How to Travel Like a Local
Learning how to travel like a local is by far one of the most important aspects of going to a new country. I want to taste the local cuisine, get off the beaten path, drink the kool-aid, and give a carefree shrug that says, “When in Rome!”
But even with the interweb at our fingertips, it’s sometimes hard to travel like a local. The most touristy places pop up on our search results, and planning into the nitty gritty corners of a city can fall off our to-do list.
Well, look no further. Here’s an easy guide to help you plan how to travel like a local ‘cause experiencing what life is really like in another country is the way to go.
How to Travel Like a Local
Word of Mouth via Social Media
Before we had reviews from Trip Advisor, Amazon, and Yelp, we had to get recommendations via word of mouth from friends and family (imagine that).
Now getting word of mouth referrals is even easier with social media. Plan how to travel like a local with these sites.
Facebook and Twitter
It’s not the 1990s anymore. You don’t have to wait for your dial-up connection on AOL to go through only to get snarky remarks from SmarterChild.
How to: Post a Facebook status or send a tweet out asking for recommendations from a local living in XYZ location.
If your friend or follower count isn’t large enough to get what you’re looking for, then join a Facebook group such as Girls Love Travel (37K+ members) or Travel Addiction (3K+ members) to ask in there, or use a destination hashtag such as #newyorkcity on Twitter when you ask a question.
Reddit has been my new favorite way to finding out local hidden gems because of the detailed and involved answers I get often.
How To: Head to Reddit, search for a subreddit such as /r/Amsterdam, read the sidebar to see if there’s any local guides already posted, and submit a new text post with your question.
Pinterest is a great search tool to find activities that local bloggers have experienced firsthand.
How To: Search for the location that you’re going through, scroll through the results, and click through the pins you like. Look for for keywords such as “local guide” or “from a local”.
Example from my Pinterest
Use Sites With a Focus on Local
or Off the Beaten Path Travel
I took the quiz and loved how intuitive the planning process was. It asked me all the questions that I’d want someone planning my trip to ask— not just budget and location.
They even had an option for major foodie!
Major foodie, me? No way…
It then gives you more options based on what you picked initially. Then the quiz goes on for lodging, which includes Airbnb (the only way I travel), dates, destinations, and all that good stuff.
I don’t drink coffee but included that for my husband who LOVES coffee.
The best part about ViaHero is that you get to pick your Hero (local guide) to plan your trip. It’s always nice to know there’s a real local behind your upcoming plans and not just a mix of 1000 reviews from tourists.
Currently, ViaHero is launching with Cuba but will be expanding to some awesome places like Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, and more. Until then, we can still dream big with Cuba by exploring it online, or even better, in person!
This post contains sponsored links from ViaHero. All opinions are my own. Seriously, I would’ve never partnered up with them if I didn’t love their product ‘cause passing off subpar recommendations ain’t my thing! Read the full disclaimer here.
Like a Local
If you’re more into DIY planning, Like a Local is a website where locals post insider tips and tours to help you avoid tourist traps.
You can see where they like to hang out (in a non-stalkerish way), book tours with them, or have dinner in their homes— how cozy!
It’s available in an app, which was extremely handy in Spain and Italy. I even plan on using it for Amsterdam since I still feel like a newcomer with 7 months of living here.
Book an Airbnb
Some of the best recommendations and insider tips I’ve ever gotten have come from Airbnb owners.
Even more, if you book an Airbnb in a neighborhood that you would live in, not just visit, you’ll be able to experience what daily life is like, and avoid crowded, touristy places.
If you’re new on Airbnb, get $20 off your first stay by using this link here.
Couchsurfing is not only for cheap accommodation. It’s for local tips too. Since you’ll be staying in your host’s very own home, you’ll have a personable resource for asking questions about the local way.
Of course, there’s a fine line between being curious about their culture and overly dependent so check out this Couchsurfing 101 guide on being a good guest.
Google Local Customs
Another great way to travel like a local is to learn its customs before going. There’s no better tool for this than Google.
How to: Simply search “XYZ location” + “local customs”, and brush up on your local skills such as keeping to the right side of the sidewalk in New York City or always carrying cash on you in Amsterdam.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This post contains sponsored links from ViaHero. All opinions are my own. Seriously, I would’ve never partnered up with them if I didn’t love their product ‘cause passing off subpar recommendations ain’t my thing! Read the full disclaimer here.
Featured image is from Pixabay.