So, you’re out traveling, or planning the big trip. You want a genuine experience but you don’t really know where to start? Here are some of our best tips for getting to know a country and culture for real and for meeting more locals.
- CHOOSING THE WAY YOU TRAVEL
To be honest, charter trips aren’t designed for you to properly experience a culture and to make new friends. They’re easy, often cheap and convenient, yes. But genuine? Not really. If you want to travel because of your curiosity for new cultures and people choose to travel slower and for longer. It takes time to get to know people and adjust to the patterns and ways of life where you go.Another great tip is to, if possible, choose to stay in family run hostels, BBs, Airbnbs or to couch surf. This way you are more likely to have a local as a host than if you stay in a 4 star hotel (plus you can often save some big bucks!). And locals are way more likely to know all the best spots around.
- BE OPEN AND ADAPT TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS
As a visitor in a foreign country you should adapt to the culture and customs. Stay humble and stay friendly. Why not be extra friendly to your host, waitress, tour leader or simply the people you meet on the streets? You never know you will become your friend.
- WORK, VOLUNTEER OR DO LOCAL ACTIVITIES
When planning a trip, or if you have time left over rethink what activities you’re planning on doing. When working or volunteering the chances are high that you will both meet new friends and some locals. When scheduling activities try to ask around or research what the locals do, observe what happens around you and if you wish to book some sort of tour – go with a local company or family! In a lot of countries there are both bigger businesses and smaller family-run ones that offer basically the same tours. Going with the smaller business not only contributes to that families wellbeing but you’re a lot likely to get some local insider knowledge on the sights.P.s activities include food. Choose to eat in local places. The food is always better than in the tourist restaurants, it’s cheaper and the staff is local. And you already know how to act around locals!