It’s time for another installment of my travel tips and tricks. This time I’m offering suggestions on how to immerse yourself in local culture.
While the most obvious and probably most effective way to get an authentic experience in a location is by knowing the language. But if you don’t there’s no need to lose hope. Here are some other ways to dive in and fully embrace the culture of the destination you are traveling to:
Lose the map
I recently saw a quote that said, “Put down that map and get wonderfully lost”. I understand that you are beyond excited that you finally made it to London/Rome/Barcelona and that you just have to see Tower Bridge/Colosseum/La Sagrada Familia.
Definitely see those places, please, but also be sure to walk around neighborhoods that aren’t on the tourist map to get a feel for what the city is really like. I guarantee you it feels very different
than the areas where the big tourist traps attractions are.
Rent an apartment
One of the reasons I gave for wanting to stay in a Go with OH! apartment was the opportunity to live like a local. And while I did miss the wonderful continental breakfast you get at a hotel when I stayed in the apartment, as I predicted I would, I got to see and experience some aspects of everyday life, such as taking the bus with people on their way to work and seeing and hearing the after-school chaos and cacophony in a way I wouldn’t have if I had been in a hotel.
Go to market or grocery store
Another great way to immerse yourself in the local culture is to go to a market, where you can find any and everything, from produce to “antiques”. Not only is this the place to score some amazing finds, but a
wonderful opportunity to mix and mingle with the local population.
Pick up the local paper
I like USA Today and the International Herald Tribune as much as the next person, but why not also get a local paper? Even if you don’t speak the language, you can probably decipher enough to be
able to go through the listings of concerts, events attractions and restaurants favored and frequented by locals and find something fun to do that isn’t listed in a guidebook.
How do you immerse yourself in the local culture when you travel?
Be sure to check out my the other posts in the traveltastic series: