People make the place. That’s why it’s important to find ways of reaching out when traveling: Having conversations, discovering off-the-beaten-path restaurants, staying in a location where you may actually make friends. Hanging with other travelers is awesome as you’ll learn about new cultures and generally grow as a person. Though, isn’t everyone’s goal to discover more about the local culture? The one you traveled hours and miles to see and be a part of? Here’s how:
Speak like the locals!
One big gap in fully immersing oneself in a new culture is usually language. Yes, approximately 25 per cent of the world speaks English; but learning the local tongue before venturing to a new place can significantly add value to your experience. While you may not understand all the jokes or turns of phrase, being able to have a conversation with a local is extremely rewarding!
Maybe you’ve already tried learning a language as an adult? You’ll probably agree… it can be extremely frustrating. Nowadays, there are plenty of applications, online courses and games to get you started but the most well-known resource which produces long-lasting results is The Rosetta Stone. The idea behind Rosetta Stone is to imitate an immersive learning experience. So, even if you are on a different continent, you’ll be able to practice with a local and work on content you truly need, not solely grammar and syntax.
Stay where the locals stay
Are you going to meet people in a single room in a fancy hotel? No. You’re sure to meet other travelers at hostels with shared living space, but take it a step further and stay in a typical neighborhood. HomeAway allows you to rent a whole apartment or house from a local and live as someone from that city would. Alternatively, you can opt for a true homestay with locals through Booking.com.
Seek out places locals frequent
Find out which restaurants locals eat at, which parks they go to, and how they spend a typical Friday night instead of seeking five-star dining experiences or standing in long lines for over-priced attractions. Trip Advisor has a special section for “Off the Beaten Path” locales along with helpful tips for seeing your chosen city.
The list goes on, but those are just a few simple steps for experiencing a place on a deeper level. What advice would you give to someone who wants to travel meaningfully?