Affordable flights have made travelling accessible to just about anyone. And with all the information we need at our fingertips via the internet, finding out about places on the well-trodden tourist tracks is easier than ever before. But cheap travel and lots of information don’t necessarily mean you’ll discover a place for yourself. And your trip of a lifetime may never venture beyond the cliché sights and sounds listed in all the guide books.
But what if you lived your holiday like a local? What if you experienced a place as it’s really meant to be? HolidayLettings.co.uk suggests some easy ways to step outside the travel guides and see your destination with a local’s eyes.
Before you go
Learn the lingo – getting to grips with a few basic phrases can make the difference between appearing to the locals as someone with a genuine interest in their culture or just another tourist. Having a go at the local language is always warmly received and you may find your attempts open doors normally closed to tourists.
Make some contacts – use the vast online travel network to your advantage and get in touch with people who live in the place you’re visiting. Use insider knowledge for on-the-ground tips and advice before you arrive and help when you get there.
When in Rome – spend some time reading up on local etiquette to reduce your chances of making those classic tourist faux pas. Check what tipping norms are. Learn how to greet people. And find out what types of behaviour are acceptable.
Live local – forget hotel accommodation and go for a holiday let. This gives you the chance to live in a local area, buy your food in neighbourhood shops and get a feel for real life. Better still, rent a property typical to the area like a canal boat in Amsterdam or a cave dwelling in Guadix in southern Spain.
When you’re there
Dress the part – find out what’s acceptable to wear and what’s not. Give a wide, wide berth to garments that shout ‘I’m a tourist’.
Get off the beaten track – leave your tourist map behind in your holiday let and walk or cycle wherever your feet take you. What you see might not be in the travel guide but it’s bound to be interesting.
What’s on – find out what’s happening locally. Pick up flyers, read noticeboards, comb the local newspapers and entertainment guides, and then go to that concert, play, exhibition, conference…
Get them talking – chat to the locals for an insight into real life in the place you call holiday destination and they call home.
Bon appetit! – find out what the local specialities are and try them. Eat beyond the tourist menus and sample the real cuisine. And then cook it for yourself with produce bought at local markets and food stores.
And when you get home, surprise everyone with your photos and tales of that well-known tourist destination from a completely different perspective – that of a local.
TravellingBuzz.com wish you happy and safe travels!