There’s a lot to soak in when you’re traveling, and it doesn’t matter where you go. From bustling cities to small beach towns, every place has its own unique culture.
Doing all that touristy stuff is a great way to have fun on vacation, but if you plan a trip that’s full of theme parks, hotels, and museums, you’re missing out on a huge piece of the experience. That’s because locals live very differently than tourists do.
Blur the lines between traveler and citizen and immerse yourself in a new culture by following these tips.
Stay In A Neighborhood Community
Hotels are convenient places to stay on vacation. They can be luxurious too. From shuttles to room service and restaurants on-property, it’s easy to see why travelers like bedding down in a hotel.
Unfortunately, they don’t allow you to feel like you’re really a part of the place you’re staying.
Instead, stay in a neighborhood community. For example, that might mean renting a villa in one of Dubai’s most popular communities, or it might mean staying in a guestroom inside someone’s home in Europe. You could look for a timeshare rental, or you could stay in a hostel. There are many options if you’re looking to feel like a resident in the community.
Avoid Chain Restaurants
Chain restaurants span the globe. It doesn’t mean they’re bad. After all, if a restaurant is successful in many different countries, you can bet that they serve good food! However, the cuisine is fairly similar, which means you won’t learn a lot about how the local food tastes.
It’s not just restaurant names you recognize either. Tourist trap restaurants can be found nearly everywhere, and although some have some good cuisine to offer, most serve overpriced, bland food.
Avoid the chain restaurants and look for locally-owned restaurants instead. A few signs that you’ve found a good place to eat include:
- Menus that are written in the native language
- Long lines that are filled with locals
- Small spaces with waiting lists
- Menu items are based on seasonal produce
Where do you head when you’re on vacation and you want to do a little shopping? Large shopping centers, malls, and outlets can be a lot of fun, but if you really want to remember your time on vacation, you should shop local.
There are a lot of reasons to buy local all year long. For example, it’s a great way to support the local economy at home, but it’s also a great way to support the local economy when you’re on vacation.
In addition to contributing to the local economy, local items that are sold by residents will carry more meaning compared to the big-name items you could get from stores you shop at when you are at home.
Look For Local Events
There are a lot of great things to do while you’re on vacation, but you aren’t likely to find very many residents at the art museum or on a city tour. Instead, they all convene for fun, local events.
Finding local events when you’re on vacation can be difficult. Download a few apps to search for events in the area before you leave, but don’t be afraid to ask around when you get there. From craft fairs to cultural events and farmer’s markets, you’ll be able to mix and mingle with local residents when you attend a local event.
Do A Little Cooking
Cooking on vacation is a great way to save money. You can plan ahead for recipes you can make on vacation, but if you want to fit in with the locals, you should wait until you arrive.
If you wait until you get there instead of packing a cooler, you’ll be forced to visit the local grocery store or farmer’s market. It will expose you to local ingredients and encourage you to ask locals how best to prepare them. You’ll save money and you’ll fit right in with the locals in the area!
You don’t need a full kitchen to cook a meal either. Microwaves and even coffee machines can be used to whip up a delicious meal.
When you’re planning your next vacation, don’t shy away from all the normal tourist haunts, but make sure you find ways to experience the local culture by living more as the residents do. It’s the best way to make the most of your time spent away from home.
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