How to Live Like a Local No Matter Where You Travel

Whether you’re staying in a rental home or sleeping at an adults-only resort while you’re on vacation, you don’t need to stick out like the sore tourist you are. In fact, attempting to blend in with the locals and embrace their culture is actually a better way to travel safely and walk away with a more memorable experience. Speaking of resorts, we love this Jamaica all inclusive resort, best place to spend a vacation.

If you’re ready to try traveling like a local instead of a cliché tourist, here are a few ways you can do that while still maximizing your vacation’s fun and affordability.

Whether you’re staying in a rental home or sleeping at an adults-only resort while you’re on vacation, you don’t need to stick out like the sore tourist you are. In fact, attempting to blend in with the locals and embrace their culture is actually a better way to travel safely and walk away with a more memorable experience.

Don’t Dress Like a Tourist

Let’s be real: a fanny pack, shorts, and a baseball cap are the equivalent of a neon sign reading “I’m not from here.” When you start to pack for a vacation, do some research to see how the locals in that area dress. If you’re heading to Morocco, for instance, a woman wearing tiny shorts and a spaghetti strap tank would certainly turn heads.

Likewise, wearing tennis shoes with your fav patriotic T-shirt in London won’t help you feel like a local. Plus, dressing like a tourist can be dangerous because it attracts the attention of thieves and con artists who prey on unsuspecting visitors.

Volunteer in the City You Visit

You don’t have to visit a third-world country to dedicate a part of your vacation to helping others. When you’re planning your trip itinerary, look into volunteer options near your lodgings. This is an excellent way to get a non-touristy view of the area, as well as an opportunity to meet kind-hearted locals who will tell you about themselves and their home. Another bonus: it’s free!

Whether you’re staying in a rental home or sleeping at an adults-only resort while you’re on vacation, you don’t need to stick out like the sore tourist you are. In fact, attempting to blend in with the locals and embrace their culture is actually a better way to travel safely and walk away with a more memorable experience.

Avoid the Packed Tourist Bus Tours

Unless you absolutely have to take a guided bus tour to see something, try to find another way around it. These tours are pricey, crowded, and in all honesty, the complete opposite of what most locals would recommend doing. Instead, research your options for hiking on foot or using public transportation. You can also download audio tours on your phone that are just as informative as a real-life guide, but way less expensive.

Try a Few of the Local Dishes (Even If They Seem Strange)

When you’re in Cambodia, you eat things like crispy tarantulas. It’s just what you do. Sure, it might not be the kind of food you usually go for back home, but that’s part of the experience. Do some online research to find out what the locals eat on a regular basis so that you can get a literal taste of their culture.

Have Frequent Conversations With Locals

If you really want to act like a local, then you’ll need to actually meet a few of them. Strike up conversations with shop owners, waiters, drivers, and random people on the street. You’ll get so many great recommendations for your trip by speaking to people who truly know the area and culture.

If you’re vacationing at resort for adults and you don’t feel comfortable leaving it, you can converse with the employees. Most of the employees are likely locals or have lived in the area for a long time. Furthermore, you won’t feel like you’re stuck in a vacation bubble filled with other tourists.

Whether you’re staying in a rental home or sleeping at an adults-only resort while you’re on vacation, you don’t need to stick out like the sore tourist you are. In fact, attempting to blend in with the locals and embrace their culture is actually a better way to travel safely and walk away with a more memorable experience.

Attend a Religious Service

Nothing is more eye-opening than witnessing a powerful worship service in a foreign place. Even if you don’t practice the same religious beliefs as the locals, there’s something incredibly fascinating about being a fly on the wall during their most important traditions. Obviously, you must participate in this activity with the utmost respect and discretion. Don’t take pictures when you shouldn’t and ask others how you should dress or behave at particular services to avoid offending the other attendees.

Utilize Public Transportation

When visiting a popular destination like New York City, which just set a tourism record in 2017, don’t call an Uber every time you need to move to a new location. That’s just not how the locals do it. Most big cities have public transportation systems that are fairly easy to figure out. They’re usually pretty cheap to use, as well as more environmentally-friendly than using a cab for all of your transportation needs. You’ll certainly feel like more of an authentic visitor when riding a subway instead of sitting in a luxurious car you paid $15 for.

Whether you’re staying in a rental home or sleeping at an adults-only resort while you’re on vacation, you don’t need to stick out like the sore tourist you are. In fact, attempting to blend in with the locals and embrace their culture is actually a better way to travel safely and walk away with a more memorable experience.

Read About the History of the Sites You Visit

When you stand in front of a famous piece of architecture or some kind of tourist destination, it’s extremely important that you understand what you’re looking at. You can bet that the locals living in the area know why that place is special to their country or state, so you should, too.

For instance, in Edinburgh, Scotland, there is a stone heart embedded on the floor of the Royal Mile. Many tourists think it’s cute and take couple photos in front of it, but in reality, it marks the entrance to an old prison where people were tortured. See how it pays to do your research? A simple Google search can arm you with a basic background of the area and its valuable buildings and historical significance.

Learn Some Phrases in the Area’s Language

Last but not least, don’t be one of those travelers who gesticulates wildly to get their point across to people who don’t speak the same language. Before visiting any foreign country, brush up on the local language. This will help you communicate much more effectively with the people living there and improve your overall experience of the place.

Although you might not be a true local when you visit new places, there are plenty of ways to experience life through a local’s eyes during your stay. Bond with people who live there and do as much research as you can before arriving. You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t embarrassingly wave your blazing red TOURIST flag around.

Whether you’re staying in a rental home or sleeping at an adults-only resort while you’re on vacation, you don’t need to stick out like the sore tourist you are. In fact, attempting to blend in with the locals and embrace their culture is actually a better way to travel safely and walk away with a more memorable experience.
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21 Comments

  1. September 24, 2018 / 1:22 pm

    These are great tips. Using public transportation is a good way to explore the place plus it will save you more money.

  2. September 23, 2018 / 1:21 pm

    Great tips on how to not be a tourist. I think the importance of learning about your surroundings especially when it comes to the history is key. It makes the visit much more rich and meaningful as well.

  3. Hannah
    September 23, 2018 / 3:58 am

    I definitely think dressing like a tourist is a bad thing. I’ve never quite understood fanny packs

  4. September 21, 2018 / 9:41 pm

    I love heading off the beaten track and exploring places locals hang out, you get a much more authentic experience.

  5. September 21, 2018 / 9:15 pm

    I love the idea of living like a local! My brother did this when he visited Germany as a teen and he learned so much that he wouldn’t have learned had he gone down the tourist route. He actually didn’t want to come home in the end!

    Louise x

  6. September 21, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    There are some great points here. However I always do an open top bus tour – it’s tradition for me and I think it’s a great way to see all the tourist attractions in one go and map out what you want to visit later on. Afterwards though I always get the bus or subway – the bus visits less tourist areas and makes me feel like much more of a local x

  7. September 21, 2018 / 4:51 pm

    Great tips! It will all go to making a much more enriching trip away. Definitely try the food and speak to locals!

  8. September 21, 2018 / 12:11 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I love sampling the local cuisine in the places I travel to and I do make an effort not to dress like a tourist! Like you I also like to chat to the locals to learn more about the culture etc.

  9. September 21, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    This is a great list of advice – good for not putting yourself at risk standing out like a tourist too! Have to disagree with the bus one though – some of those tourist bus trips can be a great way to explore all the best spots quickly!

  10. Lynne Harper
    September 21, 2018 / 10:50 am

    I always dress like a tourist when I’m away lol. Saying that I do love trying their local recipes and finding nice restaurants that serve beautiful local meals x

  11. September 21, 2018 / 9:38 am

    Trying local dishes is one of my favourite ways to immerse myself in local culture – that and getting lost on public transport systems. Although I’ve had a few disasters with both!
    C x

  12. September 20, 2018 / 7:57 pm

    Clothing is key. Avoid a vest and shorts at all costs!!! History is a good point. You can’t understand a place, if you don’t know where it’s come from

  13. September 20, 2018 / 10:02 am

    Great tips, we always use public transport or explore by foot as you see more

  14. September 19, 2018 / 5:39 pm

    Great tip! We always try to eat local cuisine when we travel, it’s great to travel like a tourist!

  15. September 19, 2018 / 2:25 pm

    Whenever we visit somewhere I like to seek out places that locals enjoy, they are always the best places!

  16. September 19, 2018 / 10:43 am

    My favourite tip is to try the local cuisine. I love asking the locals where they love to eat and drink!

  17. September 18, 2018 / 10:27 pm

    These are great tips. Another one we’ve actually used alot here in Portugal is eat where the locals eat, especially restaurants that are busy. Not only will you get a great meal but it’ll probably be alot cheaper than the “tourist” restaurants.

  18. September 18, 2018 / 9:12 am

    Thanks for sharing beautiful useful l information. I read your post. I really appreciate form your post, your post is very beneficial for every traveller including me.

  19. September 18, 2018 / 9:12 am

    Thanks for sharing beautiful helpful information. I read your post. I really appreciate form your post, your post is very beneficial for every traveller including me.

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