper each day helps you to practice your language skills, get an insight into what’s going on and fit in with the crowd.
A fantastic way to understand local culture and make new friends is to head to a festival. Think getting colour-bombed at Holi in India, drenched at the Songkran Water Festival in Thailand or dancing along at vibrant Carnival in Brazil. Festivals help us to understand the beliefs and traditions of countries we visit, as well as being a whole load of fun. Research what’s going on in your destination and see how you can fit this into your trip. It’ll undoubtedly make your getaway all the more meaningful.
Enjoy your own company
Use your holiday as an opportunity to do exactly what you want to do. Travelling with friends is always fun but chances are you see them all the time at home anyway. If there’s something you really want to do – a water sport you want to try, a park you want to visit, a class you want to take – don’t be afraid to break off from the group and go it alone. It’s worth being a little selfish and putting yourself first on your trip. Keep in mind our tips for solo travellers and remember, you don’t know when you’ll be back!
So there you have it, some pointers on how to have an authentic and enriched travel experience – to live like a local. Ditch the guidebook for even a few hours and see where you end up. Try some delicacies and speak with locals whenever you can to create unique memories to last a lifetime. Believe us, you won’t regret it!