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How to Live Like a Local When Traveling

Whether you’ve arranged an independent vacation or are experiencing a new destination through group travel, it’s almost certain that one of the main reasons you’ve decided to pack your bags and leave familiar surroundings is to discover something different, new, and real.

Wherever your trail may lead, you’ll obviously want to plan an itinerary featuring famous sights and well-known cultural icons, and participating in an organized group tour that includes all the highlights is a great way to check the “must-see” attractions off your list. But even with a planned schedule, there is always some free time available, and you’ll want to make the most of it. With a little advance research, the expert advice of a professional travel agent, and a willingness to strike out on your own, you can find wonderful ways to live like a local when traveling.

Do Your Research - With Help

A savvy traveler knows that visits to the big sights almost always include a guided tour, a self-guided audio tour, or at the very least a guidebook. Use a travel agent to plan a vacation that has visits to these kinds of attractions included, either as part of your group motor coach itinerary or as pre-arranged add-ons to your independent vacation. Do a little advance reading about the main attractions you’ll be visiting, but allow yourself to discover them as you visit.

It's the “road less traveled” that you should focus most of your advance research and plan on. In addition to their expertise on famous things to see and do in a destination, our experienced professional travel agents are very well-traveled, so be sure to ask for insights on how to get off the beaten path. We can even arrange “out of the box” experiences to ensure you have the chance to meet and mingle with the locals and participate in authentic, non-touristy activities.

You should also pursue your research to find those magical opportunities to break away from the tourist mold on your trip. Find out where there is a local market close to your hotel. Shopping in a grocery or farmer’s market is a great way to mingle with locals going about their daily business. It can even be fun to wander the aisles of a big, modern supermarket in a far-flung destination. It’s fascinating to see the differences from home.

Google your way to authentic everyday life in your destination. You’ll find wonderful ideas to fill free-time outside of your planned activities. You certainly didn’t come all this way to hang around in your hotel room. Is there a local coffee house with a music event or poetry reading you can attend while visiting? Is there a small, family-owned café or restaurant around the corner from your accommodations? Is there a local dance school where you can learn the tango? Is there a local sporting event going on?

Ask the Locals

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” And you should. Ask the front desk clerk at your hotel for suggestions on places you can walk to where locals go for recreation. Be brave and take a ride on the local subway, and DO ask a local how to buy your ticket and how to navigate your way. Linger in a small shop and engage the owner in friendly conversation. And walk. Walk without a map. Get lost. Wander small, winding residential streets. Say hello to a resident out walking the dog.

The allure of travel is not just about capturing those selfies in front of world-famous landmarks. Talking, mingling, and meeting with the locals will enrich your experience and give you a real understanding and appreciation of a new culture. Contact us today to begin planning your travel adventures!

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