Tips for being a local everywhere you go
Why should you talk to people? Always!
First of all, people are eager to help you. Most of them. Of course, there are some shitheads who will always want to ruin your life, but let concentrate on random strangers. It’s in our nature to show off our knowledge as much as possible, so why can’t we use it?
1) Locals are not strangers
They are the most important part of your travel. They can not only entertain you but also drink an endless amount of beer with you or share a burger. They have great knowledge about local areas and are ready to share the information that can be vital for your survival. Locals know where to eat and where to party.
It’s easy – there are typical touristic places that are made to get your extra 5$ from your pockets offering nothing valuable. On the opposite side, there are places that only locals know that they are good enough to visit. These bars, clubs, points don’t need ads on the internet nor on the streets. They are good and popular among another group of people. So talk to locals to find out where it is!
2) Live like a local!
There are multiple alternative ways to live with locals in new countries. Everything starting from volunteering ending with simple beer at the pub with a new person is made for you to understand better the culture. I will write about long term opportunities in another post.
So short term visits! Do you have 3 days in Germany, Italy, UK or Argentina? Couchsurfing is not only your way to save money for extra sandwiches but also a way to dive into complete another way of life. You stay with locals, share your stories, listen to theirs, go for a walk, party and leave. Sounds good? Yep, it’s good.
There are also FB groups, where people locals and foreigners organize meeting up, in order to share their own experience. Talk and maybe you will find a place for a sleepover.
Hostels! If you still reckon that private bed and clean shower only one way for you to survive, choose hostels, not Hotels! In most cases, hostels gather poor travelers like you from different countries. You can spend an evening talking to them, sharing stories and also making friends, and who knows, maybe one day you will visit them.
3) Eat like a local
Can’t really recall when was the last time I ate in the restaurant and paid for it. If I go there, then someone has to invite me (#poorstudentlife). So it can be a cool chance to spend more time with your host, friends, and to understand another, more expensive, a perspective of life.
However, not always and not everyone has such luck to eat for free. So, firstly, get out of the overrated touristic city center and explore the neighborhood. Prices are lower, fewer people, less noise and tastier. Don’t hesitate to enter a cafe, see menu, interior, prices and leave if you don’t like. You pay, you demand. You have to feel comfortable at the place, feel the taste of new cuisine and relax.
Fastfood! I’m not talking about Mc, KFC, and all these completely uninteresting food. You might see some good tracks on the streets with waffles in Belgium, with meat in Germany, with parcels in Poland – it’s cheap and locals invented it ones. It might be a bad idea to eat from the carton boxes during all your trip, but as a quick snack works awesome!
4) Find a view of the whole city.
It might be a rooftop, a hill, a window in someone’s apartment or a sightseeing point. It will give you a unique insight into the city structure and how people live here. I always repeat “Show me the rooftop with a city view and I will leave my heart there!”. I’m just in love with the places where you can sit, chill out and observe a city. That’s why you will find a lot of photos with such views on my page 🙂
5) Do your own research.
The best way to get the feeling of the place is to get lost. Not at night, not alone – from my experience, it’s not the best idea. But if the sun shines, it’s a pleasant day, you have much time, go straight forward. Turn to the streets that you like, enter the buildings that take your breath away, talk to strangers that look friendly.
And you will see, the city will open its soul to you!