5 Tips to Traveling Like a Local

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If you want to really understand the heartbeat of a destination, you need to look beyond the biggest tourist attraction and travel like a local.

This means going where the locals go, eating what the locals eat, and generally just keeping yourself open to new experiences!

That’s not to say you should pass up all those things you’ve dreamt about, like posing for cheesy photos in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or seeing the Mona Lisa up close.

But traveling like a local is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. Here’s how to do it.

1. Read Local Independent Newspapers to Find Events

Attending local events is one of my best travel tips, and it’s easy to do.

No matter the size, most cities will have an independent newspaper (or several) to promote local social gatherings or arts events. These papers are some of the most valuable resources you can get your hands on.

Pick one up, see what’s going on in the city, and immerse yourself in the experience.

Another great way to see what’s going on is to search for your destination in Facebook Events. There’s a whole list of options right at your fingertips!

2. Use Apps and Websites, Like Showaround

I love using apps and websites to meet locals, especially great ones like Showaround. This company lets travelers connect with Showaround locals on their very own private tour.

They’re all about genuine, authentic experiences, and the locals you’ll connect with truly love their home. There’s a very good chance you’ll gain an awesome new friend in the process!

The app is also growing in the United States, but since they’ve started, they’ve amassed 60,000+ locals worldwide.  You can choose a like-minded local according to their personality and interests to guide you around the city.

Whether you’re looking to go bar hopping in Bangkok or find the best street food in Hanoi, a Showaround local will take you there.

3. Travel on Public Transportation

I’m a big believer that you should always be taking local transport in new cities or destinations. Not only is there that sense of “accomplishment” once you’ve figured out how to navigate the system, but you will literally be traveling as the locals do.

Plus you never know whom you’re going to encounter on the subway or public bus. It’s a prime opportunity for people-watching, or maybe even striking up a conversation with a local.

4. Go During the Low Season

Traveling during the low season is a great idea for so many reasons.

For one, prices are lower for accommodations and activities. You’ll find excellent deals and travel specials, and you won’t be competing with hordes of tourists for space.

But maybe most importantly, traveling during low season makes it’s so much easier to meet locals! Locals get exhausted and annoyed with the influx of travelers in their cities, like in Venice or Barcelona, where people have started taking action against the crowds and disrespectful visitors.

But locals are more open and friendly during the low season, so you’re much more likely to befriend a stranger while you’re going about your day.

5. Check Online Groups

Just like using Facebook to find events, you can also look for local groups that suit your interests. I had a friend that used a “Girl Gone International” Facebook group to organize an outing with some local expats in Berlin, and ended up making friends for life.

The same goes for other resources, like Meetup. Looking for a hiking or fitness group? There’s a good chance you’ll find one.

 With a little bit of creativity, anyone can travel like a local. Trust me, it’s worth the extra effort!

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