By Renée Gaillard, Trip Consultant
“Tourists” see a city with a fresh outlook, full of excitement and awe. On the other hand, by simply being a tourist, you lose out on the real feel of the people and places that make your destination a home to others. How can we be “local tourists” no matter where we go?
FOLLOW THE CROWD (SOMETIMES).
With caution, feel free to follow the crowd. Do not be afraid to do what the locals do, eat what they eat, or even say what they say. This all goes back to the famous phrase, “When in Rome…”
…but know your way. I know that no one likes to be that person with the huge foldout map, but phone apps—although less obvious—take up data and power. Slip it in your bag; take a look when you need some direction. Also, it never hurts to remember the address of your accommodation and public transportation stops near it. Better safe than embarrassed.
“ON YOUR LEFT IS THE [INSERT FAMOUS PLACE HERE].”
Traveling with EF Ultimate Break includes guided tours, and since some attraction entrances were included, I didn’t have to worry about booking those separately. You’ll be able to get a taste of the sights and still have time for additional exploring. Also, if there is ever a sight you want to see more of, you can always go back and visit during your free time!
NO PICTURES, PLEASE!
Okay, maybe a few, but only great ones. Unless you’re a professional photographer, taking pictures can sometimes distract you from being in the moment and taking in the full experience. Think of it this way: If you could only take 20 pictures to encapsulate your entire trip, which pictures would you take?
DO YOUR RESEARCH.
When it comes to visiting a new place, you should learn as much about it as possible. Befriend Google and find several different kinds of articles from the “Best Local Eateries” to the “Things to Never Say to a Local”. Also, if you’f visiting a place with a different language, take the time to master a few common greetings – the locals will appreciate it.
Unless you are a hardcore foodie and budgeted to have the best of the best, don’t feel like you have to eat at the top restaurants. Instead, ask a local for the best—and affordable—street carts, diners, and cafés. You can even plan ahead of time which meals you would like to splurge on and which meals you can survive on with a quick grab-and-go.
There is always something to discover and someone to meet no matter where you go. Whether you are in a new place or your hometown, have the spirit of a tourist, but the manner of a local. You will begin to create that ultimate travel experience that lies in the space between the “tourist” and the “traveler”: the local tourist.
Have any more ideas on how to be a “local tourist?” Share them in the comments below!