There’s nothing like travelling to help you learn about yourself. And while so many people choose to go to strange lands and immerse themselves in new experiences in a quest to find themselves, it’s important to remember that you’re also supposed to be learning about this wonderful new place and its people. Try to live and behave like a local on your travels and your travels will be granted an additional dimension of depth. All you need is a little bit of preparation and the willingness to try new things and experiment with your plans.

Read Up in Advance

There’s nothing like reading up on the best guide books about a place before you head there. Before the wheels of your airplane even touch the tarmac, you’ll already know where to go and what to do. Time is limited while you’re on vacation and knowledge is power, so use that research knowledge to save you some time when it comes to finding the next spot you want to hit.

Say No to the Tourist Groups

We know some tourist package tours offer an amazing experience and often come with a host who’s extremely knowledgeable, but there’s a downside to all the perks – if you travel with a tourist group, you won’t be handling any of the typical interactions on your own and this is a big no-no. The question comes down to this – do you want to immerse yourself in a new place and have an adventure, or would you rather play it safe and live life by an itinerary?

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earn the Local Language and Customs

Every place has its own peculiarities and the joy of travelling comes from discovering all these little things that add up to make a big experience. And while it’s entirely likely that the place you’re visiting embraces English as well, it’d be looked upon very favourably if you can speak a few key phrases of the local language as well. If you’re worried about your accent or messing it up and offending them, don’t be – most locals are usually just thrilled when they see a tourist trying to fit in with their land and culture.

Live Like a Local

Get out of the backpacker’s hostels and touristy spots when it comes to where you choose to live while travelling. These places may provide you with convenience, but you’re just going to be surrounded with tourists and expats – not exactly the kind of environment that will help you feel more like a local. Instead, choose to go Couchsurfing or look for an Airbnb rental that comes with a great local host. That way, you’re living in one of the residential parts of town and you have access to people who can help you discover the non-touristy stuff.

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Eat the Food the Locals Love

Be a little adventurous when it comes to your gastronomic travel experiences. It may be tempting to stick to the “safe” items on a menu and prevent any potential mishaps, but you’d be missing out on the food that makes this place special. So, ditch the McDonald’s experience in favour of a meal at a restaurant that the locals prefer. You never know when or where you’ll find the next dish to obsess over.

Talk to Whoever Will Talk to You

You could take the road more travelled and choose to surround yourself with people like yourself on your travels, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, talk to people at a bar you’re visiting, chat up your taxi driver and anyone else you come across – if you’re lucky they might tell you about that hidden gem of a restaurant all the guides skipped, or about a special event that’s coming up that would make your trip that much better. However, always be cautious of how much information you give up about yourself and always ensure your safety.

Be Willing to Get Lost

We know we told you earlier to prepare for your trip ahead of time so you wouldn’t waste any time once you got there, but hear us out for a minute. Sometimes it’s alright to get lost and wander down a quaint little street or stop at a quirky roadside café for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. You never know what wonders you’ll find if you take a left instead of a right and end up on a road steeped in history. Ditch the map occasionally and just be… aimless. Get lost and wander, because that’s what travelling is all about at the end of the day.

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